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					                              SURVEY                 Public Relations




 Retainer Pressures
      The retainer system of charging for PR services has come under pressure
              due to the economic downturn, writes RÓISÍN O’SULLIVAN


       s with all media-related sectors,      but with a retainer you know where you        market has changed. I think everybody


A      public relations spend is under
       pressure due to the downturn.
       Traditionally, PR firms have pre-
ferred to operate by charging clients a
monthly or annual retainer. That’s good
                                              are and it’s easier to plan. Retainers are
                                              clearer cut. We’ve gained some new
                                              clients this year who would all be on
                                              retainers, and I know that some of my
                                              colleagues in the sector have as well.”
                                                                                            is becoming more competitive in the
                                                                                            market on prices.”
                                                                                               Kelly added: “I think the advantage of
                                                                                            a retainer is that you get year-round
                                                                                            counsel. It’s very much a brand’s
for business planning and good for cash-         At Galway agency D’Arcy Marketing,         integrated marketing strategy and their
flow. While the retainer system still         Noreen D’Arcy said: “Clients have             ongoing relationship with the media.
holds good in many cases, some clients        restructured their spending but we are        Some people don’t need a retainer, like
of PR firms are now looking to move to        still working with them on a 12-month         entrepreneurs who are launching a new
project billing.                              retainer basis. Most of the hotels that we    product or service. A lot of small
   According to Marc Kelly of                 work with and a lot of the hospitality        businesses don’t have an ongoing need
McConnells Fusion: “The retainer is           sector still have retainers with us, but      for public relations so they are probably
now almost a dirty word. A lot of clients     SMEs are setting us single-project            better working on a project basis.”
would feel that they had been shafted         challenges.”                                     Kerry Ann Conway of Conway
over the years by agency retainers                                                          Communications believes that in terms
because there is a sense that agencies get          he recurring theme seems to be          of value for money, retainer deals are
lazy and complacent and they don’t
really see the value in it.”
   Ronnie Simpson of Simpson FT PR
believes that this is just a misconception.
He said: “In PR, a retainer is about
                                              T     that large firms with big budgets
                                                    are continuing their retainer
                                                    contracts while SMEs are opting
                                              more for once-off fees. Emma Kelly of
                                              Elevate PR says that this is the case with
                                                                                            still the way to go. She said: “They
                                                                                            ensure that the agency is considering all
                                                                                            communications elements of the clients’
                                                                                            business, rather than focussing on one
                                                                                            particular area of activity for a limited
working out what you are going to do          her customers. “We still have a number        period of time. It also means that as
for the client, how many days it’s going      of retainers,” she said. “Big brands still    ad-hoc promotional opportunities arise,
to take say over a six-month period and       stay on retainers but we’re taking on a lot   the agency can quickly maximise
adding up the number of days and hours        of smaller projects now because the           the opportunity as the structures and
to work out a six-month programme.                                                          relationship are already in place.
Retainers can frighten some clients as          Also In The Survey                          Retainer structures work out more
they associate the phrase with the legal                                                    cost effective for clients overall.
arena, where barristers charge a fee just       G   Page 61 – Art Of The Lobby              However, given the uncertainty for
for taking a client on. That is not the                                                     some businesses at the moment, there is
case in public relations. In PR what you        G   Page 63 – Expert Views Of PR Chiefs     more consideration given to project
tend to find is that retainer-based clients                                                 structures.”
tend to be over-serviced. In no way is it       G   Page 68 – Highly Rated PR                  Despite the economic gloom, and
a standing fee; it’s an estimate based on           Campaigns                               after a very slow start to the years, many
work that is being done.”                                                                   PR layers note that spend have started
   According to Mary Crotty of Mary             G   Page 75 – Insights Into PR Firm         to pick up. According to Tanja Buwalda
Crotty PR, the majority of her clients              Accounts                                of Power Media: “At the start of the
still see the value of retainer arrange-                                                    year, people were so worried that they
ments. She said: “Only one of our               G    Page 78 – Detailed Listing Of          stopped everything. But now people
clients has changed to a project-type               Ireland’s Leading PR Companies          have realised that the recession is here
deal. There are pros and cons to both,                                                      to stay. That they can’t bury their heads

58                                                     Business Plus May 2009
in the sand and they have to do                                                          their clients. “I definitely prefer retainer
something about it. So we’ve found that
clients have become very proactive.”
                                             Retainers can                               deals as they bring regular income which
                                                                                         means you can plan ahead. I’ve had

      he PR sector felt the impact during
                                             frighten some clients                       clients who do projects and they are on
                                                                                         for two months, then off for two months.


T     the standstill, as clients have
      become more demanding. “Clients
      want data-based analysis and
results,” said Buwalda. “They are asking,
‘What will I get for my money?’ Clients
                                             as they associate
                                             the phrase with the
                                                                                         If you’re anyway good at your job, then
                                                                                         you’ll still be looking for coverage for
                                                                                         them during the off months. Only then
                                                                                         I’m not getting paid for it. Retainers are
                                                                                         better for everybody because that way
don’t have an issue with paying the          legal arena                                 you can keep eyes and ears open for
money; they just want to know more                                                       clients all the time,” she said.
about what they’re going to get for it.”    firms, although Ann Marie Sheehan of            When it comes to fees in general, Cathy
   Bespoke Communications is one firm       Aspire PR believes that clients are less     Riordan of PR Wise says that fees are now
offering more flexible rates. Says          inclined than before to jump straight        much more open to negotiation. She said:
principal Neil O’Gorman: “We do all         into a retainer deal. She said: “My          “It’s really important for clients to be able
sorts     of    pricing    arrangements.    existing clients are happy with retainers    to see that they are getting value for
Increasingly our clients pay by the hour.   but new clients are a little more wary and   money. Even though PR is very important
Sometimes a client will want to negotiate   prefer project billing initially. However,   in a downturn, as is marketing, it’s obvious
on the fee, so we say that’s okay, we’re    I have a couple of new clients who after     that budgets are reduced. Companies who
happy to negotiate once we get paid for     a few months are looking at the benefits     may have had an ongoing budget for PR
every hour.”                                a retainer may bring.”                       do not at the moment, or at least that
    Building and maintaining a solid           Sheehan believes that retainer deals      budget has been reduced.
client relationship remains vital for PR    bring clear benefits for both PR firms and                 Survey continued on page 60




                                                                                Survival
                                                                            of the Focused



                                                                                                   Paul Allen & Associates
                                                                                                   Public Relations

                                                                                                   4 Upper Mount Street
                                                                                                   Dublin 2
                                                                                                   Tel: 00-353-1-6769575
                                                                                                   Fax: 00-353-1-6769518
                                                                                                   www.prireland.com




                                                   Business Plus May 2009                                                        59
Art Of The Lobby
    Lobbying government is one of the most lucrative aspects of public relations.
                 GERRY BYRNE reports on how the process works
    n one of my few claims to                can easily think of examples of how          According to Paul Allen of Paul Allen &


I   parliamentary fame, I once got
    written into a Budget speech. I had
    asked Charlie McCreevy if the annual
parade of pre-Budget submissions by
various economic, business and special
                                             interested parties secured advantages
                                             after pre-Budget lobbying of one form or
                                             another: the International Financial
                                             Services Sector, the motor scrappage
                                             scheme and favourable tax treatment of
                                                                                          Associates, a 16-year veteran of the
                                                                                          sector, the real work in fiscal lobbying is
                                                                                          done after the Budget but before the
                                                                                          Finance Bill is published. And civil
                                                                                          servants, not politicians, are often the
interest groups really made a blind bit of   contracts for difference being three that    real target of his efforts. A delicate shift
difference to how he framed his Budget.      spring quickly to mind.                      in nuance can turn a penal measure into
As a jaded, cynical journalist, I long         Yet my suspicions have some substance,     a not so discriminatory one.
suspected that most submissions, if not      according to many lobbyists, who admit         Allen added that securing an appoint-
all, went straight into the skip after       that many high-profile pre-Budget            ment for a client to meet the person they
McCreevy or a civil servant had dutifully    lobbies are charades more often geared       seek to influence is only a beginning.
cast a cursory eye over them. Wasn’t it      to column inches and sound bites than        Many executives don’t know how to
was just a game to get various lobby         signifying any genuine hope of               make a case without talking loads of
groups a bit of exposure so they could       influencing government policy. But that      jargon that the opinion makers often
briefly strut their hour upon the public     doesn’t mean that lobbying doesn’t have      cannot understand. “Clients can be too
stage and be made to feel full of sound      an important strategic function. It does,    close to their subject and they want to
and fury by their PR handlers?               but the more effective deputations don’t     talk in jargon,” said Allen. “They have to
   To my surprise, McCreevy firmly           make the papers. I asked one lobbyist for    be transparent and choose their words
dashed my cherished prejudices, as he        recent examples of his more effective        carefully. The devil is in the detail and
explained how lobbyists’ submissions         supplications. “I could tell you, but        we’ll often hire economists to assist our
occasionally guided his budgetary            I might have to shoot you afterwards,”       submissions, because we know the sort
decisions. Later, in the Dáil, he quoted     he said.                                     of questions we will be asked by civil
my interview as evidence that some good        The definition of the word lobbyist        servants and the kind of arguments they
came out of lobbying after all. Unfairly     came from the practice of people seeking     will make.”
applied taxes got fairer, neglected          to influence legislation by loitering in       Mark Brennock, director of public
sections of society got a bit more cash,     the corridors and lobbies of legislatures.   affairs with Murray Consultants, takes a
and incentives were put in place to          Nowadays it happens as much over the         not dissimilar line. He points out that
stimulate some activity or other. One        phone as it does in face-to-face meetings.                 Survey continued on page 62




    Reputation is everything. It is a central
    component of your business, propelling
    you forward with success, holding you
    back as the lustre fades.
                                                                                              Contact:
                                                                                              Niamh Boyle,
                                                                                              Managing Director
       We treat reputation building as a serious endeavour that
       focuses on the key strengths of your organisation and your                             25 Merrion Square
       people. At Corporate Reputations we design strategies that                             Dublin 2 , Ireland
                                                                                              T: + 353 1 6601 8915
       proactively measure, build, enhance and protect the                                    niamh@corporatereputations.ie
       reputations of our clients.                                                            www.corporatereputations.ie




                                                    Business Plus May 2009                                                        61
many lobbyists are former                                                                                Irish lobbying has
political     apparatchiks                                                                            grown out of the public
who capitalise on their                                                                               relations sector because
political contacts and                                                                                PR people have the
manage to convince                                                                                    right communications
their clients they have                                                                               skills. But many of them
achieved wonders once                                                                                 admit that political
they land a meeting with                                                                              lobbying needs critical
a minister. However,                                                                                  skills. Jim Walsh of
Brennock cautions, the                                                                                Walsh Public Relations
real work has yet to                                                                                  will occasionally handle
begin, because they’ve                                                                                political assignments for
still got to convince the                                                                             existing clients if he
senior civil servants.                                                                                thinks he has the right
   “Lobbying      is    not                                                                           skill sets. But more
effective unless politicians                                                                          often than not he
are able to get the civil                                                                             subcontracts the work to
service behind them,”                                                                                 a lobbying specialist.
said Brennock, a former                                                                               “This is such an
journalist. “A lot of what                                                                            important task that you
I do is breaking the                                                                                  need the right people on
administrative logjam by Lobbyists like Paul Allen (left) smooth access to politicians                the job,” he said.
finding out who my client                                                                                Ann-Marie O’Sullivan,
needs to convince, then helping them to aviation and telecoms, striving for, well, president of the Public Relations
make their case. The private sector more equal treatment perhaps. (Cynics Consultants Association, agrees. “If your
doesn’t know how to work with the like me have a phrase, ‘regulator skills are in product PR, you might not
public one.”                               capture’, which sometimes describes the have the ability to properly handle a
   In the United States, lobbyists must be process.)                                   tough lobbying assignment.”
registered but there are no prescriptions    But business can set too much store         One of the few lobbying successes
on how they do business in Dublin. by lobbying, warn practitioners. You’re which Paul Allen is prepared to discuss
Washington is perennially mired in not going to achieve very much by was achieving what he terms
lobby scandals and Jack Abramoff, now marching into the Department of Finance “equivalency” for part of the drinks
doing prison time for bribery and demanding that people with green eyes industry. He worked on a push to have
corruption, typifies what can go wrong should be exempt from income tax just excise duty levied on alcohol content
even where there are checks and because they are in a minority. The above all else. Another successful lobby
balances. The Dublin profession hasn’t better lobbyists will not take that sort of related to securing more favourable
escaped scandal either, and local dead-end assignment. The consultants treatment for microbreweries by
practitioners, mindful of the adventures who take on no-hope clients are wasting regarding them as crafts.
of one Frank Dunlop, the lobbyist who their time.                                        Mark Brennock is equally circumspect
discovered cash talked much louder than      Modern lobbyists set much store by about his success stories, although he
words, prefer to talk of ‘public affairs’ their reputations, and their ability to does quote a case where he turned
services rather than lobbying.             persuade a civil servant or a politician to lobbying on its head. He brought a
   Lobbying is about more than civil take a phone call. With an eye to their deputation from a multinational to civil
servants in government departments and stature, the better lobbyists will quickly servants, who helped Brennock persuade
politicians. Lobbyists have beaten a well- tell a client if an idea doesn’t have a the client that the 12.5% corporation tax
worn path to regulators in a wide range chance. Less clever ones will find rate on manufacturing in Ireland is still
of industries like banking, health, lobbying targets are always in meetings. sacrosanct.



          PR Communications
                       Digital
       Experiential Marketing
           Event Management
              Sales Promotion
       Sponsorship Marketing
   DM/Relationship Marketing
  Direct Response Advertising                                                                          For PR and more, contact
                                                                         marc.kelly@mcconnells.ie McConnell Fusion + 353 1 478 1544



62                                                Business Plus May 2009
PR Perspectives
    How is the downturn in the economy impacting public relations spend? Why
    should businesses spend money on PR at all? How effective are government
 communications? And what can bankers do to improve their battered reputations?
   Business Plus canvassed the views of leading PR practitioners on these issues

                                               uppermost in people’s minds.
Ann-Marie O’Sullivan                              PR is all about effective                  Jim Walsh
H+A Marketing + PR                             communications, developing your               Walsh PR
                                               messages and deciding on the most
PR spend seems to                              effective means of delivering those           In the past year, the
be holding steady                              messages to your target audiences.            tired mantra that all
at the moment, as                              Unfortunately, for the past six or seven      publicity is good
more than ever                                 months, there has been no real sense of       publicity has been
clients realise the                            a proactive government communications         firmly knocked on
value of strategic                             strategy. The basic premise of effective      the head. Reputa-
communications.                                change management is to tell people           tion is important
Economic                                       what’s about to happen and endeavour          and needs to be
uncertainties have                             to bring people with you. With the            protected, and
made people                                    government, this simply has not               integrity is essential
nervous and proper                             happened, and the vacuum created by           in building and sustaining a good
internal communications can go a long          the absence of any real information on        reputation. I would also say that greed is
way to instil a sense of teamwork and          government plans has been filled by           not a good basis on which to build a
positivity among employees. The decision       speculation and un-informed comment.          reputation in the financial services.
to reduce staff numbers or close a facility       To manage a reputation effectively, you       The government’s communications
is a difficult one for management to make      need to establish yourself as a credible      strategy has clearly not been good. The
and for staff to hear. Emotions can run        source of information. However, in the case   economic environment changed so fast
high in these situations, and the reputation   of the financial sector over the past year    that the government and the public sector
of a company or brand can be damaged if        there was always a sense that information     appeared to be disconnected from what
the process is not handled professionally      was being drip-fed, rather than a full and    the private sector and individuals were
and with the concerns of the staff affected    frank disclosure being presented.                                    continued on page 64




                                                       Business Plus May 2009                                                       63
experiencing. Its primary messages that         cleverly executed PR strategy will help to     service from the competition. It can also
we need to get the public finances under        raise a business’s profile and encourage       increase visibility and support brand
control, and we must all share the pain, were   new business, even in the tough times.         values. Online and viral PR campaigns
not perceived to be reflected in its actions.                                                  can be particularly effective in driving
   The impact of the downturn on our                                                           online sales and in helping to reposition
business is mixed. Some clients have cut        Pat Walsh                                      a product or service.
back on specific projects, but this is          Murray Consultants
balanced by new clients and some clients
increasing budgets. I believe public            Clients remain                                 Mari O’Leary
relations can help boost sales by               very committed to                              O’Leary PR
developing strategies to enhance                PR and business
relationships with existing and potential       remains strong,                                The government’s
customers, and create media stories             though budgets are                             communications
around an organisation’s people, business       tighter. Much of                               strategy has left a
activities, products or services.               our business is                                lot to be desired.
                                                counter cyclical so                            Since the crisis
                                                our restructuring                              really started last
Roisin O’Hea                                    and crisis                                     September, the
O’Hea PR                                        management                                     whole country has
                                                services have never been busier. Consumer      been gripped with a
In tough times like                             brands are increasingly looking to PR          fear and uncertainty,
these, it is                                    rather than advertising for differentiation,   which has lead to a
imperative to stay                              and the more established brands see the        complete loss of confidence. This is
focused on the                                  downturn as an opportunity to grow             primarily because the government has not
business, making                                market share. Far from being a                 communicated with either the State
sure that you work                              discretionary spend, investment in             employees or general public in a meaningful
ever more closely                               communications is as crucial to survival       way. A good communications strategy
with your clients to                            and shareholder value as to personal and       would and could help all concerned to
understand their                                corporate reputation. It is also evident       adopt a better attitude to work together for
needs. In all cases,                            that the distinction between personal and      the general good. It would also support
but particularly                                corporate reputation is increasingly           consumer confidence.
where budgets are being reduced, we’re          blurred, and this may have an impact for          PR is all about informing your target
working harder and more creatively to           non-executive directors in particular.         audiences, whether it is your employees,
deliver the best results for our clients’       More broadly, the obvious lesson of the        the general public, or business to business,
changing situations. PR works and clients       past year is that continuous, focused and      through effective and targeted messaging.
know this, so they are maintaining spend.       honest communications have never been          As an important below the line function in
But they may be looking for that extra bit      more important, and that companies or          the marketing mix, PR works better with
of service that we all feel we deserve in a     individuals ignore this at their peril.        lower budgets than, for example,
recession. Public relations spend might         At a very basic level, public relations        advertising. Now things have slowed up
seem like an extra cost right now, but a        can help differentiate a product or            economically, it’s time to start




64                                                      Business Plus May 2009
communicating and PR is the service that       was wrong with Irish banking and are               The purpose of managed publicity is to
will deliver.                                  deservingly experiencing public scorn as a      attract positive attention to your business so
   Although a number of clients in the         result. Their reputations have been             that you may gain new clients and,
retail sector have cut back, clients who are   tarnished considerably, perhaps irreparably.    ultimately, increase your sales. As a
focusing on brand building are recognising     However, I think some accountability on         boutique agency, we work on five to six
the importance of continuing the drive to      their part would at least begin to stem the     projects at one time so the economic
develop their businesses. We have also         tide of vitriol towards them. The public will   downturn has not had a huge impact on
taken on a number of new clients who are       always respond to someone fronting up and       our business. As yet, no client has reduced
in the early stages of development and who     taking responsibility for their actions,        spend, as accountability and evaluation is
are investing a significant share of their     although at this stage it may be too late for   something we integrate from the pitch.
marketing budget into PR because it will       apologies. In terms of reputation
generate measurable long-term results.         management, all banks must make amends
                                               and restore public confidence by getting        Paul Allen
                                               their own houses in order.                      Paul Allen & Associates
Liz McGonigal                                     Brian Cowen is always going to be held
EMCGPR                                         accountable for people’s grievances,            The role of PR is
                                               especially during difficult times. What         to define what a
The public is very                             people are looking for now is leadership        client’s key
aggrieved as the                               and action. Barack Obama is a perfect           messages are and
country endures                                example of such qualities. He has coupled       the way they go
recession, which is                            an economic stimulus package with               about com-
partially a result of                          constant reassurances to the public that        municating these
the banking crisis.                            this time will pass. Recovery may               messages. In the
Some senior bank                               be gradual but he will make it happen.          consumer space,
executives now                                 The Taoiseach should take a leaf out of         many high street
represent all that                             his book.                                       brands need to
                                                                                                                         continued on page 66




    I New and dynamic full service
    Public Relations agency

    I Experts in Public Relations and
    Online Marketing

    I Effective communications to key target
    groups: business, technology, consumer

    I Strong record in issues management

    I Value and results at the core of our service


         Contact: Cathy Riordan or Dee Murnane
       Tel: +353 1 293 0999 or +353 23 885 8839
               Mob: +353 87 418 2422
             Email: cathyriordan@prwise.ie
                  Web: www.prwise.ie

                                                       Business Plus May 2009                                                            65
be careful about devaluing brand                management. Strategic PR can comm-             flexible and targetable. Public relations not
confidence and affecting the long-term          unicate to consumers how companies out         only drives strong branding messages, but
value of a household name with a series of      there can help and are doing their best to     advantageously positions a company and its
knee jerk reactions to drive sales.             keep the economy going.                        product or service in the market, providing
   The space that we occupy sees our                                                           the informational needs in order to make a
client base engaged in ongoing dialogue                                                        purchase decision.
with their stakeholders. This requirement       Mary McCarthy
is more relevant in this age than ever          Weber Shandwick
before. Day-to-day handholding and                                                             Paul McSharry
achieving realistic goals are what’s            Businesses should                              FD
required. We also encourage our clients to      always concentrate
focus on their business and avoid being         on maintaining the                             The business
sidetracked by the outpouring of                trust of their                                 environment is
negativity from RTE.                            customers by                                   difficult for all
   Reputations are built over years but can     regularly                                      sectors and the
be destroyed in seconds. I don’t imagine        communicating                                  communications
that some of the bankers whose reputations      with them. When                                industry is no
have been shredded are too bothered about       consumer spend is                              different. Client
their business profiles, as many of them are    down, companies                                firms are changing
in the very late autumn of their                who engage with                                their focus rather
professional years, and are preoccupied         their publics will reap the best reward. So    than abandoning
with their own little greedy worlds. Trade      rather than cutting back on                    their communi-
unions have a lot to answer for in terms of     communications efforts, this is the time to    cations needs. Companies still seek high-
destabilising the confidence base of Ireland    start beefing them up. We’re all consumers     end, value-added consultancy services and
Inc. One wonders how many union                 and we still need to buy goods and services.   this has not changed in recessionary
officials have had salary cuts. Unions don’t    If we don’t know your company exists, how      Ireland. Naturally budgets are tighter and
operate in a transparent manner and have        are we going to buy from you?                  clients are looking for value for money.
failed to acknowledge this fact time and           We work with a number of well-known         However, most businesses realise the value
time again.                                     consumer brands who are investing more in      of their reputation. It is an important asset
                                                PR this year. Over the length of a recession   and must be maintained, developed and
                                                and during a recovery, companies who           protected, and good communication
Mary Crotty                                     maintain or increase their spend see higher    usually enhances reputation.
Mary Crotty PR                                  returns. There is a very strong link between      Public relations and good communica-
                                                share of voice and share of market. The        tions are increasingly being recognised as an
The downturn has seen clients become            trick when cutting budgets is to cut less      highly beneficial, value-for-money market-
more aware of evaluating campaigns and          than your competitors, so that you are in      ing tool. For this reason, in a competitive
appreciate the value of PR more so than         pole position to gain market share.            market such as today, businesses are looking
before. Overall, it has motivated staff to be      Public relations enables companies to do    for real value and may choose PR campaigns
more efficient and more aware of time           more with less. PR messages are credible,      over other traditional marketing tools.




                                           “ We offer straightforward, targeted campaigns at realistic costs that
                                           increase awareness and sales. We ensure we can stand by everything
                                           we present - as a small agency, we have to! ”
                                           Liz McGonigal, Director



                                                                                        Contact details
                                                                                        Email: info@emcgpr.ie or liz@emcgpr.ie
                                                                                        Phone: 01 6681314
                                                                                        Address: 29 Seafort Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin 4



66                                                       Business Plus May 2009
                                                change public opinion. SMEs competing
Niamh Boyle                                     with big budget firms can be particularly        Brendan Bracken
Corporate Reputations                           successful when using PR.                        Bracken Public Relations

Reputation matters.                                                                              Most of us do not
Each day we use                                 Cathy Riordan                                    possess President
reputation as a tool                            PR Wise                                          Obama’s oratorical
to make decisions                                                                                gifts, but we can
about the products                              The need for                                     learn from his
and services we buy,                            transparency,                                    ability to engage
the premium price                               aligned with high-                               with people, to
we are prepared to                              level responsibility,                            follow up on his
pay for those                                   has been                                         words with
products and                                    highlighted by                                   practical actions
services, the                                   recent events.                                   and to inspire people - good old-fashioned
companies we invest in and the firms we         Shareholders and                                 leadership. The government is starting to
wish to work with or for. There is no doubt     customers do not                                 get it right. It took a while for the
that Ireland’s reputation has been damaged      like unpleasant                                  seriousness of the situation to sink in,
internationally, in particular our financial    surprises or secrecy                             which was not helped by the last year’s
services industry. However reputations can      in the boardroom. As a recently established      Budget and the subsequent climb down on
be rebuilt by focusing on the essential         PR company, we are service oriented with a       specific issues. In communications terms,
components of a reputation, and by              minimum of overhead so that we can               the absence of key public figures caused
building and implementing careful               maintain our focus on achieving results for      some concern among the distressed
strategies for each of these.                   clients. It is an exciting time to be starting   population. Again, taking a leaf from
   A crucial first step for government and      up a new company and the downturn has            Obama’s book would be a good move in
the banks is carrying out a reputation audit,   presented strategic partnerships that have       this instance. Undoubtedly, there has been
as it can provide a snapshot of where you       consolidated our business.                       a lot of work taking place behind closed
stand in the eyes of your stakeholders, and        In a time of accelerated change, we see       doors but updates to the stakeholders, in
provides an objective and effective measure     an opportunity to grow our business on a         this case the voters, would have been a
which can be tracked systematically over        service/results model, thereby reassuring        welcome sign of activity.
time. This is key to understanding and          our clients that their budgets are being            In our business, fee income is down
managing your reputation. With more             spent effectively and wisely. Credibility        compared with last year and we see a shift
limited budgets, we are finding that our        and customer confidence for a product or         to more project-based as distinct from
clients are investing a higher proportion of    service are generated via PR through             retainer-based work. PR involves being
their communications spend in PR, because       editorial endorsement. Clear messaging           creative, taking risks and having people able
it provides a better return on investment       will always underlie a successful PR             to communicate. It also involves using a
than other forms of communication, and          campaign and good PR can achieve                 different type of language than used in
has the ability to measurably influence and     business goals cost effectively.                                            continued on page 70




                                                          Business Plus May 2009                                                           67
           Highly Rated PR
         The public relations campaigns undertaken by Bord Gáis, Libertas and
             Barack Obama impressed PR professionals over the past year
                                               Emma Kelly The Big Switch from Bord          totally confused the Irish electorate, and
   What PR campaign has                        Gáis is a fantastic campaign. They           while some of their tactics were dubious,
   impressed you most in                       engaged with the blogosphere first, against they capitalised on the disjointed ‘Yes’
    the past 12 months?                        the advice of their PR and advertising       campaign. The Libertas campaign had
                                               agencies, and it really paid off for them.   several key ingredients. It was organised
                                               Inviting bloggers to a briefing on their     and united and had simple, clear messages
Ronnie Simpson Ryanair break a lot of the      marketing plan the day before it went to     which were repeated over and over again.
rules of PR but get away with it as they       mainstream media was a really bold move
stick religiously on message. You couldn’t     for a semi-State body.                       Victoria Shorten The PR campaign
buy the amount of global coverage they                                                      behind Barack Obama is a true example of
generated for Michael O’Leary’s musings        Tim Magee Obviously the Obama campaign just how powerful a tool public relations
about charging for the loo. However I          was the best PR for PR in a long time.       is. The Obama team not only got the first
think that they may need to reconsider         Closer to home Louis Copeland continues black man elected as president of the
their attitudes to New Media and blogging.     to master PR. He has been doing this         United States but they also made him a
                                               through a few recessions now, and always     global hero. Central to the Obama
Ann-Marie O’Sullivan The recent efforts on     manages to connect directly with his         public relations effort was the reach
behalf of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland in advance   customer, speak honestly and appear when and engagement of online social
of their upcoming national conference have     he needs to. He also seems to have           communities and networks.
engaged the public and put pressure on a       discovered the secret of bilocation as he
cash-strapped health service to provide        manages all of these activities and runs his Neil O’Gorman I think the re-opening of
additional resources.                          empire while remaining at the coal-face of   The Point as The O2 was a great
                                               his business at his shop on Capel Street.    campaign and the new name for the venue
Kathryn Byrne I liked the Food Safety          A master of PR, I hope he sticks to          has been embraced without question.
Authority’s crisis communications              tailoring.                                   There was a great development of
campaign dealing with Ireland’s pork                                                        momentum in the run up to the opening,
recall. It was quick, decisive and             Colm Cronin I hate to say it, as I am a      and the fact that it opened before
informative, a text book example of crisis     convinced Europhile and used to work in      Christmas with a selection of high-profile
communications at its best. I also rated the   Brussels, but the campaign undertaken by concerts helped. Like all successful
Obama presidential election campaign -         Declan Ganly and Libertas for the Lisbon campaigns, the product has to stand up to
imaginative, positive and inspiring.           ‘No’ campaign was excellent. Libertas        scrutiny, which it does.




                                                ASHFORD CASTLE. BRIDGE BAR & GRILL. BROWN THOMAS GROUP.
                                                DIAGEO. G HOTEL. HERMÈS. LOUIS VUITTON. LOUISE KENNEDY. MIELE.
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                                                THE CLIFFHOUSE HOTEL. TIFFANY & CO. UNILEVER.
                                                Contact Deirdre Kavanagh on 01-476 2000 or email dkavanagh@kennedypr.ie



68                                                     Business Plus May 2009
Jim Walsh The speed at which Bord Gáis’
Big Switch caught the imagination of the
public suggests that it was well planned. It
also embraced traditional and new media.

Paul Allen Keith Duffy and Irish Autism
Action always seem to be on the ball. The
organisation around the opening of the
Battle of the Boyne site, as we hugged
Orangemen and they hugged us, was
impressive. Additionally, Mr Tayto was a
good old laugh and did the business.           Highly rated: The Bord Gáis Big Switch campaign

Mary Crotty The launch of the                  Pat Walsh The innovative use of               Gallery and the RHA. I wish I had
BMW 7-series, on a 16-storey building on       communications skills - particularly online   thought of that as a PR opportunity.
Grand Canal Quay, was a high-impact            communications - in the Obama                 It was unusual, generated loads of
creative campaign which got people             presidential election campaign has been the   media hype, it was easy and cost
talking.                                       single greatest triumph of communications     effective to do and most importantly it
                                               over the past decade. The campaign has        worked.
Caroline Kennedy I have been impressed         changed the face of political and online
with the impactful launch of Etihad            communications forever.                       Liz McGonigal I really liked what Hunky
Airways in Ireland. From their digital                                                       Dorys have done with the boxing
advertising campaign through to the            Cathy Riordan Bord Gáis, for its              sponsorship of Bernard Dunne and
sponsorship of GAA hurling, what was an        specific targeting of the blogging            subsequent PR that arose from that. But
unknown, unpronounceable brand name is         community as a key audience at the time       then I did work with them in days gone by
now lining up with some of the longest         of its entry into the electricity market.     and so may have a biased view.
established airlines.                          The grassroots campaign in schools for
                                               Reduce, Reuse, Recyle has generated a         Noreen D’Arcy Barack Obama’s presidential
Tony Hughes The Queensland Tourism             good response to a simple message.            campaign was magnificent. His message
‘Best Job in the World’ was a very simple                                                    was clear ‘Yes We Can’ and now we’re all
idea and execution, and achieved global        Kieran O’Byrne It wasn’t really a PR          using it. Obama is articulate and delivers
coverage and promotion for Queensland          campaign that impressed me so much as         his message clearly, using multiple media
Tourism. It has also shown the power of        the sheer hard neck and audacious             outlets, especially the internet and social
the combination of traditional and online      ‘happening’ when the paintings of Brian       networking sites.
PR campaigns.                                  Cowen were hung in the National                                 Survey continued on page 70




                                                       Business Plus May 2009                                                          69
advertising, and being smart about not        But overall we are feeling relieved that      reputation and the perception of it. The
gilding the lily. Too many press releases     PR spends are remaining steady. With so       public demands information from credible
try to duplicate advertising copy and end     many companies now needing to work            sources. So in my view, good reputation
up in the bin.                                harder to achieve sales, PR is an efficient   management comes from crisis planning.
                                              option to draw attention to products and         Having a communications framework
                                              services and help them stand out. It’s also   in place in advance of an announcement,
Caroline Kennedy                              an important time for long-established        negative development or crisis, which
Kennedy PR                                    brands to hold firm and to continue           outlines how the message will be
                                              strong marketing campaigns in order to        conveyed to various stakeholders, is
The recent                                    be first out of the blocks when an upturn     imperative. And as bad news travels fast,
experience of the                             in the economy inevitably comes round.        it is crucial to be prepared. Sending out
banks and some of                                                                           clear information to customers and the
their executives                                                                            media can build support and help the
shows just how                                Bill O’Herlihy                                organisation or individual to recover
fragile a                                     O’Herlihy Communications                      quickly. What makes no sense is allowing
reputation can be.                                                                          a communications vacuum to develop, as
The high profiles                             After a tough                                 we have all seen recently in high-profile
that surrounded                               Budget, a new                                 situations. Being unavailable to the media,
certain stellar                               approach to                                   and absent from the public eye, in the
careers have just                             government                                    face of a crisis can be immensely
been blasted to pieces as a result of         communications                                damaging. My advice is always the same:
arrogance and ignorance. It was a huge        is essential. The                             be as open as possible, explain what the
risk to blindly ignore how the media, and     Irish people are                              solution or recovery plan is likely to
in turn the public, would view very           deeply worried in                             achieve and ask for people’s confidence
questionable business activities.             this current                                  and support. In other words, make the
   I don’t think much of the government’s     climate, but they                             connection.
communications strategy. What there has       are not                                          In the past 18 months, the media
been is a campaign of fear - fear of losing   unreasonable. They will listen if the         landscape in Ireland has undergone huge
jobs, pensions, houses, benefits, medical     Taoiseach and his cabinet come to them        change, with a new focus on the economy,
cards, free education. By the time the        with real solutions, no matter how            and those handling it. It has therefore
supplementary Budget was announced,           painful, but they must make the               become more challenging for companies
headlined with NAMA, most people were         connection. The ‘we’re in this together’      to communicate their message. A
dumb with shock at how the economy has        talk will only work if the government         strategic PR campaign promoting
gone into freefall without a safety net. So   fully engages with the people.                products and services, reinforcing
more cutbacks and tax increases just felt        Fundamentally, PR is about reputation      the organisation’s strong business
inevitable.                                   management. The way you manage                fundamentals, highlighting management
   Our clients are definitely taking a much   relations with the wide range of publics      strength and creating corporate visibility
closer look at their cost bases and some      who impact on your organisation, as well      is an essential component for any business
have trimmed back on certain activities.      as the media, can and will influence your     to increase sales in this climate.




70                                                    Business Plus May 2009
                                                towards the negative since they’ll assume           Clients are demanding greater return on
Tony Hughes                                     that if you had a good answer, you would         investment and value for money, which
Carr Communications                             surely have given it. Silence equals guilt.      suits us as we can provide a cost-effective
                                                You need to get information to this              service. Because of this we still have the
Public relations                                group - quickly, truthfully, and clearly.        best pipeline of new business that we have
works for sales. It                                If you are open, truthful, and clear - your   had in years. However potential clients are
gives you more                                  audience will make up their own minds            slow to commit at the moment. Because of
profile and creates                             based on the information you give them.          this, it is difficult to plan our own business.
awareness of what                               But you do need to be prepared. We have             On the issue of reputation
you do. For                                     seen good people over the years go on            management, preparation is essential.
example, recently                               media but because of poor preparation, not       Deal with the issues as early as you can
one of our clients                              alone do they not put across a convincing        and prepare and constantly develop your
asked us if we                                  case, they may make matters worse.               crisis plan. Any PR agency worth its salt
could publicise an                                                                               will have prepared a plan for their clients
event for a charity they support. One of our                                                     and tested it with them, and they should
account managers and her account                Kieran O’Byrne                                   be well prepared to handle anything that
executive worked on it for a day. They got      Hill & Knowlton                                  will be thrown at them.
two front page stories, a full page interview
in a weekend newspaper, Morning Ireland,        PR should help a
television news, and dozens of other            client’s bottom                                  Tim Magee
mentions. To get that much advertising          line positively and                              Host PR
space would have cost €100,000 minimum.         PR companies and
And the result for the charity? Donations       clients should not                               A hungry,
in six figures.                                 lose sight of that.                              experienced agency
   On the issue of reputation management,       The next question                                can plan and
your audience divides into three broad          should be, what                                  manage an
categories. Some people know you well,          does PR mean to                                  ongoing process
know the full facts, and have enough            a client? From a                                 that ensures a
information to make a fair and informed         sales point of view                              company
judgement. Make sure that they continue         it could be to make products visible,            consistently
to have enough good information to act as       understandable, ‘must have’. But it could        connects with their
advocates and ambassadors on your behalf.       also mean making products relevant and           target audience.
Some people want to believe the worst and       engaging to their key target audience.           The devil is really
don’t need facts. There may not be much         This may involve focusing on media               in the detail and PR can communicate
you can do about this group. But in the         channels such as the in-vogue social             detail in a way that advertising or
middle are many people who are open-            networking sites, while remembering that         piecemeal exposure cannot. One of the
minded and will form their views when           creativity of message and development of         things that a well-managed PR campaign
they have heard the facts. The problem is, if   appropriate content for different media          can deliver is independent endorsement of
they don’t get the facts, they will drift       outlets is imperative.                                                  continued on page 72




                                                         Business Plus May 2009                                                             71
a company or business. PR can also                 Many of our clients are in the             still investing at similar levels to 2008.
communicate that endorsement specifically       technology space so they have already been    They know that retailers are far more
to the client’s current and future customers,   through a severe recession following the      likely to invest in a brand that is investing
something that creates a sense of trust.        dot com collapse. They know that you have     in itself, which will help them move a
  Are clients cutting back on their PR          to get on with things, and that a downturn    brand on the shelf.
spend? Obviously the hospitality business       is when you most need to get your                Public relations drives business value
in general has had to look closely at every     messaging right and raise your profile.       and can open up new markets. Recovery
cent spent. We went through a very tough        Similarly, professional services firms who    needs action, and that means reminding
process with most of our clients examining      lived off the back of the property boom       your customers who you are and what you
the role and value of PR but we kept our        now need to promote their other offerings.    do. PR doesn’t need a big budget to do
business and kept our rates. Our business is    Clients are looking for value and PR          the basics, just a little creative thinking
up by nearly 25% year on year. This is          delivers that.                                and consistent action. I think the
because we have many years of specialised          The reputational damage incurred by the    financial crisis has underlined the
experience in what works and what doesn’t.      banks and others could create opportunities   importance of strong leadership and
In addition, we represent competing             for PR. While many banks and financial        accurate and timely information.
businesses that have come around to the         services firms have their heads down at the
idea of the same agency looking after all       moment, they are going to have a big
those competing reputations, as it is the       challenge in the future communicating the     Victoria Shorten
results that count.                             fact that they are open for business and      Power Media
                                                explaining what business they are now in.
                                                                                              Success does not
Ronnie Simpson                                                                                happen overnight
Simpson FTPR                                    Rachel Dalton                                 but failure often
                                                Rachel Dalton Communications                  does. Critical
PR’s time has truly                                                                           moments for
come due to the                                 In our experience,                            business and other
shift to the                                    the PR sector has                             organisations will
internet. This not                              not been spared                               never go away.
only demands                                    the rough and                                 Therefore the
good content,                                   tumble of this                                effort to control
which PR can                                    downturn. We felt                             negative situations
deliver, but                                    its grip in the last                          continues to become more sophisticated.
guidance on how                                 quarter of 2008,                              Crisis management is evolving into
to interact with the                            when clients who                              reputation management for a number of
new realities.                                  were susceptible to                           reasons. First, chief executives don’t often
Thanks to blogging, Facebook, Twitter and       the credit crunch                             want to think about potential crisis
the rest, everyone can now be a journalist      moved quickly to cut costs. While fee         situations. But every executive must be
or broadcaster. Companies are facing big        levels are down on last year, our core        concerned about the reputation of the
challenges in knowing how to behave in          clients are still investing in PR, as they    company or organisation. Secondly, more
this new ‘conversation economy’.                realise its value. Our consumer clients are   and more organisations are facing




72                                                      Business Plus May 2009
situations that have real potential for       However with PR, businesses can see           has developed a PR line that this
harming their reputations. Thirdly, the       noticeable difference in their sales for      recession is due to global economic
media is concentrating more on these          relatively little cash outlay. I think many   factors. But there remains deep public
types of stories.                             lessons can be learned from the past 12       anger about the depth of the recession
   The downturn in the economy has led        months, in particular the importance of       and the waste, excesses and greed of
people to focus more on promoting             transparency, honesty and ethical business    the past decade.
themselves properly, and with measured        practice, as well as the necessity of being      PR can be extremely cost effective if
results. This has led to a greater demand     honest and realistic in all                   companies believe in it. Confidence is
for the knowledge and experience of PR        communications.                               everything and companies should attempt
agencies. Clients are now viewing their                                                     to put the best foot forward. A well-
marketing and PR budgets as an                                                              targeted PR campaign should deliver
investment, rather than a luxury item that    Michael O’Keeffe                              results which can add to a company’s
can be cut from their budget. Recessions      Pembroke Communications                       bottom line. It is extremely helpful when
are a natural part of the economic cycle.                                                   companies develop evaluation techniques
Business owners should try not to react by    In the past year,                             and give PR companies specific targets.
cutting out the marketing tools that will     many reputations                              Then there is then no confusion or
keep them in the public eye and could         have been                                     disappointment.
help keep their head above water. Media       damaged and                                      We have seen government-funded
coverage of your company can greatly          there are many                                clients cut back and it would be extremely
increase your reputation and your             lessons to be                                 rare to get a fee increase in this current
credibility, and make decision making         learned. I firmly                             climate. However, we have been
easier for potential customers.               believe that the                              fortunate in that we have succeeded in
                                              Irish public are an                           winning several new clients in the past
                                              extremely                                     six months.
Sharon Plunkett                               forgiving bunch,
Plunkett Communications                       and when faced with a crisis, certain
                                              individuals would have been                   Emma Kelly
Most clients are                              better served to have acted with honesty      Elevate PR
cutting back on                               and integrity rather than trying to
annual retainers,                             protect their own interests.                  Individual clients
but there is an                                  In the banks, some of the behaviour        are reacting in
increase in project                           was abhorrent, and where reputations          different ways to
work. Public                                  have been adversely affected it is due to     the downturn.
relations activity                            certain individuals acting smugly and         Some put an
now needs to be                               deceptively. In relation to Brian Cowen       immediate hold on
carefully targeted,                           and the government, I think people were       activity at the end
as clients are                                well primed for some hardship, but what       of 2008; others are
naturally                                     has been desperately lacking is a sense of    allocating more of
demanding more bang for their buck.           direction and leadership. The government      continued on page 74




                                                                            Against the tide and making a difference


                          29 Eaton Square, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, Ireland
                          Tel: +353 1 280 7873 Fax: +353 1 280 7841
                          Email: info@plunkettcommunications.com
                          Web: www.plunkettcommunications.com




                                                       Business Plus May 2009                                                     73
their budget to PR as they see a higher            loyalty, and that generates sales.             has to be justified. If not, the soundness of
return on investment. The rise of online PR           Our client base has continued to grow       the business is challenged.
is helping to maintain PR spend. For our           this year. Clients who are serious about
retail clients, we are seeing a shift to driving   their business recognise the importance of
footfall instore as a major priority. Quality      good quality PR in maintaining a profile       Neil O’Gorman
PR raises awareness and drives sales. In a         for their brand in the current economic        Bespoke Communications
time of declining consumer confidence,             climate. Certain industry sectors are
editorial endorsement is more important            reviewing their spend and allocating to        PR can help
than ever. In the area of reputation               specific and individual PR projects, but       increase
management, ethics remain paramount. It            retainer-type can still be found. The          understanding
is always important to act with integrity          government’s strategy at communicating         and awareness and
and keep vigilant about conflicts of interest.     the depth of the financial crisis was          help promote the
No amount of skilled reputation                    reactive, lacked vision and clarity and gave   benefits of a
management can change this fact.                   mixed messages. They didn’t seem to            product or
                                                   recognise that they were communicating         organisation.
                                                   with two very distinct audiences, public       However, you
Noreen D’Arcy                                      sector employees and the general public.       need to know your
D’Arcy Marketing & PR                                                                             audience, develop
                                                                                                  clear and crisp messages and deliver these
In order for a PR                                  Nigel Heneghan                                 messages in a way that stands out and
campaign to be                                     Heneghan PR                                    gets noticed. More than ever, it is
effective and                                                                                     essential to put quantitative and
deliver, the client                                Some clients are                               qualitative measures around PR
and the agency                                     cutting back and                               campaigns and ensure that these are met.
must set out with                                  some are                                       The online environment has also opened
clear objectives                                   maintaining their                              up a whole host of opportunities which
and goals, identify                                spend. There is                                make it easier to reach a wider audience
target markets                                     less available                                 in a variety of ways. Generally, decisions
and audiences and                                  business and there                             from clients are taking longer, but we
articulate the                                     are fewer pitches.                             have been lucky in that many of our
individual messages and stories to each            There will be a                                clients have committed to investing in PR
market. PR brings credibility to a                 year-on-year                                   support for their brands in 2009 and have
business, along with increased awareness.          contraction in                                 maintained core programmes. Clients
But one must identify what messages you            terms of income and that will be               need more reassurance that they will get
want to bring to the marketplace, to               throughout the sector. Regretfully, reduced    return on investment from public
whom they are targeted and in what time            business means reduced staffing levels. The    relations campaigns and have really
frame the campaign should be executed.             largest cost in public relations consultancy   focused on the need-to-dos, rather than
Public relations builds trust, respect and         is people and their presence in a business     the nice-to-dos.




74                                                         Business Plus May 2009
 Earnings Snapshot
CHRIS SPARKS delves into the filed accounts of a range of PR firms from the large
  to the small to uncover how the sector has been performing in recent years

Drury Communications                              €4m. That figure includes €365,000                        Year-end trade debtors were €1.8m,
Drury Communications Ltd is a sub-                work in progress and €1.3m owed by                      down from €2.2m. Trade creditors at
sidiary of Omnicom Group, the multi-              associate companies.                                    year-end were €520,000. Fleishman
national advertising and marketing group.                                                                 Hillard paid a dividend of €1.3m to share-
Drury’s accounts for 2007 show a gross            Fleishman Hillard                                       holders in 2007, reducing the year-end net
profit of €1.8m, a 9% improvement on              Fleishman Hillard International Commu-                  worth to €2.7m from €3.6m in Dec-
the previous year. Administrative expenses        nications Ltd, also owned by Omnicom,                   ember 2006. The net worth figure
amounted to €1.3m, resulting in an oper-          had turnover of €6.1m in 2007, a 2%                     includes €1.6m owed by associate compa-
ating profit of €574,000. The company             improvement on 2006. Cost of sales                      nies.
ended 2007 with €2.3m cash in the bank,           amounted to €2.3m while operating
and interest added €54,000 to the pre-tax         expenses came in at €3.6m. The oper-                    Edelman PR
profit. The effective corporation tax rate        ating profit for the year was down                      Daniel J Edelman Ireland Ltd is a wholly
was 18.5%. This was due to an adjustment          €130,000 at €246,000, but the company                   owned subsidiary of its American parent, a
of €21,000 in relation to previous years,         garnered €100,000 from sub-letting part                 family firm, and doesn’t have any Irish
higher rate of tax on passive income and          of its building at Fitzwilliam Quay in                  directors. Turnover in the year to June
a charge of €6,000 for non-deductible             Dublin 4, where the annual rental cost for              2007 was €5m, down 3% on the previous
expenses.                                         Fleishman in 2007 was €386,000, up from                 year. The company posted an operating
  Through 2007, Drury had 29                      €312,000 a year earlier. Interest receiv-               loss of €4,000 after incurring costs of sales
employees, including directors. The               able of €68,000 raised FH’s pre-tax profit              amounting to €2.7m, and €2.3m in over-
payroll cost excluding employer’s PRSI            to €414,000, down from €500,000 the                     heads. Edelman’s annual filing for
was €2,353,000, meaning that average              year before.                                            2006/07 shows 22 people including direc-
annual remuneration across the firm was             Through 2007, Fleishman Hillard had                   tors on the payroll. Pay and pension costs
€81,000. The company spent €69,000                37 people on the payroll, including                     amounted to €1.4m, an average of
on motor vehicles in 2007, disposing of           executive directors. Emoluments for eight               €64,000 per person.
vehicles with a value of €56,000. Trade           directors amounted to €950,000, up from                   The cost of the lease on the company’s
debtors declined to €1,275,000 from               €829,000 in 2006. The total salary and                  premises at Huguenot House on St
€1,420,000 a year earlier, while trade            pension cost, excluding social welfare, was             Stephen’s Green was €238,000. Year-end
creditors expanded from €700,000 to               €2,107,000, an average of €57,000 across                trade debtors were €604,000, a decline of
€1,054,000. Year-end net worth was                the firm.                                                              Survey continued on page 76




                             We are a dynamic full service PR and Events Management consultancy delivering commercially
                             aligned programmes on target and on budget. Our expertise spans FMCG, healthcare,            Fresher
                             beauty, corporate, financial services, public affairs, travel and technology sectors.
                                                                                                                           Wiser
                             We have distinguished ourselves by our enterprising approach, our understanding of what
                             influences today’s marketplace and our commitment to securing outstanding results for        Brighter
                             our clients.
                             We’ve grown because our clients trust us to deliver results, not just promises.
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    A: 106 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 | T: +353 1 678 7990 | F: + 353 1 661 8931 | E: info@rdcommunications.ie | W: www.rdcommunications.ie

                                                            Business Plus May 2009                                                               75
€130,000 on the previous year. Trade                   and PRSI indicates hefty bonus payments                           remuneration was €745,000, down from
creditors declined to €320,000 from                    for the directors, Gerry O’Sullivan, Jackie                       €863,000 in 2006. Through 2007, the
€359,000. In the 12 months to June 2007,               Gallagher, Martin Mackin and Angie                                company had 25 employees, including
the company paid back its bank overdraft               Kinnane. Q4’s net worth in June 2007 was                          executive directors, and their payroll and
of €264,000, so net funds improved to a                €1.1m.                                                            pension cost excluding employer’s PRSI
surplus of €180,000 compared to a deficit                                                                                amounted to €1.6m, an average of
of €140,000 a year earlier. Net worth at               MKC Communications                                                €63,000.
year-end was €450,000.                                 MKC Communications, where partner                                    Slattery Communications rents its
                                                       Ray Gordon recently departed to set up                            premises in Montrose from the
Cullen Communications                                  Gordon MRM, booked a net profit of                                company’s       majority    shareholders,
Cullen Communications in Dublin 4 is                   €11,000 to the balance sheet in 2007.                             Padraig and Ita Slattery. The 25-year
owned and controlled by Frank and Paula                The company ended the year with cash in                           lease commenced in February 2007 and
Cullen, with Connie Ross speaking for                  the bank of €185,000, compared to just                            stipulates a minimum annual rental
5% of the equity, according to abridged                €9 a year earlier. Debtors increased to                           payment of €200,000. Through 2007,
accounts for the year to April 2008. The               €954,000 from €872,000 while creditors                            the company spent €470,000 on the
company booked a net profit of €114,000                grew to €847,000 from €743,000. The                               building interior, furniture, fittings and
to the balance sheet and ended the year                result was net current assets improving to                        office equipment. Trade debtors declined
with €78,000 cash in the bank. Year-                   €293,000 from €130,000. The corpora-                              to €838,000 from €928,000 a year
end debtors amounted to €1,050,000                     tion tax charge for the year was €38,000                          earlier, while trade creditors reduced to
compared with €787,000 a year earlier,                 and net worth at year-end was €644,000.                           €177,000 from €306,000. Year-end cash
though the detail is not broken out in the             That figure includes intangible assets of                         amounted to €358,000, down from
accounts. Year-end creditors increased                 €276,000, reduced from €414,000 in                                €848,000. Year-end net worth was
from €753,000 to €855,000. The year-                   2006, presumably arising from the merger                          €1.6m.
end net worth of €634,000 included                     of MRPA and Kinman Communications
intangible assets €190,000.                            a few years ago.                                                  Montague Communications
                                                                                                                         Montague Communications Ltd, headed
Q4 PR                                                  Slattery Communications                                           by Pat Montague, has an intriguing
Q4 Public Relations had a very buoyant                 Slattery Communications made a gross                              balance sheet. Intangible assets are in the
2006/07. Accounts for the year ending                  profit of €2.66m in 2007, down slightly                           books at €688,000, though what this
June 2007 show a net profit of €334,000                from the outcome of €2.7m in 2006. Staff                          relates to is not explained in the abridged
being booked to the balance sheet. Year-               costs amounted to €1.7m while other                               accounts. The other side of the balance
end trade debtors were €1,335,000, up                  operating expenses came in at €770,000.                           sheet includes creditors owed €660,000,
from €978,000 the year before, while the               After incurring a large depreciation charge                       and the main creditor is Montague
company had €207,000 cash in the bank.                 of €118,000, Slattery’s operating profit                          himself, who was owed €560,000 by the
Creditors grew by €100,000 to €784,000,                for 2007 was €43,000 compared with                                firm in December 2007. This was
including €465,000 for accruals and                    €200,000 a year earlier.                                          €83,000 less than 12 months earlier.
deferred income. The corporation tax                      The company’s filing for 2007 lists                            Year-end debtors of €116,000 were down
charge for the year was €56,000. The                   six directors, including John Redmond,                            from €192,000 but the net worth
total of €162,000 due at year-end for tax              who resigned in May 2007. Directors’                              advanced €12,000 to €154,000.



        100,000 hits from over 100 countries
        in 2 weeks - our PR agency delivers value.
        Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter and Simpson Financial & Technology PR client

                                                                                                                                                SIMPSON
        Web: www.simpsonftpr.ie                       Email: ronnie@simpsonftpr.ie                           Telephone: + 353 1 260 5300        FINANCIAL &
                                                                                                                                                TECHNOLOGY
        Technology - Financial Services - Business-to-Business                                                                                  PUBLIC RELATIONS




                         PUBLIC RELATIONS         +   EVENT MANAGEMENT

                         An innovative approach to Public Relations. Quirky
                         and intelligent PR campaigns for a range of corporate
                         and consumer clients. Specialists in lifestyle PR.
                         Elevate PR, 46 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2, Ireland. T 01 662 5652. F 01 662 5654. E emma@elevate.ie
                         www.elevate.ie




76                                                                Business Plus May 2009
Keating & Associates                                                                     from €313,000 to €110,000 while cash
Led by veteran PR practitioner Pat                                                       improved from €9,000 to €85,000.
Keating, Keating & Associates has two                                                    Creditors were down from €112,000 to
other directors, Emmet Barrett and                                                       €50,000 at financial year-end.
Joanna Coffey, who also have sharehold-
ings in the firm. Debtors in December                                                    Gibney Communications
2007 stood at €240,000 compared with                                                     Gibney Communications, led by Ita
€210,000 a year earlier while the                                                        Gibney, had net current liabilities of
company’s cash pile amounted to                                                          €73,000 at the end of 2007 compared with
€254,000. The company also invested                                                      liabilities of €24,000 a year earlier. Year-
€50,000 in financial assets through 2007.                                                end debtors amounted to €455,000, up
Year-end creditors were owed €261,000,                                                   from €294,000, though the abridged
though most of this was accruals, with                                                   balance sheet shows year-end cash of
only €23,000 owed to trade creditors. The                                                €287,000 compared with €392,000 a year
trading company, Barberry Ltd, operates                                                  earlier. Total creditors at year-end
                                             Jane McDaid, Thinkhouse
a profit sharing scheme, which in 2007                                                   amounted to €825,000, and this probably
received 630 shares in the firm with a       computers and equipment. Year-end net       included an accrual for year-end bonuses.
stated value of €40 per share. Keating &     worth was €586,000.                         Retained profits in the balance sheet were
Associates rents its Fitzwilliam Place                                                   just €2,000 higher than a year earlier.
premises from a partnership in which Pat     Thinkhouse PR
Keating has an interest, and the rent paid   Thinkhouse, a relatively new firm on the    Grayling Communications
in 2007 was €48,000. The company             PR block, did well in 2007, booking a net   Grayling is a subsidiary of UK company
booked a net profit of €4,000 to the         profit of €226,000 to the balance sheet.    Huntsworth plc and had ten employees
balance sheet in 2007 and year-end net       The firm’s debtors at year-end were         through 2007. The total payroll overhead
worth was €313,000.                          €490,000, a sizeable advance from           was €434,000 compared with €793,000
                                             €320,000 a year earlier, while year-end     the year before, when the company had 12
Insight Consultants                          cash amounted to €80,000, up from           people on its books. Grayling Communi-
Insight, founded by two former Fleishman     €12,000. Year-end creditors included        cations had turnover of €1.8m in 2007
executives Michael Parker and Michael        €115,000 for tax and PRSI, suggesting a     and made an operating profit of €90,000
Keane, had a strong 2007, booking a net      bumper bonus payment for directors Jane     after posting an operating loss of
profit of €290,000 to the balance sheet.     McDaid and David Coyle and perhaps          €219,000 the previous year. The cost of
The Sandyford-based firm, best known         some staff too. Thinkhouse’s year-end net   the company’s lease on its premises in
for its lobbying, ended the year with        worth was €345,000.                         Leeson Close is stated as €86,000 per
€300,000 in cash, up from €150,000 a                                                     annum. Fixtures and fittings, which orig-
year earlier. Year-end debtors advanced to   Paul White & Associates                     inally cost the firm €357,000, have depre-
€530,000 from €435,000, while creditors      Specialist corporate PR agency Paul         ciated down to just €2,000. Year-end trade
also grew, to €620,000 from €315,000.        Whites & Associates saw net worth reduce    debtors were €379,000, down from
Still in the set-up phases in 2007,          to €178,000 from €251,000 in the year to    €452,000 the year before.
Insight spent €370,000 on premises,          April 2008. Year-end debtors were down                     Survey continued on page 78




                                                    Business Plus May 2009                                                       77
Who’s Who In PR
                                        develop impactful communications           ensuring our clients are as proud of     number of digital media specialists.
      LISTING DETAIL                    programmes that help deliver               the campaigns we develop on their        Says the firm: “We have the largest
                                        tangible, bottom-line value for our        behalf as we are.”                       team of experienced PR professionals
                                        clients”. Says the firm: “Because of                                                we’ve put together in our 35-year
 Listing detail is supplied by
                                        our size, we have no designs to be         Bracken Public Relations                 history. We are clear-headed in a
 advertisers in this Survey             ‘all things to all people’. Instead, our   www.brackenpr.com                        crisis. No other company in the
                                        consultancy areas are focused              (01) 677 3277                            country has our track record in
Paul Allen & Associates                 squarely around consumer and               Staff: 4                                 preparing people for media
www.prireland.com                       corporate marketing. Speaking with a       Contact: Brendan Bracken                 encounters, positive or negative. We
(01) 676 9575                           consistent voice, we build interest           Specialists in financial public       love what we do and we’re fun to
Staff: 6                                and anticipation for both new and          relations, corporate communications,     work with.”
Contact: info@paapr.com                 existing products and services and         media relations, and crisis communi-
   Founded in 1992, Paul Allen &        help create, ride or circumvent trends     cations. Says the firm: “Our clients     Conway Communications
Associates undertakes all aspects of    on our client’s behalf.”                   have been with us a long time - that     www.conwaycommunications.ie
client public relations and commun-                                                says it all. We stick to what we know,   (01) 707 1704
ications needs, including relation-     Bespoke Communications                     namely business-to-business issues,      Staff: 3
ships with key media, shareholders,     www.bespokecommunications.ie               management, education, and               Contact: Kerryann Conway
public representatives, opinion         (01) 479 0525                              financial PR. Within that space we          Conway Communications is a
formers, commentators and               Staff: 4                                   are creative and deliver the results”    media-relations specialist agency
customers. Says the firm: “We           Contact: Neil O’Gorman                                                              established in 2006. Clients range
believe the potential of public         Specialists in consumer brands, with       Carr Communications                      from some of Ireland’s largest and
relations is our clients’ most potent   particular expertise in entertainment,     www.carrcommunications.ie                most successful companies to SME
ally and our work is built on a tried   technology, hospitality and                01 772 8900                              and member organisations. Says the
and tested formula of success:          consumer lifestyle. Says the firm:         Established: 1973                        firm: “We are innovative and
results, results, results.”             “We create campaigns which are             Staff: 35                                creative in our planning, tenacious
                                        tailored to meet client needs and          Contact: Tony Hughes                     in our delivery and committed to
Aspire PR                               help them stand out from the crowd.           The company provides PR services      making a difference to our clients’
www.aspire-pr.com                       We have a proven track record in           to a broad range of clients in the       businesses. For us it’s about our
(01) 827 5181                           developing campaigns that are              public, private and not-for-profit       relationship with our clients and
Contact: Ann Marie Sheehan              creative, hard working and results         sectors. A separate medical              their relationships with media,
  Aspire PR describes its mission as    driven. We also have a passion for         communications unit was set up in        customers, shareholders, members
“to exceed client expectations and      what we do and are committed to            2008. The company also has a             and staff.”




        “So we grew together”                                                            A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 111, Scene 2


          www.brackenpr.com




78                                                              Business Plus May 2009
Corporate Reputations                    Services range from media relations       Elevate PR                                event planning. Says the firm:”Our
www.corporatereputations.ie              and planning to event management,         www.elevate.ie                            programmes are evaluated through
(01) 661 8915                            crisis management and consumer            (01) 662 5652                             increased sales and awareness,
Staff: 9                                 marketing. Says the firm: “We are         Established: 2001                         linked to agreed objectives and
Contact: Niamh Boyle                     extremely savvy and look at various       Staff: 10                                 delivered in an agreed time period.
   Founded in 2004, Corporate            means of saving our clients’ money,       Contact: Emma Kelly                       Our programmes are direct, create
Reputations advises many leading         while not comprising the top quality         Founded in 2001, lifestyle is a        results and are linked to sales. We
firms across the corporate,              services which we provide. Our focus      specialty at Elevate, with a focus on     don’t cost the earth and can stand by
educational, professional services,      on setting goals and evaluating           technology, fashion, jewellery,           everything we present”
technology and government sectors,       illustrates to clients the value which    interiors, hospitality, health, beauty,
as well as the pharmaceutical and        PR provides to their company.”            alcohol brands, FMCG and cultural         FD
healthcare industries. Says the firm:                                              PR. Says the firm: “Elevate PR is a       www.fd.com
“With over 60 year’s professional        D’Arcy Marketing & PR                     frank and tenacious agency that           (01) 663 3600
experience as a director team, we        www.darcymarketingandpr.ie                plans and executes innovative and         Established: 1999
treat reputation building as a serious   (091) 568 390                             savvy campaigns for a range of            Staff: 17
endeavour that focuses on an             Staff: 3                                  consumer and corporate clients.           Contact: Paul McSharry
organisation’s key strengths and         Contact: Noreen D’Arcy                    Word of mouse and word of mouth              FD is one of the world’s fastest
people, devising unique strategies for      Founded in 1998, Galway agency         are key focuses for our campaigns         growing business communications
each client.” The agency is the Irish    D’Arcy Marketing & PR offers total        and we have a strong track                consultancies. In Ireland, the firm has
associate of the international body,     solutions for PR, marketing and           record in this area. Elevate sets         offices in Dublin, Limerick and
Reputation Institute. “For the first     event management. Speciality areas        targets at the beginning of each          Galway. The company’s core areas of
time in Ireland, we can offer            include the hospitality and tourism       campaign and is highly focused on         expertise are corporate PR and
organisations the opportunity to         industry sectors, festivals and events,   evaluation.”                              issues management, public affairs
measure their reputation against         retail, services and SMEs. The                                                      and media training. Sister company
their key competitors and                company is bilingual and services         EMCGPR                                    K Capital Source is a specialist in the
international counterparts.”             Gaeltacht-based clients. Says the         www.emcgpr.ie                             area of financial PR and investor
                                         firm: “We have a reputation for           (01) 668 1314                             relations. Says the firm: “At FD we
Mary Crotty PR                           delivering tangible and measurable        Staff: 5                                  offer a senior service to all our
www.marycrottypr.ie                      results for our clients. We are           Contact: Liz McGonigal                    clients. It’s a hands-on, results-
(01 661 8777                             effective in transmitting appropriate        EMCG’s services span media             oriented business. The vast majority
Staff: 8                                 messages to required target               relations, brand awareness,               of our clients have grown with us
Contact: Mary Crotty                     audiences and have the ability to         promotional campaigns, corporate          over the course of the past ten
  Celebrating 25 years in business,      influence and generate key stories        events and entertainment, strategic       years - it genuinely is a partnership
Mary Crotty PR specialises in            with the media at national and            planning, issue or crisis management,     philosophy.”
consumer, corporate and lifestyle PR.    regional levels.”                         print and design management and                     Survey continued on page 80




   Enhancing and protecting reputations




  10 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland Tel: +353 (1) 6633 600 Fax: +353 (1) 6633 601 www.fd.com

                                                            DUBLIN • GALWAY• LIMERICK


                                                                 Business Plus May 2009                                                                        79
H+A Marketing + PR                       experience built up from traditional      wanted to sell their business in two      Limelight Communications
(incorporating O’Sullivan PR)            industry sectors over the past 18         years time. Once we knew the real         www.limelight.ie
www.hagroup.ie                           years, as well as a number of clients     reason, we could develop meaningful       (01) 668 0600
(021) 466 6290                           in developing sectors such as             plans for them that would achieve         Staff: 8
Staff: 22                                energy, environment and climate           their goals.”                             Contact: Kathryn Byrne
Contact: Ann-Marie O’Sullivan            change. Says the firm: “Since 1990,                                                    Established in 1998, Limelight is a
   In 2008, O’Sullivan PR, the leading   we have earned a reputation for           Host PR                                   boutique agency offering a high-
Cork-based PR consultancy, joined        professionalism, originality and          www.hostpr.ie                             quality service to a small number of
H+A Marketing Group, completing          unrivalled standards of client service.   (01) 855 8500                             clients. Says the firm: “Our personal
that organisation’s full-service         Our strong credentials are reflected      Staff: 10                                 service approach is intrinsic to our
communications offering.                 in the calibre of our clients and the     Contact: Tim Magee                        ethos and ensures a deep appreciation
Established in 1981, O’Sullivan PR is    consistently strong results we achieve        Dedicated hospitality and travel PR   for our clients’ needs. We have a
the only PRCA member firm located        on their behalf.”                         specialists, working with competing       reputation for offering excellent value
outside Dublin. Core specialties                                                   domestic and international clients in     for money and for delivering results.”
include strategic communications         Hill & Knowlton                           food, wine, hospitality and travel,
planning, change management,             www.hillandknowlton.ie                    from offices in Dublin, Cork and          McConnells Fusion
crisis management, internal              (01) 662 6930                             Belfast. Says the firm: “We create        www.mcconnells.ie
communications, media relations,         Established: 2003                         targeted, strategic publicity             (01) 478 4342
media training, planning issues and      Staff: 8                                  campaigns that help our clients           Contact: Marc Kelly
large-scale consultation programmes.     Contact: Kieran O’Byrne                   maintain and grow their business.            Full service PR agency with expertise
All the firm’s PR consultants are           Full service PR agency with            We always advise potential clients to     across all sectors especially corporate,
members of the Public Relations          expertise across all sectors,             shop around first to look closely at      consumer, technology, travel, lifestyle,
Institute.                               especially corporate, consumer,           recent track records, prices and client   crisis management and environment. It
                                         technology, travel, lifestyle, crisis     lists. That always makes our pitch        is a part of McConnell Group, Ireland’s
Heneghan PR                              management and environment.               easier.”                                  largest full service marketing
www.hpr.ie                               Says the firm: “We work with our                                                    communications company. McConnells
(01) 660 7395                            clients to find out the real reason       Kennedy PR & Marketing                    Fusion has a dedicated digital offering
Established: 1990                        they want to undertake PR. It is          www.kennedypr.ie                          that specialises in online strategies,
Staff: 8                                 amazing how many times you have           (01) 476 2000                             social networking management and
Contact: Nigel Heneghan                  to ask a client, ‘why do you really       Staff: 10                                 creative development for mobile
    Heneghan PR is an independent        want to do PR?’ We once had a             Contact: Deirdre Kavanagh                 marketing and applications. Says the
Irish-owned PR company which             meeting with a new client and asked       Kennedy PR specialise in strategic        firm: “Our approach means that clients
represents some of the leading           that question about eight times           marketing and communications              can simply develop one brief and then
names in Irish and international         before we found the real reason.          for luxury consumer and lifestyle         deal with one agency for all their
business. The firm has broad scope of    Eventually they told us that they         brands.                                   communications needs.”




                  Call Roisin O’Hea                       Celebrating 5 years of delivering
                  to discuss how O’Hea PR                 measurable and memorable
                  can get you noticed                     results for our clients…

                  t +353 1 660 8524/540
                  e roisin@oheapr.com
                  w www.oheapr.com                                                                                 AWARD WINNING
                                                                                                                     PR SPECIALIST



 80                                                              Business Plus May 2009
Murray Consultants                                                                                                        O’Hea PR
www.murrayconsult.ie                                                                                                      www.oheapr.com
(01) 498 0300                                                                                                             (01) 6608524
Staff: 35                                                                                                                 Contact: Roisin O’Hea
Contact: Pat Walsh                                                                                                           Founded in 2004, O’Hea PR offers
   Murray Consultants is a full service                                                                                   clients a full range of PR services
agency with expertise across media                                                                                        including a new online PR service
relations, corporate and financial                                                                                        which will be launched this year.
communications, consumer and                                                                                              Says the firm: “We have a proven
brand PR, public affairs and political                                                                                    track record of being dependable and
lobbying, investor relations and                                                                                          accurate while delivering the results
corporate governance, CSR,                                                                                                our clients require, such as increased
sponsorship, community relations,                                                                                         sales and greater profile.”
crisis and change management,
public information programmes and                                                                                         O’Leary PR
internal communications. Says the                                                                                         www.olearypr.ie
firm: “Our key differentiator is our                                                                                      (01) 678 9888
ability to add value through sound                                                                                        Established: 1994
judgment, high levels of service and                                                                                      Staff: 10
quality relationships. This reflects the                                                                                  Contact: Mari O’Leary
varied backgrounds of our staff from                                                                                         Says the firm: “This year OLPR
the fields of business, journalism,                                                                                       celebrates 15 years in business and
politics and the arts as well as                                                                                          with it the recognition of extensive
specialist agency experience”                                                                                             experience, a skilled and talented
                                                                                                                          team and a continuous history
O’Herlihy Communications                                                                                                  of implementing excellent
www.ohcpr.ie                                                                                                              communication campaigns in the
01 660 2744                                Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications                                        consumer lifestyle arena. Innovation
Staff: 10                                                                                                                 and efficiency are two qualities that
Contact: Kate Mc Donald,                   news features, current affairs and     experience in public relations,         OLPR has always prized and these
personal assistant to Bill                 sport. Says the firm: “With a wealth   journalism and public affairs.          are strengths that have become
O’Herlihy                                  of experience in devising and          Importantly, we will deliver a first-   increasingly integral to business. We
   The company was founded in 1973         executing successful PR campaigns,     class service in these more             devise bespoke and individually
by Bill O’Herlihy, an award-winning        we have an expert, professional        challenging economic times, working     tailored PR programmes and work
broadcaster with a TV background in        management team with international     to large and small budgets.”            with budgets of varying size.”
                                                                                                                                    Survey continued on page 82




                                                                 Business Plus May 2009                                                                    81
Pembroke Communications                standards we insist on and the           look at the client’s objectives and     not just promises. We have taken the
www.pembrokecomms.ie                   results driven performances. We have     create a campaign or programme          best practices of big agency
(01) 649 6486                          an open and frank relationship with      that delivers results.”                 methodology and combined them
Established: 1980                      media and journalists and they                                                   with the passion, creativity, client
Staff: 15 (plus five in sister         trust information that is disseminated   Power Media                             servicing ethos and fee levels of a
agency in Cork, OMF Publicity)         by us.                                   www.powermedia.ie                       smaller agency.”
Contact: Michael O’Keeffe                                                       (01) 612 7083;
   Pembroke’s PR specialties are       Plunkett Communications                  (021) 427 1148;                         Simpson FTPR
sports and sponsorship, consumer       www.plunkettcommunications.com           (061) 404 303                           www.simpsonftpr.ie
and lifestyle, agri/food, corporate    (01) 280 7873                            Staff: 8                                (01) 260 5300
communications, and online.            Staff: 6                                 Contact: Victoria Shorten,              Staff: 5
Pembroke is a member of the            Contact: Sharon Plunkett                 Tanja Buwalda                           Contact: Ronnie Simpson
Publicis QMP Group and recently           Plunkett Communications                  Power Media has offices in               Niche agency which specialises
formed a strategic alliance with       specialises in consumer and lifestyle    Dublin, Cork, Limerick and London.      in technology, financial services and
Interactive Return to offer a unique   brands. The company’s services span      Says the firm: “We are a marketing-     business-to-business clients.
online PR service. Says the firm:      advice and strategic planning,           led PR company so we understand         Established in 1995, Simpson
“Over the past four years we have      through to strategy implementation,      how public relations has to involve     Financial & Technology PR has the
almost doubled our staff numbers,      event management and campaign            strategy, integration and               capacity to manage big brands as
which is testament to the success we   evaluation. Says the firm: “We are       collaboration, creativity and           well as start-ups. The agency
have enjoyed. We offer extremely       realistic when it comes to what can      innovation, and connection and          provides global reach across 60
good value for money and our           be achieved and never promise more       targeting. Together these lead to       cities through its membership of
clients will testify to the high       than what we can actually deliver. We    brand success.”                         Eurocom Worldwide. Says the firm:
                                                                                                                        “We are a specialist tech, B2B and
                                                                                PR Wise                                 financial services agency, which is
                                                                                www.prwise.ie                           unusual in the Dublin market. We
                                                                                (023) 885 8839                          know what we’re good at.
                                                                                Staff: 4                                If we can’t do it we say so. We also
                                                                                Contact: Cathy Riordan,                 provide great value in global PR for
                                                                                Dee Murnane                             tech companies.”
                                                                                   PR Wise delivers effective
                                                                                communications to business,             Walsh Public Relations
                                                                                technology and consumers. Says the      www.walshpr.ie
                                                                                firm: “We offer extensive experience    (01) 661 3515
                                                                                and expertise in the provision of PR,   Established: 1984
                                                                                online marketing and issues             Staff: 9
                                                                                management services. Excellent          Contact: Jim Walsh
                                                                                results and good value to the client        Established 25 years ago,
                                                                                are at the core of our service. As a    Walsh PR’s core skills are media
                                                                                new company, we bring a high            relations, business writing, crisis
                                                                                degree of energy and enthusiasm to      communication and the manage-
                                                                                our work.”                              ment of design, print, events and AV
                                                                                                                        projects. The agency’s clients operate
                                                                                Rachel Dalton Communications            in food and nutrition, healthcare,
                                                                                www.rdcommunications.ie                 professional services, agri-business,
                                                                                (01) 678 7990                           consumer lifestyle, B2B, building
                                                                                Staff: 3                                materials, travel and tourism,
                                                                                Contact: Rachel Dalton                  consumer lifestyle and motoring.
                                                                                   Established in 2005, RDC is a        Says the firm: “If an organisation
                                                                                boutique PR consultancy with a          wants an experienced PR company
                                                                                focus on high-quality client service,   that demonstrably values their
                                                                                proactive thinking and intelligent      business, if they want to have
                                                                                market strategy. Says the firm:         senior professionals manage their PR,
                                                                                “We are retained by some of the         if they have high expectations and
                                                                                most talked about brands because        want to see results, then Walsh
                                                                                we implement powerful PR                Public Relations should definitely be
                                                                                programmes that deliver results,        on their short list.”

82                                                            Business Plus May 2009
                                                                                            Some Other Agencies With
                                                                                                Business Focus
                                                                                       AE Consulting                    Grayling
                                                                                       www.aeconsult.ie                 www.grayling.com

                                                                                       Axis Communications              Hopkins Communications
                                                                                       www.axiscommunications.ie        www.hopkinscommunications.ie

                                                                                       Bance Nolan                      Impression PR
                                                                                       www.bancenolan.ie                www.impressionpr.ie

                                                                                       Banks Love                       Keating & Associates
                                                                                       www.bankslove.com                www.keating.ie

                                                                                       Bvisible Communications          McGovern PR
                                                                                       www.bvisible.net                 www.mcgovernpr.com

                                                                                       Carlton Baxter                   Montague Communications
                                                                                       www.carltonbaxter.com            www.montaguecomms.ie
Siobhan Molloy, Weber Shandwick
                                                                                       Comit                            Practice PR
Weber Shandwick                             young professionals, who bring             www.comitmarketing.com           www.practicepr.ie
www.webershandwick.com                      innovation, creativity and energy to
(01) 676 0168                               the team.”                                 Cullen Communications            Project PR
Staff: 14                                                                              www.cullencommunications.ie      www.projectpr.ie
Contact: Siobhan Molloy, Mary               Wow! Marketing
McCarthy                                    www.wowmarketing.ie                        Drury Communications             Q4
   Full service agency delivering on        (01) 284 3498                              www.drurycom.com                 www.q4pr.ie
client’s brand reputation, visibility and   Contact: Yvonne Boyle
goals on a local, European and global          Established in 2001, Wow!               Dynamics PR                      Slattery Communications
level. Says the firm: “From high-profile    provides a range of services to            www.dynamicspr.ie                www.slatterycommunications.ie
consumer campaigns to corporate             companies that do not have a
brand building, we create                   marketing resource but need expertise      Edelman                          Thinkhouse
                                                                                       www.edelman.com                  www.thinkhousepr.com
inspirational PR programmes for             to increase sales. Services include PR,
national and international clients. We      market research, strategic marketing
                                                                                       Fleishman-Hillard                Unique Media
can offer clients expertise in specialist   planning, direct marketing campaigns,
                                                                                       www.fleishmaneurope.ie           www.uniquemedia.ie
practice areas including consumer,          advertising campaigns, promotional
corporate, healthcare, technology,          campaigns, PR and reporting. Says the
                                                                                       Fuzion Communications            Wilson Hartnell
financial and public affairs. Our senior    firm: “We are experienced                  www.fuzion.ie                    www.whpr.ie
people all have over 20 years               professionals that cut through the
experience in the industry and have a       marketing clutter to bring effective       Gibney Communications            White & Associates
strong track record. We are joined by       marketing to businesses.”                  www.gibneycomm.ie                www.whiteassociates.ie




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                                                                    Business Plus May 2009                                                              83