“Romanian market has a huge potential, despite possible first-quarter shortfalls”

In 2004, Ceyda Aydede, chairman of Turkish PR agency Global Tanitim, mulled over Romania’s potential of actually being the suitable marketplace for the expansion of the company. A year later, in Greece, Civitas was teaming up with PR Ketchum, part of Omnicom group. In 2006, the newly formed agency concluded a regional partnership with Global Tanitim: the outcome of these joint-venture pacts was the first agency launched under Civitas Global Ketchum trademark, headquartered in Sofia.

In early 2008, Areti Georgilis the coordinator of Civitas Global Ketchum’s expansion in south-east Europe, moved to Bucharest in order to put the bedrock of a new office. She dug into the market and interviewed tens of candidates, until she found Tereza Valcan, corporate affairs manager at Cosmote.

“Romanian market has a huge potential. Companies and ratings are somber at the moment, but we will probably see some shortfalls in first quarter. Nevertheless, things may settle down afterwards. This is one of the reasons why we chose this moment to launch the agency, in midst of a crisis – in order to show our clients that they have to identify all the crisis opportunities”, said Areti Georgilis (photo), country manager at Civitas Global Ketchum Romania.

Launched with an investment hovering between 100 and 500,000 euros, Civitas Global Ketchum operates a team of eight professionals trained in various fields and who were selected according to their consultancy skills rather than experience in communication.

In the first month since its launching, the company has already attracted clients. IBM, Ernst&Young, Nokia Siemens, Softmedica, Alesonor or Ieba Trust make up a portfolio that Tereza Valcan, managing director at Civitas Global Ketchum intends to diversify in the following months.

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The services offered by the new agency include strategic communication consultancy, complex communication programs tailored to large companies’ needs, corporate and brand communication, and of course crisis communication.

2001 crisis consolidated PR industry in Turkey

Expertise in crisis situations is one of the most important advantages that Civitas Global Ketchum relied on when they decided to tap the Romanian market. Ketchum network, with presence in 50 countries has drafted a series of best practices lines in crisis communication, gathered in a Survival Kit, while Civitas and Global Ketchum relies on their extensive experience achieved in the regional markets.

The financial crisis that crippled Turkey’s economy in 2001 has helped the local PR industry, as Ceyda Aydede (photo), chairman of Global Tinitim notes. “The crisis helped the market grow and made the company to grasp the necessity of public relations. Turkish companies learned they have to allocate a minimum budget for PR in times of crisis”.

“On our market, the companies who had a permanent investment policy had positive results, even if they haven’t raised budgets. When other companies stop spending money on advertising, only those who are smart and continue their communication campaign will emerge from crisis brighter than ever”, said Ayded, explaining that in downturn, companies can improve their return of investment at the same budget, than in good economic times.