Webb Dowse in the media

BIZNIS NOVINE, national daily, May 2009.

28.05.2009

Kriza – sito za reklamiranje

In an article published in a business daily dealing with the subject of marketing and PR in the times of crisis, Jelena Tasic, Webb Dowse Executive Director for Corporate Communications, stated that, although certain companies spend more carefully on promotional activities, large industrial systems on the other hand experienced the need for more intense communication with the their target groups, which is why the demand for specialized PR services was on the increase.

U vreme manjka raspoloživog novca, vrsta delatnosti presuđuje da li će firma pojačati reklamu ili ne
By: Marijana Antonijević

Novonastala ekonomska situacija i smanjeni budžeti kompanija direktno pogađaju i agencije koje se bave marketingom i odnosima sa javnošću. Medutim, i pored toga što sve one priznaju da su budžeti smanjeni, do sada ni jedna takva agencija nije prestala sa radom, jer po njihovom mišljenju važnu ulogu u poslu igraju samo ideje.

Kreativnost na ceni

– Marketing budžeti jesu smanjeni i to je normalna pojava u uslovima ozbiljnije ekonomske krize. Nepovoljni uslovi kreditiranja ne idu na ruku privrednicima i prvo što je na udaru u smislu smanjenja troškova jeste svakako marketing. Kreativni način razmišljanja u marketingu bi trebalo da dođe do izražaja u ovom periodu – objasnila je Radmila Pešić, direktorka agencije “Imagecom Communications”, i dodala da nijedan njihov klijent nije ukinuo budžet za marketing, ali oni jesu smanjeni u skladu sa njihovim poslovnim projekcijama za ovu godinu.

Prema njenim rečima trenutno na tržištu imamo situaciju u kojoj neke kompanije imaju šansu da baš sada profitiraju, što su prepoznale, pa i ulažu sredstva u marketinške aktivnosti. Tako, u narednom periodu, možemo očekivati veću konkurenciju u prehrambenoj industriji, prvenstveno osnovnih životnih namirnica, ali i još veću konkurenciju među bankama, koje su, čini se, direktno pogođene krizom, zavisne od matične zemlje, svakodnevnih promena i suočene sa velikim izazovima, objašnjava Radmila Pešić.

Nema pravila

Da različitie kompanije različito reaguju u vreme ekonomske krize smatra jedan od vlasnika agencije za komunikacioni konsalting „Farmer i Spajic”, Nebojša Spajić. Prema njegovim rečima, neke velike multinacionalke izbacile su za prvi kvartal u potpunosti stavke za PR, a neke su, nasuprot tome, sredstva predviđena za reklame i promociju prebacile u PR, jer on postiže izvrsne rezultate sa manje troška. Tako da pravila nema – svi se prilagođavaju i pokušavaju da pronađu način za što uspešnije poslovanje i maksimalno ublažavanje posledica krize.

– Neki klijenti su ostali bez PR budžeta, pa su se povukli. Neki novi su došli. Naša firma je krajem prošle godine i početkom ove usporila rast, ali polako počinjemo da se vraćamo tamo gde smo hteli da budemo, kao da krize nije ni bilo – kaže Spajić.

Ulaganje u brend

Slična je situacija i u agencijama koje se bave odnosima sa javnošću, gde je prema rečima Jelene Tašić, izvršne direktorke agencije za korporativnu komunikaciju. „Veb dauz” (Webb Dowse) mnogo kompanija odgovorilo na krizu intenzivnijim ulaganjem u zaštitu reputacije brenda i pripremu za komunikaciju u kriznim situacijama.

– Potencirati na svom brendu putem agresivne reklamne kampanje, u ovom trenutku se može pokazati čak i kontraproduktivnim. Na primer, uz opadanje potrošačke moći u razvijenom svetu, snažna promocija luksuzne i prestižne robe nema puno smisla. Neke kompanije, pod pritiskom investitora i akcionara, opreznije troše novac na promociju. Sa druge strane, veliki industrijski sistemi imaju potrebu za intenzivnijom komunikacijom sa zaposlenima i sindikatom, pa je potražnja za specijalizovanim PR programima veća. Neki od naših klijenata vide PR kao suptilniji i ubedljiviji način komunikacije sa ciljnim grupama, pa su ove godine čak povećali budžete – kaže Jelena Tašić.

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PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE, APRIL 2009.

20.04.2009

Šta će kome konsultant?

In the piece titled „Who needs a consultant?“, David Dowse writes about the challenge of persuading the management in the Balkans of the need for strategic help in the area of corporate communications.

Zamislite sledeću situaciju: tokom sprovođenja velikog poslovnog poduhvata, situacija krene po zlu. I Vaša kompanija spletom okolnosti završi na sudu u agresivnoj parnici usmerenoj protiv nje. Ako izgubite, Vaša kompanija će morati da plati dosta novca za odštete i kazne. Vi lično ste, naravno, odgovoran menadžer. Koji je Vaš plan? Ako niste stručnjak za baš tu oblast prava, Vaš prvi korak će verovatno biti da nađete najboljeg advokata koga možete priuštiti. Od njega ćete očekivati da Vam pruži strateške i tak-tičke stručne savete, koji će Vam pomoći da rešite slučaj van sudnice, da pobedite u parnici, ili, ako već dođe do toga da izgubite, da to bude sa minimalnim posledicama. Ući u tako veliki sudski spor bez advokata bi značilo da ste ili veoma hrabri ili potpuno ludi. A sada, razmotrimo sledeću situaciju: Vaša kompanija se našla na udaru drugačije prirode. Ovog puta, žrtva ste kontroverznih navoda u medijima. Vaša kompanija je javno optužena da ozbiljno krši pravila, na primer – pravila koja se tiču ekološke zaštite i zaštite na radu. Ovo nije sudska parnica, ali ako se situacijom loše rukovodi, slučaj veoma lako može da završi na sudu. A u svakom slučaju, reputacija Vaše kompanije je ozbiljno ugrožena. Ako izgubite ovu bitku, to bi Vas moglo koštati više od bilo koje odštete ili kazne – koliko zaista košta reputacija Vaše firme?

Oba navedena scenarija su jednako realna. Ovakve situacije se dešavaju redovno. Ono što iznenađuje je da, dok većina rukovodilaca bez razmišljanja unajmi advokata kad je to potrebno, mali broj njih posegne za stručnom pomoći u oblasti komunikacija, bez obzira na ozbiljnost situacije.

Zašto je tako?

Odgovor na ovo pitanje zahteva mnogo više od povlačenja paralele između pravnog slučaja i slučaja kriznih komunikacija. Oblast korporativnih komunikacija se u Srbiji brzo razvija. Većina velikih, kako stranih, tako i domaćih kompanija razume potrebu za profesionalnim odnosima sa javnošću. Neke od njih angažuju i specijalizovane agencije koje im pomažu u tome. Ovakav razvoj ne treba potceniti, posebno kad se uzme u obzir skorija istorija političke kontrole i manipulacije medijima, sveprisutni uticaj moćnih bogatih pojedinaca, nepostojanje slobodnog tržišta, stroga kontrola informacija… Definitivno, ostvaren je veliki napredak.

Ali čak i kompanije koje bolje razumeju situaciju i shvataju da su profesionalne PR usluge neophodne, nemaju velika očekivanja po pitanju dobijanja kvalitetne i vredne usluge od svojih PR agencija. Češće se na agenciju gleda kao na pomoć u izvršavanju operativnih zadataka. Ovde se od agencija uglavnom ne očekuje, niti je pak dobrodošla, strateška pomoć.

Da li je ova praksa obeležje baikanskog mentaliteta? Možda prihvatanje saveta znači gubitak kredibiliteta, što rukovodiocima teško pada. U svakom slučaju, prihvatiti nečiji savet podrazumeva priznanje da je neko stručniji od Vas na određenom polju. Što nas vraća na naš primer o advokatu. Zar nije prihvatanje najboljeg mogućeg saveta i time dolaženje do najboljih rezultata znak inteligencije i snage, a ne slabosti?

Prenosiva veština

Tokom svoje karijere često su mi potencijalni klijenti postavljali slično pitanje. Ovo je jedan primer od hiljade mogućih varijacija. “Pa, Dejvide, šta Vi znate o tržištu GPS sistema za automobile…?” Uvek sam pokušavao da iskreno odgovorim. “Pa, možda ne znam mnogo trenutno, ali mogu dosta da naučim. Ne tvrdim da sam stručnjak kada je u pitanju satelitska navigacija. Vaš je posao da se u to razumete. Ali tvrdim da sam stručnjak kada su u pitanju komunikacije – to je moj posao!” Stručnost na polju komunikacija je u suštini prenosiva veština. Tehnike i znanje koji su neophodni i proces obavljanja posla su uopšteno posmatrano slični i kada je u pitanju proizvođač satelitske navigacije, i proizvođač jogurta ili kozmetike. Ovo je argument koji ne shvata svako, i priznajem da mi nije uvek uspevalo da u njega ubedim klijente kako u Velikoj Britaniji, tako i u Srbiji.

Moćni alat

Izazov u Srbiji, koji je pak još jednostavnije prirode, je ubediti rukovodioce da su korporativne komunikacije moćni alat koji može značajno da promeni poslovanje njihovih kompanija, bilo kada je u pitanju zaštita kompanije u vreme recesije i krize, izgradnja pozitivne reputacije ili pozicioniranje njihovih proizvoda u svesti potrošača. Još jedno pitanje uglavnom sledi: “U redu, prihvatam činjenicu da nam je potrebna ekspertska pomoć kako bismo upravljali komunikacijama u našoj kompaniji. Ali, na tu funkciju možemo da zaposlimo nekog. Zašto bismo angažovali konsultantsku kuću?” Naravno da možete zaposliti nekoga. Štaviše, ako Vam je PR agencija potrebna samo da bi slala saopštenja za medije po Vašem nalogu ili organizovala zabave za zaposlene, onda se potpuno slažem da prosto treba da zaposlite još nekoliko Ijudi koji će obavljati te poslove. Vama, u stvari, onda ni ne treba PR agencija. Ali, ako želite da imate podršku agencije čiji će zaposleni doprineti ostvarenju Vaših poslovnih ciljeva svojom stručnošću, iskustvom i znanjem – situacija je drugačija. Svakako, možete da pokušate da zaposlite osobu sa odgovarajućim kvalifikacijama. U tom slučaju, postarajte se da obezbedite dovoljno veliki budžet za njenu platu, i ne zaboravite da će joj biti potrebna administrativna podrška i druga sredstva.

Ah, da… I naravno – uvek možete da pokušate i sami…

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PROFIT MAGAZINE, April 2009.

20.04.2009

Stakeholders? Who needs them?

By: David Dowse

Everyone in business in Serbia knows somebody in authority. Whether you went to school with the President, or your uncle knows somebody in the Municipality who can help smooth that planning application, patronage and strong personal networks are an intrinsic part of life.

On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with this approach – after all, doing a favour for a friend is a fundamental that makes us all human. But in the modern business world, relying solely on personal contacts is archaic and risky. The demands of a complex and fast-moving information flow, delivered through so many varied channels, emphasise the need for a much more considered and planned approach to stakeholder communications.

Let’s begin by defining the word ‘stakeholder’. It is used so often that it would be easy to lose sight of what we are talking about. A stakeholder is simply any person or organisation that has an interest in, or an impact on, your business. A few minute’s thinking will produce quite an extensive list, whatever sector you are operating in. If your business happens to be in an environmentally sensitive sector, or you have some other specific potential problems, the list will be even more extensive.

A very basic list might include employees, local community, media, banks, government ministries, municipalities, regulators, business partners such as the distribution chains, suppliers, and end users of your products.

Why does stakeholder communication matter? Because the stakeholders you have identified, by definition, have the power to have either a negative or a positive impact on your business.

You might set out to achieve a specific objective – maybe a licence to operate, a privatisation deal or a land acquisition. Stakeholder communications are absolutely vital in such scenarios. But, even if you are already in business and have no special development plans, you should keep relations with stakeholders as positive as possible. Think of this like a special bank account – you make deposits of goodwill into the saving account, then, when crisis hits, you can withdraw emergency ‘funds’.

Alternatively, think about how your company will fare when a real problem arises. You may look around for support, and find precious little.

Like so many other aspects of effective communications, stakeholder communications is a process. There isn’t really any magic involved, just tried and proven techniques, carried out only after intensive thinking and analysis.

The process begins with Stakeholder Mapping. This is much more than simply making a list of the stakeholders for your business. It is important to profile each stakeholder and benchmark where each individual or organisation fits in the overall picture – is he Tier One, the most important group, or of lesser importance, but still influential. What are the possible connections between various stakeholders? Next, you need to assess where each stakeholder currently sits in relation to your business – positive, neutral, negative? Is there any existing or past relationship?

A good stakeholder map is never finished – the information needs to be continuously updated to reflect the inevitable political upheavals and changes of people and position.

The next phase is called Stakeholder Outreach. Guided by your detailed map, you must assess the priorities and identify an appropriate strategy to establish and maintain positive communications with each stakeholder. Your tactical approach will vary considerably, depending on the stakeholder’s profile and their view. This is a sensitive and complex operation. Many stakeholder programmes have failed because someone was approached in the wrong way or at the wrong time. You are seldom given a second chance.

It’s very important to be clear about your messaging. This is where pre-meeting profiling and briefing is so important. What does the target already know? What do you want them to hear? Going into a meeting unprepared can also be disastrous.

Outreach might involve a personal, one-on-one meeting, either formal or informal, a group presentation, written communication of some kind, or a wide range of other techniques. The important thing is that the message is delivered in an appropriate way, at the appropriate time, to the appropriate person.

A mistake which many companies make is to conduct a stakeholder exercise, tick the box that says ‘that’s done’ and then forget it for a couple of years. Like so many other aspects of intelligent communications, there’s a simple golden rule to follow; do it right, or don’t do it at all. In stakeholder communications, that means real and on-going commitment.

Does it work? I have never known a major company that regretted investing in a professionally planned and executed programme. And interest in this professional area is actually increasing during the current recession. When the going gets tough, the tough get talking. On the other hand, I have known several who waited for a serious crisis before discovering just how poor – and how important – their relations with stakeholders are. Some of them, sadly, are no longer in business.

The author is a Senior Partner at Webb Dowse Intelligent Corporate Communications, Belgrade,

www.webbdowse.com

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Privredni pregled, business daily, March 2009.

17.03.2009

Veb Daus PR paket protiv recesije

Veb Daus (Webb Dowse), agencija za korporativne komunikacije sa sedištem u Beogradu, inače vlasništvo dvojice Britanaca, ponudila je kompanijama u Evropskoj uniji rešenje za borbu sa sve manjim budžetima. Poseban spoj usluga nazvan ,,PR paket za borbu protiv recesije” agencija nudi se po cenama daleko nižim od evropskog proseka, ali sa kvalitetom koji može da parira vodećim svetskim agencijama.

Po rečima jednog od suvlasnika agencije, Dejvida Dausa, dobro je poznata praksa da se proizvodni pogoni i elektronske uslužne delatnosti, kao na primer kol-centri ili proizvodnja softvera, sele ka Istoku, gde su zaposleni kvalifikovani, a troškovi daleko niži. U ovom poslu se gotovo sve odvija posredstvom Interneta, pa je fizička lokacija potpuno nebitna. Ono što jeste bitno je kvalitet: nivo obrazovanja, zna-nje engleskog jezika i poslovna etika ljudi na ovim prostorima su tako visoki, da njihovoj produktivnosti i kreativnosti mogu pozavideti čak i mnoge londonske agencije, objasnio je on. Srbija nije članica EU, ali je geografski povoljno smeštena blizu evropskih prestonica, tako da se sastanci mogu veoma lako organizovati kada je to potrebno. Okosnicu našeg paketa usluga namenjenog kompanijama ugroženim recesijom u EU čine dve oblasti: strateško upravljanje reputacijom i krizni menadžment, koji u vreme globalne krize dobijaju na značaju. Menadžeri korporativnih komunikacija u sedištima međunarodnih kompanija širom Evrope sve se više bave problemom očuvanja korporativne reputacije, ali uz ograničena ulaganja. Mi im sada nudimo efikasno rešenje tog problema.

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PROFIT MAGAZINE, March 2009.

08.03.2009

Tell me what the real Serbian treasure is

In March 2009, David Dowse and David Webb, senior partners at Webb Dowse Intelligent Corporate Communications, came up with a special offer to help the EU companies deal with lower budget in times of recession, especially in the areas of strategic reputation management and crisis management. The services were offered at prices which are far below the European average, but with a world-class quality, since, according to David Dowse, even the agencies in London could only wish for the level of education, English skills, business ethics, productivity and creativity that the people from this region possess.

By: David Dowse


Word of mouth is a very powerful communication tool. It’s a basic tenet of the PR profession that an endorsement by a trusted third party – be it a journalist or a friend – is much more effective that any kind of “paid-for” advertising. Much of our work for major international clients is based on this principle. But however hard we try to persuade our friends and family, the impact of two British ex-pats on Serbia’s much maligned reputation and image will, sadly, be no more than a drop in the ocean. To have any real impact, a planned campaign is required.

I have just celebrated my 3rd year living and working in Belgrade. During this time, I have been delighted to invite several close friends and family to visit, and every one of them has left with warm memories and a transformed view of what Serbia is really like.

David Webb, my co-partner in Webb Dowse, has lived here for many years more than I have.

It was our shared love of the country, and our belief in its future, that was one of the major factors in our decision to stay here and build a business. We have both become enthusiastic, if unofficial, ‘Ambassadors’ for Serbia, telling everyone who will listen about the many positive aspects of life here.

Why does it matter? Well, for one thing, any objective review of recent history tells us that Serbia has endured concerted (and probably, in some cases, well planned and well resourced) attacks on its reputation, and much of that ‘battle’ has been conducted in the PR field. It is high time the country defended itself effectively.

But, simply redressing the balance is not a clear enough objective on which to base a PR campaign, even if it is a morally attractive proposition. Like it or not, Serbia is in business.

A global business. As a country, Serbia competes with surrounding countries and emerging markets all over the world. The competition, especially in these troubled economic times, is fierce. There’s an argument to be won – for every foreign investor that still has money to invest, for every tourist dollar, euro, pound, or yen. Whatever business you may be in, this ultimately affects you.

Spend an hour on CNN or BBC World, and you’ll see plenty of evidence of just how seriously other countries are taking things. Major productions of flashy advertisements for India, Malaysia and South Africa appear every few minutes. And it’s not just the bigger players – Montenegro, Croatia and Macedonia are all there too.

And where is Serbia? I recall a sorry attempt a year or so ago, with a short TV ad that ran briefly on CNN. It simply did not do justice to the country, and alongside the well-funded efforts of Serbia’s neighbours, it unfortunately simply reinforced the image of this country as a poor relation. More recently, some new ads have appeared on large billboards around Belgrade. The problem is, they seem to be promoting Serbia as a tourist destination… to Serbians. What is that about?

The obvious reason is money, or more accurately, Serbia’s lack of it to invest in building its image. I read in a recent news article that plans to spend big, serious money with a major international PR company to work on Serbia’s image were once again in doubt, as budget restrictions bite hard. As ever in the Balkans, the placing of such a large contract is surrounded by accusations of favouritism and political intrigue. And as ever, it is the ordinary people who suffer from the inaction and prevarication that results.

But the real point here is that it may not be simply about how much money can be found.

In our business, we are faced with the same problem every day. Our clients also have budget issues, but they still need and expect results. We must respond, with intelligent and creative thinking, to find a way forward. I believe it will be the ability of any PR agency to do that effectively that determines who survives the recession in our business and who falls by the wayside.

And Serbia’s poor image? My point is that if we simply wait for big money to become available, it will be way too late. What is needed is smart thinking, built around how to make the biggest impact for the minimum investment. The big, international agencies are unlikely to be interested in such a brief; they have to send large slices of profit to their major corporate owners. But there are one or two smaller, but equally capable, independent consultancies that would rise to the challenge. Some of them are even real Serbian companies, paying taxes here and employing Serbian citizens. And who is best to champion the cause for Serbia – highly paid executives sitting in London and New York, or people who really know the country? After all, isn’t ‘keeping it in the family’ a tradition here?

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Ekonometar, business monthly, March 2009.

07.03.2009

Pomoć protiv recesije kompanijama u EU

In March 2009, David Dowse and David Webb, senior partners at Webb Dowse Intelligent Corporate Communications, came up with a special offer to help the EU companies deal with lower budget in times of recession, especially in the areas of strategic reputation management and crisis management. The services were offered at prices which are far below the European average, but with a world-class quality, since, according to David Dowse, even the agencies in London could only wish for the level of education, English skills, business ethics, productivity and creativity that the people from this region possess.

Veb Daus (Webb Dowse), agencija za korporativne komunikacije sa sedištem u Beogradu, koja je u vlasništvu dvojice Britanaca, ponudila je kompanijama u Evropskoj uniji rešenje za borbu sa sve manjim budžetima. Poseban spoj usluga nazvan „PR paket za borbu protiv recesije” agencija nudi po cenama daleko nižim od evropskog proseka, ali sa kvalitetom koji može da parira vodećim svetskim agencijama.

Zaposleni u ovoj agenciji, koji imaju široko iskustvo u pružanju usluga ključnim stranim investitorima ši-rom jugoistočne Evrope, tvrde da su u teškim vremenima najvrednije sveže ideje, a ovaj paket usluga je jedna od njih. Prema rečima Dejvida Dausa, dobro je poznata praksa da se proizvodni pogoni i elektronske uslužne delatnosti, kao na primer kol centri ili proizvodnja softvera, sele ka Istoku, gde su zaposleni kvalifikovani, a troškovi daleko niži. „Ne vidimo zbog čega se ovaj model ne može primeniti i na korporativne komunikacije”, kaže Daus.

Srbija nije članica Evropske unije, ali je geografski povoljno smeštena blizu evropskih prestonica, tako da se sastanci mogu veoma lako organizovati kada je to potrebno. Okosnicu ovog paketa usluga namenjenog kompanijama ugroženim recesijom u Evropskoj uniji čine dve oblasti: strateško upravljanje reputacijom i krizni menadžment, koji u vreme globalne krize dobijaju na značaju.

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PROFIT MAGAZINE, February 2009.

28.02.2009

When the going gets tough… The tough get thinking

PR in times of recession

Thinking of cutting your PR?
Think again, if you want to be a survivor.

In times of recession, there is a strong temptation to cut PR budgets. It is an all-to-easy easy target for a hard-pressed Finance Director. But the big lesson from the USA, where the recession has been underway for over a year already, is that the smart players, the companies focused on survival and eventual revival, are those who have cut expensive advertising and other above-the-line activities and concentrated instead on investing in their reputation through PR techniques.

When times are tough, the “value for money” imperative pushes even higher up the agenda than usual. So, what is the case that PR delivers over above-the-line marketing?

Part of the answer is that properly planned and executed PR techniques have much to recommend them, even when times are not so tough. Back in the UK, we used to work around a widely-accepted industry-standard statement, developed from academic research work, that a third party endorsement (say from an editor or a respected commentator) is up to eight times more powerful than a “paid-for” advertising statement.

This is no surprise. Think of it on a personal level; if a friend tells you that a particular restaurant has the best pasta in town, you are much more likely to believe that advice than even the smartest TV advertisement trying to persuade you that another place is better. This is, of course, why we often see “advertorials” – paid for advertising dressed up to look like real editorial.

So, you might think, we just have to buy off a couple of key people in the media – that’s the Balkan way, right?

Wrong. What we have just explored is one of the fundamentals of PR practice, and it also demonstrates why the independence and impartiality of the media is so vital. If the opinion of an editor or a commentator can be “bought”, then eventually the whole thing comes crashing down. Standards go quickly downhill. The readership loses faith in the publication, and eventually, it will die. Corrupting the principle of free, independent media may work in the short term, but as I saw, close-up, in a previous recession in the UK, that path ultimately leads to a “dumbing down” that helps no-one, least of all the publishers.

PR, or more accurately, that part of PR which is media relations, works by persuading, and preferably, actually demonstrating to the editor or journalist concerned, that a particular company, its products and its services, have benefits in which their readers will be interested. How do you do that? Well, sorry, but that’s the part you have to pay for.

So, how does that affect us in the tough times of economic recession? Let’s go back to the value for money thing.

It’s not all bad news. One positive thing the recession should do is to help sort out the good from the bad in PR agencies. Those who depend on political patronage and dubious “commission payments” may find life quite a lot tougher as the recession bites deeper. Many others – way too many, sadly, who have somehow managed to sell their unsuspecting clients nothing much more than fresh air during the relatively good years, will hopefully soon find themselves considering their future careers. The game is up!

But, on the other hand, consultancies who can work with clients and come up with strong, realistic strategies and clever but practical tactics that deliver real results will surely thrive. It’s simply about adding value.

So proper PR can help you to cost-effectively keep your company “front-of-mind” with your audience through the tough times. But that is only half the story.

Reputation in Crisis?

Sadly, many companies will inevitably be forced to “downsize” – to you and me, that means to cut their workforce. Inevitably, there will be demonstrations and recriminations. Political pressure will be applied. Budgets for important CSR projects may come under big pressure. How do you manage your precious corporate reputation through the storm? How long did it take you to build it up? How quickly do you think it might be lost? And how much will it cost you to get it back again?

Some in my profession call this important process “crisis management”. It has become one of my personal specialisations over the years, and along with my colleagues, we are now working with some extremely challenging situations, in highly sensitive ecological and political environments. But when a “crisis” becomes an ongoing, day-to-day battle for survival, it is more correctly called “reputation management”. And in times of recession, the need to get it right is more, not less important.

In many companies, the pens of the accountants will be poised over the line that says “Public Relations.” For some, it is already too late. For the others, it really would be smart to think again before making that tempting cut.

The author is a Senior Partner at Webb Dowse Intelligent Corporate Communications, Belgrade,

www.webbdowse.com

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The MEN, January 2009.

26.01.2009

Uticajni stranci u Srbiji

In the issue from January 2009, the MEN magazine placed David Webb, Senior Partner at Webb Dowse Intelligent Corporate Communications, on the list of the most influential foreigners in Serbia.

DAVID WEBB Koosnivač Webb Dowse (PR) David radi na trgovini i investicijama u Srbiji od polovine 90-ih. Njegova ranija karijera zasniva se na radu u britanskoj vladi, gde je radio kao specijalista za bivšu Jugoslaviju kod britanskog ministra trgovine, a onda i kao predstavnik ministra trgovine na Kosovu i Metohiji. U Beograd je došao 2001. kao šef trgovinskog odeljenja britanske ambasade i pomagao je brojne britanske kompanije da ponovo uđu na naše tržište. Poznat je kao najpriznatiji britanski ekspert poslovanja u Srbiji. Webb Dowse je osnovao 2007. i on je vrlo brzo postao vodeća agencija za PR, odnose sa vladom i lobiranje na području Jugoistočne Fvrope. Sa sedištem u Beogradu, Webb Dowse već ima i svoja predstavništva u pet balkanskih zemalja i listu klijenata među kojima su MasterCard, ArcelorMittal i Erste Bank.

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Serbian City Club

Događaji koje Webb Dowse organizuje za novinare su besprekorni: tim ostavlja utisak sveprisutnosti i organizovanosti, a da pritom nisu nametljivi. Pravo je zadovoljstvo sarađivati sa njima.

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Webb Dowse has been one of our key media partners in organisation of the conference of relations between the UK and Serbia. They are highly reliable and professional team, able to communicate efficiently with different stakeholders and institutions.

Mihajlo Rabrenović, PhD, organiser of Eurosfera conference

I genuinely recommend Webb Dowse agency for the professional services they have been providing us in a timely, creative and know-how manner.

Dijana Božić- Srdanović, Communication Manager at ArcelorMittal Zenica

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Jelena Ristić, Head of Sales, MasterCard Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro

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