BOSTON, February 27—Several U.S. technology public relations firms have established a beachhead in Europe in recent years, with Silicon Valley’s Applied Communications opening in Amsterdam, Portland’s Waggener Edstrom establishing itself in Heidelberg, and Omnicom’s Brodeur Worldwide building a network of affiliates across the continent. And the U.S. has seen the first stirrings of a British invasion, with London’s Text 100 opening half a dozen offices in this country, and Chime Communications recently buying Boston’s LNS Communications.
But this week saw an unusual foray on to U.S. soil by a continental European technology specialist, as Frankfurt-based euroPResence (no relation to PResence/Euro RSCG) opened an office in Boston devoted to helping U.S. technology companies navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of pan-European public relations.
According to agency president Ellen Zimmermann, who earlier in her career worked on the German launch of the Amiga for Commodore Computers and handled pan-European PR for Prime Computer and Interleaf before launching her own agency, “A lot of American companies assume that if they have a product that works in the U.S., all they have to do is have the press release translated into whatever language is spoken in the market they are targeting. They don’t consider that they might need a more localized approach.”
Other U.S. companies continue to treat Europe as a single market. “American companies often disregard local customs and practices,” Zimmermann says. “We have a thorough understanding of the expectations in different countries, so we can pave the way for a smooth entry, taking into account the market climate, competitors, positioning and channels.”
EuroPResence takes a unique approach, working with affiliates in various European markets and assembling customized teams to fit each client’s needs. “No two clients have the same package of services or work with the same roster of agencies,” says Zimmermann. “Everything is determined by specific client needs.”
The approach is most popular with midsize companies—clients include Enigma, Message Media, Metromedia, nCipher and Rogue Wave, and VA Linux—but also works for larger corporations: Nortel Networks is the firm’s largest client.
The U.S. operations will be led by Edna Kaplan, who was founder and principal of KOGS Communication, a firm with clients in the technology, healthcare and education arenas. The firm will offer U.S. clients a special “start-up Europe” package of services that includes a survey of the market environment, competitors, positioning and channels and coordinate of activities from recruitment to relocation to privide a highly publicized market entry.