Full service PR firm
When the Czech public relations association APRA presented its first ever industry awards earlier this year, Bison & Rose was the winner in the corporate reputation category for its worth on behalf of Italian company Autostrade, which builds and manages toll roads. Autostrade had lost out on a tender issued by the Czech transport ministry and was concerned that the contract had been awarded to a Czech company despite the fact that there were lower bids from Autostrade and others. After diplomatic efforts yielded no results, Bison & Rose took the matter public, using an aggressive media outreach campaign to turn up the heat on the ministry. It was a bold strategy, and one that showed just how far the Czech public relations industry—and Czech democracy—have come in the past few years.
Bison & Rose was founded in mid 90s as an advertising agency (then known as Bis-on) by entrepreneur and artist Jiøí Bis. The firm expanded its capabilities to include public relations when Miloš Rùžièka (his last name is Czech for Rose), former press spokesperson in The Czech National Property Fund and Head of the Marketing and Communication Section in Komerèní banka, joined the firm. They have since been joined by managing director Roman Šmíd (formerly of Agrobanka, Komerèní banka) and strategic planning director Vladimír Bystrov (whose experience includes media, corporate and agency positions), who now lead a team of 35 people—25 of them in PR. Bison & Rose reported 2005 PR fees of CZK 53.8 (€1.9 million), enough to secure a place among the top five firms in the market.
The firm offers a full range of marketing communications services, including public relations, advertising, direct marketing, and market research, and offers expertise in several sectors, notably financial services, construction, FMCG, pharmaceuticals, sports and entertainment, and the public sector. Clients include leading Czech institutions such as financial services giant ÈSOB, energy giant ÈEZ, ÈSA (the Czech airline) and the Prague Stock Exchange, as well as for leading multinationals including Credit Suisse, Glaxo SmithKline, sanofi-Aventis, Schering Plough, IBM and Nokia.
While the firm’s focus is on the Czech market, it is increasingly being asked by its Czech clients to coordinate public relations internationally, in markets from the U.K. to France to Switzerland, and international clients are increasingly looking to manage Eastern European PR on a regional basis, with Czech firms—among the largest and most sophisticated in the region—in a good position to take the lead.