Business Press
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Business Press

Founded in 1990 by a trio of former journalists—Diego Biasi, Paolo Bonizzi, Marta Conterio—Business Press initially focused its energies on the information technology sector

Holmes Report

Multispecialist with strong technology credentials

Founded in 1990 by a trio of former journalists—Diego Biasi, Paolo Bonizzi, Marta Conterio—Business Press initially focused its energies on the information technology sector, expanding in the mid 90s with the addition an online communications subsidiary (BP Interactive, later spun off as Alkemie) and a dot-com specialist (Now!PR) and growing to become one of the top 10 public relations firms in Italy. Today, the firm has 40 employees, turnover of around €3 million, and—having anticipated the technology recession of the past four years—practices in consumer brands; professional services; financial services; manufacturing and transport; energy, chemicals and the environment; life sciences; tourism and culture; public sector and not-for-profit; and T.I.M.E. (telecommunications, information technology, multimedia, electronics).

The transition from IT specialist to full-service firm was not without its challenges, however, and 2004 saw a return to profitability after three difficult years and the decision by several large clients to consolidate their European PR agency networks. But the firm picked up 25 new accounts over the past 12 months—including D-Link, LG Electronics, IFC-WorldBank, Gazeley, Redecam, Istituto Luigi Sturzo, and SCF—the Alkemie group has been retained for several website redesign projects, and Now saw revenues up 40 percent. Other major clients include BASF, Cotton Council International, Kodak, Lucent Technologies, palmOne, Siemens Medical Solutions, Tom Tom,

The firm approaches public relations with integrationist mindset that it explains as consisting of “PR heart, marketing soul, and Web passion.” It’s a mindset that necessarily requires an emphasis on results, formalized in a proprietary methodology called “V4/value for,” which if focused on business outcomes rather than just media results. In addition, an executive training capability was added in 2004 and is winning its own clients (Campari, Banca Fideuram, Esso) as well as providing supplemental services to BP clients, and a public affairs operation was opened at the end of the year in partnership with a consultancy in Rome. Says William Bettendorf, director of Greater Europe for Cotton Council International: “Business Press is very much of a business minded public relations and integrated communications agency prepared to deliver quantifiable results… the perfect interface for CCI given our American based business practices and the challenges of the Italian market.”

Biasi, Bonizzi and Conterio continue to manage the firm, serving as chairman, vice president of client service, and managing director and financial controller respectively, and have been joined by partners Massimo Tafi, formerly of IBM Italia and now vice president of the PR group, and Giuseppe Lucido, an Edelman veteran and now general manager of Now!PR. The firm also rates among the Best Consultancies to Work For in continental Europe, according to our 2005 employee survey, thanks in part to a first-rate professional development programme.

Business Press has always had an international mindset. In 1992 it formed its own European network, Globalink, which merged with the Worldcom PR Group in 1996 and is now part of the largest global network of independent public relations firms. Recent international assignments include work for the World Bank Group in Belgrade, with BP acting as the lead agency and partnering with specialists in Serbia-Montenegro.

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