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The Euro RSCG global communications network, one of three major divisions of the giant French holding company Havas, has operations throughout the world, and corporate communications and public relations operations in all the major markets.

Holmes Report

Corporate communications consultancy

The Euro RSCG global communications network, one of three major divisions of the giant French holding company Havas, has operations throughout the world, and corporate communications and public relations operations in all the major markets of Europe (see Single Market or Specialist Firms). Euro RSCG C&O is by far the largest of its PR resources, with 370 people (including 20 partners and 60-plus consultants) and revenues in excess of €45 million, making it perhaps the largest corporate communications consultancy headquartered outside of the English-speaking world. The firm serves a blue-chip client list that includes many of the largest corporations in France— Airbus, BNP Paribas, Danone, EDF, France Telecom, LVMH and L’Oreal, for example—as well as major multinational corporations such as eBay, McDonald’s, and Microsoft. Many of those clients have been with the firm for most of its 16 years: L’Oreal for 13 years, France Telecom to 11, Airbus for 19, BNP Paribas and LVMH for nine.

Euro RSCG C&O is a corporate communications consultancy in the classic French mould. That means it thinks holistically about stakeholders, targeting the financial market, employees, and consumers and general citizens in a way that recognizes their increasing interdependence and the speed with which a crisis impacting one stakeholder group can quickly impact all the others. And it means the firm offers a wide array of disciplines, many of which go beyond traditional public relations to encompass almost every medium through which a company can communicate with those stakeholders. Media-neutral consulting lies at the heart of the model, but the firm employs experts in disciplines such as media relations, public affairs, financial communications, employee communications, events, interactive, corporate identity, advertising, employee and customer newsletter publishing, and annual reports.

So some of its most impressive work involves a broad range of tools, all applied to the same strategic objective. For Airbus, for example, C&O handles corporate advertising, but it also helped launch the new A380, the world’s largest passenger jet, with a media and opinion leader event in Toulouse earlier this year, and managed corporate reputation issues in the aerospace company’s ongoing trade battles with rival Boeing. For Electricité de France, meanwhile, C&O has handled a wide range of issues, from its transition from state-owned monopoly to a competitive market to the sale of shares to the public, from consumer advertising to corporate social responsibility.

On the crisis and issues management front, C&O worked with Iliad when one of its founders was embroiled in a sex scandal; with CapGemini through three earnings warnings; and McDonald’s in its efforts to counter French anti-globalists. And the firm remains a force in the financial communications arena, working on M&A assignments for clients such as American Airlines (acquisition of TWA), Comcast (unsolicited bid for AT&T Broadband), and Unilever (acquisition of Best Foods), and Olivetti (unsolicited offer for Telecom Italia) and IPOs for Pages Jeunes, Sanef, and Wanadoo. Corporate identity programmes included work for Caisse des Dépôts, Thales, and Vivarte.

The firm enjoys a reputation for its creative work, winning awards for advertising (a 2005 Gold Top Com award; a Silver Lion at the Cannes advertising festival) and in other disciplines (a Top Com award for corporate identity last year, an award for the best financial website on behalf of L’Oreal, and several PR and corporate communications awards).

As far as international work is concerned, C&O can draw on two separate Havas networks. The first, under the Euro RSCG brand, includes some of the best firms in Europe—Euro RSCG ABC in Germany, Euro RSCG Bikker in the Netherlands, Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster in the U.K.—as well as Euro RSCG Magnet in the U.S. Euro RSCG has a network of 41 corporate and PR firms in major international markets, including its own C&O subsidiary in Brussels. And on the financial front, C&O is part of the AMO network, which includes M&A specialists such as Abernathy MacGregor in London, Maitland in London, and Hering Schuppener in Germany. AMO was ranked number four in Europe in terms of deal volume in the first half of 2005 and C&) was tied for first in France.

All Euro RSCG and AMO firms are used to working together on cross-boarder public relations assignments, although Euro RSCG will not be a serious competitor for multinational accounts until Havas implements a long-awaited reorganization that brings the various components closer together in terms of management and infrastructure.

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