When Piotr Czarnowski tried to register his new firm with the Polish tax office, he encountered a problem: there was no category for a public relations business; the closest categories were media and film. That was 15 years ago—First Public Relations was among the pioneers of the PR business in Poland, where the business has matured considerably since then—but with 17 full-time staff and healthy growth over the past four years, First is still among the leaders in the Polish market, one western companies are eyeing hungrily as the largest and perhaps the most developed of the emerging Eastern European nations.
First differs from many of its local competitors in Poland in that it focuses exclusively on public relations (most of the others often offer a mix of advertising, PR, design and more), with practice areas including corporate communications, media relations, investor relations, public affairs, and—an area of growing interest—crisis and issues management. The firm is also seeing growth in corporate social responsibility and internal communications work. Clients come from a diverse range of industries, with IT and telecommunications a particular strength, but the pharmaceutical, transport, defence and energy sectors well represented too. The leadership team includes former journalist Czarnowski, still active in the firm and in the industry (he was a founder of the Polish Public Relations Association in 1994); financial communications and IT expert Darek Dabrowski; employee communications specialist Marek Kosarczyn; and Przemek Staniszewski, an expert in crisis communications.
Clients include British Airways, Cartoon Network, CNN, ComputerLand, Hettich, ING Nationale and ING Employee Benefits.
First also works through two regional networks, Eurocom and the International Public Relations Network, and has bilateral agreements with several firms in the EU and the