At Grup 7’s website, chairman Cengiz Turhan explains his firm’s philosophy of communications, an approach that might be best summarized as “authentic differentiation.” Effective public relations, he explains, can be used to differentiate products and the company that make them—a necessity in an increasingly competitive business environment—but that differentiation must be based in reality, true to the genetic code of the company. Awareness begins with employees; the company’s positioning must be absorbed and accepted into the company’s internal
Turhan is a former journalist, having spent 10 years as a business editor before launching the firm in 1991, when the Turkish public relations business was still in its infancy. He is supported at the helm of the firm by four vice presidents, two of them—Anna Turay and Lale Filoglu—co-founders; two of them—Zuhre Kurt and Senay Kalkan—new to their roles; all four of them former reporters and editors. Their background and the firm’s philosphy demonstrate the real advantage that ex-journalists bring to the PR business: not their ability to pitch former colleagues but their understanding of the issues that impact corporate reputation and drive business successs. As a result, Grup 7’s own differentiation is grounded in its strategic thinking and its expertise in reputation management, issues and crisis management, (The firm is also one of only a handful of Turkish companies to have achieved ICCO’s Consultancy Management Standard certification.)
The past 12 months saw healthy growth, with fee income up by 23 percent in 2007 to around $2.2 million and by a very impressive 78 percent through the first six months of 2008. The firm works for several multinational companies—Carrier (which operates as Alarko-Carrier in Turkey), Vodafone, Wyeth, Allianz (Koc-Allianz in Turkey), Sodexho and National Bank of Greece (Finansbank in Turkey)—as well as for some major Turkis clients: automotive company Bayraktar, Halkbank, FMCG company Hayat, the City of Istanbul (2010 Cultural Capital of Europe), Koc Holding (the country’s largest industrial conglomerate), Ozyegin University, construction company Soyak, the Turkish banking association, the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation, Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, and energy company Zorlu.
One highlight of the past 12 months was the firm’s work counseling the president of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association on issues management; another was the “Long Live the Baby” campaign for the Banking Association of Turkey, a medical assistance and social aid initiative that won a social responsibility award from the business magazine Platin in 2005 and has earned the association recognition as one of Turkey’s social responsibility leaders.
“Grup 7 has revealed itself to be a PR agency with intensive dedication, openness and willingness to learn new information pertaining to our industry,” says Idil Dorsan, head Of corporate affairs for Vodafone