Full-service firm with financial communications expertise
In the early 90s, Kuzmenkov & Associates founder Ilya Kuzmenkov was responsible for communications management at one of the largest investment banks in Russia, working to explain the complex issues facing the emerging free market and looking for a PR agency partner to deliver strategy as well as media placement. When he couldn’t find one, he created his own firm, and in 1995 Kuzmenkov & Associates became one of the first independent public relations firms in the Russian market, focusing initially on the financial sector, but eventually branching out to offer marketing and corporate communications and public affairs counsel, and to work across a range of industries, with expertise in FMCG, fashion and luxury goods, IT and telecoms, pharmaceuticals, and real estate.
Today, the firm has more than 100 people and revenues of around $8 million, with growth in public relations and public affairs, and in the group’s advertising unit. The last year saw some changes in the structure of the business, as Kuzmenkov created two major divisions: K&A Communications Consulting (which includes media relations, public affairs, research, and more) and K&A Brand Consulting (brand strategy, personal engagement, and more). Revenues were up about 12 percent, with new assignments from Petro-Canada, Wintershall, and Siberia Airlines (personal engagement programme), joining a client list that includes Beiersdorf, International Moscow Bank, Tetra Pac (for public affairs), and Peterbuzhskaya Nedvizhimostn (for a brand audit).
The firm is also a leader in the increasingly sophisticated Russian public relations market. In March 1999, K&A was among 13 Russian consultancies that founded the Public Relations Consultancy Association, and in June of 2000 it won the International Public Relations Association’s Golden World award for excellence for its long-term programme to increase public awareness of the insurance profession in Russia. In 2004, it won another Golden World award, this one for American Express travellers’ cheques promotion.
Kuzmenkov has assembled a leadership team that includes partner and managing director Oleg Korionov, who has handled assignments from the Russian Federation State Committee for State Property Management, the U.S. Treasury, General Electric, Lukoil, and others; and Larisa Romanovskaya, also partner and Managing director, who spent four years as the head of the client services department of the Kommersant Publishing House before joining K&A in 1997. Recent additions to the team include Vlad Ermolaev, as creative director of the firm’s Fortis Advertising Agency, and Olga Mazurova, new business development director.
In 2000, the firm entered into an affiliate agreement with Golin/Harris, handling international assignments for several of the firm’s clients. More recently, it has worked closely with Hill & Knowlton, working for the firm’s clients in Russia and the CIS.