It’s easy to see why Burson-Marsteller, as it sought a partner in the Turkish market, was attracted to Zarakol. While Burson has invested heavily in its “evidence-based” approach, Zarakol takes a similarly empirical view of the world, talking about the importance of putting “knowledge” at the center of its relationships with clients and target audiences, and emphasizing the importance of measurable results.
That’s not the only thing that makes Zarakol stand out in the increasingly sophisticated and competitive Turkish market. In addition to the emphasis on knowledge, it business principals emphasize “competing not with our rivals but with ourselves,” a commitment to “better, truer, newer” ideas, knowledge sharing for the betterment of the industry, and transparency in financial matters.
With a team of around 50, the firm is one of the leaders in the market, serving a list of clients that includes major local companies and multinationals: T-box, Mey, Roche, Tesco, Nestle, Bayraktar, HP, Statkraft, Philip Morris, Pepsico, Shell, Tilaga, and more. And it provides a broad portfolio of services that includes crisis and issues management, corporate and financial communication, brand marketing, public affairs, internal communications, executive communications, corporate social responsibility, sponsorship, publishing and digital and social media.
The firm is led by founder and chief executive Necla Zarakol, who has 40 years of experience in public relations, corporate communications, and journalism; along with deputy general managers Tolga Koç (a former finance editor, responsible for client relations) and Seyhan Sahin (responsible for media relations); corporate relations and HR manager Müjgan Bayraktaroglu; and new addition Aras Zarakol, who leads the firm’s new Zarakol 2.0 digital unit.
While the Turkish economy did not escape the worst effects of the global economic slowdown, there was increased demand for public relations services in key sectors, including telecommunications, financial services and consumer goods, and clients in many categories sought advice on the use of digital and social media. Zarakol picked up new work from Statkraft, PMI, Shell, PepsiCo, and IWC, and handled a number of interesting assignments, including a digital project for alcoholic beverage company Mey Içki that earned several awards in Turkey.