Eastern European PR Consultancies of the Year, EMEA 2015 | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations

2015 Eastern European Consultancies of the Year

Our 2015 EMEA PR Consultancies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 150 submissions and 100 face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across the region.

Winners will receive their trophies at the EMEA SABRE Awards in London on 19 May. Analysis of all Winners and Finalists across 20 categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below.

Eastern European Consultancy of the Year — MSLGroup (Publicis Groupe)

MSL’s expansion into Eastern Europe really began in earnest with the 2011 acquisition of Ciszewski, a Polish firm with three separate brands focused on technology PR, financial communications, consumer and sports-marketing.

Since then, the Polish operation under the leadership of CEO Sebastian Hejnowski has consolidated and grown into a market leader, with 80 people working in brand and corporate communications, crisis and issues management, CSR, internal communications, and financial PR for an illustrious list of clients including AkzoNobel, Best Western, BNP Paribas, Carslberg, Discovery Networks, Emirates, GSK, ING, LG Electronics, Lockheed Martin and some major local companies.

Highlights included the “Loving Touch Matters” campaign for GSK, spotlighting the importance of a loving touch in a child’s emotional, social, and physical development, and the SABRE-nominated “TLC Bridal Run” campaign for Discovery Networks.

The Polish operation is impressive enough on its own, but over the past 12 months MSL has integrated three other Eastern European businesses—all part of parent company Publicis Groupe—to give it a significant presence in more southerly markets.

The agency has added the 15-person Publicis MARC operation in Bulgaria, a 10-person team in Slovenia, and—most impressive—Romanian creative boutique The Practice, which has a team of 30 led by managing directors Oana Bulexa and Monica Jitariuc, but a track record in awards competitions to rival many larger firms.

In fact, The Practice is nominated for a couple of SABRE Awards this year—a diabetes education effort for Roche, and the “jobs of the future” campaign and the Galaxy S5 launch for Samsung—to add to its impressive haul of recent years.—PH

Finalists

Chapter 4 (CEE/Independent)

Founded in 2010 in four markets—its Austrian headquarters, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia—Chapter 4 has expanded to offer a one-stop solution for contracting, reporting, quality control and strategic consulting cross Central and Eastern Europe, with additional operations in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Romania, and Macedonia. There is obviously a demand for regional coverage: Chapter 4 grew by 40% in 2014 and now has a team of close to 60 working for clients including HP, Ericsson, Aurubis, AbbVie/Abbott, DB Schenker Rail, Lufthansa, Siemens, WWF, Schneider Electric, PepsiCo, L’Oreal, and UK Trade & Investment, with new business last year from Uber, Colgate-Palmolive, McDonalds, Radisson Blu, DuPont, Amgen, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The firm has a particular expertise in the technology sector, but has additional strengths in individual markets. Interesting work in 2014 included a Serbian campaign for Vip mobile, underscoring the company’s support of family businesses and a Bulgarian effort for Abbvie raising awareness of the problems faced premature infants with lowest weight.— PH


Ewing Group
(Czech Republic/Independent)

Ewing Group is a family of three niche consultancies: mainstream public relations firm Ewing PR, advertising agency BeefBrothers, social media specialist Manage Social (supported by proprietary social media management platform Jollor), providing a unique blend of integrated capabilities to the Czech market. Under the leadership of CEO Pavlina Rieselova and co-owner Jiri Hrabovsky, however, it is the firm’s strategic counsel and its expertise in big corporate and public affairs issues—particularly in the financial, energy, real estate and healthcare markets—that have set it apart and earned international recognition.

The group has a team of 40—enough to rank among the top five in the market—serving a client list that includes local and international clients: Arriva, AT Kearney, ROPID, Asekol, Discovery, Alstom, Unipetrol, Benzina, Home Credit, CP Invest, Skanska, Synlab, Baxter, Delta Airlines, the Association of Pension Companies, and Skoda. Fees were up by 15 percent last year, with new business from Unipetrol and Benzina (owned by Polish company PKN Orlen), ROPID, CP Invest, KONE, and Tesla.

Last year’s highlights included sponsorship of Radek Jaros, a Czech mountaineer during his climb of K2, on behalf of CP Invest; an unusually creative public affairs campaign to keep an important commercial route open for ROPID; and managing Synlab’s response to a depositioning campaign launched by competitors—all three nominated for SABRE awards.—PH


Genesis PR
(Poland/Independent)

Genesis PR was founded in 2006 by Eliza Misiecka, who had previously spent seven years at Rowland Communications, as director of the corporate and financial practice and later as strategic director, and brought 12 years of total experience to her new venture. And while the firm now offers a full range of public relations services, it is best known for its work in the corporate and financial arena, and in crisis communications. Its team of 15 makes it a midsize player in the Polish market, but its seven international awards over the past decade give it a profile higher than its size would suggest.

The majority of clients are major players in the Polish business world: Integer.pl Group, InPost, mining equipment manufacturer FAMUR, Selena Group, Fortuna Entertainment Group, Metrostav, and Mabion, and the firm has recently picked up a new assignment handling corporate and product PR for paysafecard, most frequently used mean of prepaid online payment in Europe. Other recent campaigns include communications support for ROBYG Group’s acquisition of land in Warsaw and bond buybacks, and the introduction of refrigerated parcel lockers for groceries on behalf of Integer.pl.—PH


United Partners (Poland/Independent)

Considered one of the pioneers in the Polish PR market, United Partners emerged onto the scene in 1991. In 2005, United signed with Ketchum to become its sole agency partner in Poland.   

The firm’s 18-people are based in Warsaw with a diverse portfolio of clients: Alior Bank, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Panasonic, Veolia, Western Union, Billion Electric and Nordea Comprehensive Pension Company.
CEO/Partner Małgorzata Zaborowska has been leading the agency since 1995 supervising all business activities with managing director/partner Maciej Grabowski. Under their leadership, the firm has developed its expertise around all the major market sectors — while continuing to expand into new areas like litigation support and change management.

Among its notable work, United PR helped to raise awareness around the impact of loud noise in school children for Ecophone Situation. The educational campaign resulted in local governments and schools administration adding acoustic treatments in schools. — AaS