Thursday, December 16, 2004

London Calling

I'm honored to have a series of guest entries from my esteemed globe-trotting colleagues, Chris Carleton and Randy Wambold. Take it away guys.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Clash's eponymous debut title, CHEN PR has shown our respect by doing some London Calling of our own.

Well that's not exactly what prompted us to spend last week in the UK meeting with a bunch of tech PR industry peers. But, it did give us a timely lead-in to our blog entry.

Just as the Clash's album (yup, born on vinyl for those who recall that medium) was billed as featuring 19 tracks, 66 minutes and never blinking so, too, was the CHEN PR swing. In two and a half days, our gracious hosts from agencies to individual consultants made time for more than a dozen breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks and office visits for the Yanks from Boston. And since we're that much smarter because of it, we thought we should blog about the week that was.

We'll blog more about things later this week, after we've sufficiently dug back into those efforts that drive client coverage and pay the rent. Til then, some quick observations:
  • After some very tough sledding, the tech PR business is coming back. Budgets remain tight, but U.S. companies again seem to be committing to pan-European initiatives. That's in contrast to the year or two prior, when budgets from U.S. clients at best were slashed and at worst just evaporated.
  • There's a great hum in the London air and it's coming from a new generation of tech PR consultancies. And many are headed up by PR pros who previously were responsible for overseeing similar European operations for some of the Big Holding Company brands. They know how the game is played from the inside out. That knowledge, plus the contact networks they've built up during those tenures, is enabling them to hire smart staffs, attract good clients and drive solid coverage. We expect this dynamic is causing some sweat at the longer-standing consultancies.
  • Everyone wants to know how George Bush could win the election. If we were in a meeting for more than five minutes before this topic came up, it was a miracle. We've considered dubbing our trip the Bush Apology Tour or the Bush Attempt An Explanation Tour depending on where your political predispositions lie.
--Chris and Randy

Stay tuned for more installments from our international correspondents.


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