Kathy Christodoulou, MD Action Global Communications:

Combining International And Local Networks

Over more than two decades, being the first international PR firm in Serbia, Action Global Communications has built a unique, far-reaching communications network, with its own offices in over 40 countries across three continents

The strong, local teams of Action Global Communications experts offer specific communications solutions with localised strategies that consider research and authentic insights from each market.

In the past 45 years, Action Global Communications has expanded its operations to over 40 countries in Eastern Europe, the CIS, the Middle East and Africa. Given the cultural diversity across these markets, how do you achieve consistency?
Our approach was to go into emerging markets before anyone else and, in fact, this was the case in Serbia, where we began operations in 1996 – as one of the first international PR firms in the country.

We help make our clients’ stories resonate by creating meaningful, lasting connections with diverse stakeholder groups in places where change is constantly impacting reputations and trust. Our award-winning structure combines agencies in each country that are led by local PR experts with a deep understanding of the local language, culture, politics and key communications channels, as well as our international client hub teams.

Strong, local teams mean we can offer clients market specific communications solutions with localised strategies that consider research and authentic insights from each market. For clients who need communications support on multiple markets, we set up our expert hub teams in Cyprus, Russia and Dubai over 17 years ago, in order to coordinate and manage the work and act as a single point of contact for our clients.

Our knowledge of each market is a crucial part of our philosophy. At the network level, our local focus is supported by the latest tools and best practice in traditional, digital and direct communications. In addition, we facilitate frequent interaction and the free exchange of ideas between our offices, as similar ideas often resonate well in seemingly different places. We therefore achieve strong and measurable results across our network by considering both aspects.

The revolution in communication technologies is undoubtedly transforming how we live and work, and the effects of this are significant in the markets where Action is present

Communication technologies are growing fast globally. How does AGC incorporate new technologies into its offer?The revolution in communication technologies is undoubtedly transforming how we live and work, and the effects of this are significant in the markets where Action is present. That is why we have been one of the front runners in adapting our client communications by providing integrated solutions with a strong digital element. Online, mobile and social networks are not just ‘other channels’ to target, but extensions of existing media strategies which require an integrated approach. Recognising this as a game changer for brands looking to build stronger connections with their consumers and stakeholders, our specialised arm, Action Digital, is led by our experienced central teams offering strategic consultation and oversight of our local digital teams on each market. Therefore, our clients benefit from localised campaigns crafted with an international strategic approach.

What services are most in demand in the Balkans?
There is high demand in the region for an integrated offer of a wide range of services, incorporating digital and face-to-face communications (through events), on top of traditional PR solutions like media relations.

Media relations traditionally form the basis of our activity when we are building the corporate reputation of many businesses, such as Etihad Airways, Saxo Bank, OMV and Boehringer Ingelheim, to name just a few of our clients in Serbia. We are proud of the strong relationships we have forged with journalists across our markets. Apart from our renowned strengths in corporate communications, our clients favour us for our event management support, as well as our crisis and issues management. We have seen increased interest in integrating digital services, internal communications and CSR programmes, as core elements of the overall communications strategy.