Turkey Heads Upwards

13 years, 4 months ago


The PR sector in Turkey is booming. Sconaid McGeachin is optimistic about business prospects in a market where the demand for PR services is evolving fast.

Record economic growth in Turkey, 9.9% according to the OECD in 2005, is having a dramatic effect on the development of the public relations industry in the country. The significant progress Turkey has made in overall economic and political modernisation combined with the vision of entering the European Union have opened new horizons and major opportunities in the fields of communications and marketing.

Following growth of 20% on 2005 the PR sector is predicted to grow by a staggering 60% in 2006. It is apparent that companies on the Turkish market have truly begun to understand the need for and the importance of a clear PR strategy as part of their overall businesses development.

Until recently, the local perception of PR activities has been purely in terms of media relations. This has now changed as many leading companies in the market have launched major investments into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects, CEO and corporate reputation management programs as part of wider strategic communication plans. The result has been an awareness of the wider public relations activity portfolio available.

Private sector application of PR activities has developed more rapidly than in the public sector. Recently however the Turkish public sector has understood the necessity of communicating with wider public. In particular, driven by EU accession process, public institutions have started to apply PR solutions to communicate their messages to their target audiences.

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) listed in its ‘2005 World Report’ the industries which made the greatest use and development of PR tools. Globally this was the IT, telecommunications, health and biotechnology sectors In Turkey it was the health, IT, construction, telecommunications and retail industries. The report also points out that in Turkey the second most demanded service has been crisis communications, while the worldwide trends put it further down the list.

Successful Crisis PR

The effectiveness of Turkish crisis PR was recently illustrated with the highly successful campaigns to restore public confidence in the country’s poultry industry following the bird flu scare. Leading celebrities and journalists, like Uður Dündar, leant their support to the campaigns resulting in a swift end to the crisis.

International public relations companies aware of the key developments taking place in Turkey and the PR sector have also helped to drive the growth of the communication sector. The growing volume of FDI in the Turkish economy has resulted in a significant rise in the number of trans-national communication companies competing in the Turkish marketplace.

Such development has had a very positive impact as competition increases and the quality of services provided improves. Thanks to these dynamic changes in the market, clients are now able to choose from many high-quality PR companies and are able to feel more confident when entrusting their companies’ communication strategies to true PR experts.

Even with increased competition, most PR agencies remain small or medium sized businesses and it is very rare to find any business with more than 30 or 40 employees. Istanbul, as the country’s economic powerhouse, remains the most important location for PR activities with most agencies being based exclusively there.

Despite the growing sophistication of the market, media relations continue to top the list of most demanded services in Turkey. The success of Turkish PR agencies is usually measured by the coverage numbers, but PR professionals expect that the PR sector will soon be asked to offer a much wider range of services to their clients. The reason for this is the degradation of media as sources of trustworthy information. Turkish readers are becoming increasingly sceptical of the ‘ad-like’ articles in the country’s media.

Encouraging Research Findings

Institutions such as the Public Relations Consultancies Inc. of Turkey (PRCI) or the Turkish Public Relations Association (TUHID) try to improve the quality of the PR services provided by conducting various research to raise the overall industry awareness. One of these surveys of business leaders, media and PR representatives, conducted by the PRCI, discovered that public relations is considered as the most efficient sub-sector for satisfying communication needs by both customers and PR companies.

The results also showed that in Turkey, the business world believes that corporate communications consultancy, media relations, research and measurement will be the most important services in the following couple of years.

Corresponding to the global trend, online communications and social responsibility activities will continue to gain more importance. A striking result of the survey is that "strategic communications consultancy" and "public relations" are considered as two different professional areas and Turkish PR companies don’t have a common opinion on this issue.

Finally, the most important message for the PR industry is that all the three groups participating in the research agree that "corporate communications" is crucial for companies to achieve their business objectives, and hence most of the companies who currently do not cooperate with a PR agency plan to hire one in the near future. That’s hopefully good news for all of us!

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The Author

Sconaid McGeachin

Sconaid McGeachin, Regional Director, Mmd Corporate, Public Affairs & Public Relations Consultants. Mmd is the leading corporate, public affairs and public relations consultancy across Central Eastern Europe, South East Europe and Russia and CIS. An organically developed network, present in the region since 1993, it supports clients in 18 countries across the region from fully-owned and managed offices in Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey as well as Ukraine.

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