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A Focus On... Czech Republic

VitalStatistics

Population: 10,551,000.
Monetary unit: koruna (Kc)
Capital city: Prague
Major languages: Czech
Major religions: atheist c. 39%; Roman Catholic c. 33%; Protestant (mostly Lutheran) c. 3%; independent Catholic (Hussite Church of the Czech Republic) c. 1%; Muslim 0.1%; Jewish, negligible; nonreligious/other c. 24%
Ethnic composition: Czech 90.4%; Moravian 3.7%; Slovak 1.9%; Polish 0.5%; German 0.4%; Silesian 0.1%; Rom (Gypsy) 0.1%; other 2.9%.
Age breakdown: under 15, 14.4%; 15–29, 19.2%; 30–44, 23.6%; 45–59, 20.2%; 60–74, 15.9%; 75–84, 5.2%; 85 and over, 1.5%
Life expectancy: male 74.2 years; female 80.1 years
Education: Percentage of population age 25–64 having: no formal schooling to lower secondary education 9%; upper secondary 76%; higher 14%; unknown 1%
Urban/Rural split: urban 73.5%; rural 26.5%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Almost 80% of Czech GDP comes from exports, primarily of cars and heavy industrial products. While this has to a large extent protected the country from the worst of the global economic downturn, it has also for some time acted as a brake on the PR industry.

“Few senior executives in these industries see value in building reputation among overseas customers,” explains Cristina Muntean, president of the Czech PR Klub, a not-for-profit association of communications professionals. “We saw this vividly in spring 2011 when a survey by HSBC among Czech exporters revealed that only 18% have a pro-active communication strategy for foreign markets.”

Yet, she goes on to point out that this attitude is changing and that an emerging service sector is embracing PR more enthusiastically.  Indeed,

since the mid-1990s the Czech Republic has been the regional home to global PR groups including Burson-Marsteller, Fleishman-Hillard, Hill + Knowlton Strategies, Edelman, Ogilvy and Ketchum Pleon.

Ludka Raimondova, corporate communication & marketing manager at Czech Credit Bureau, believes this has helped the industry mature more rapidly than it has in the other Central European markets of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. “It means that we have global professional knowledge combined with deep local mastery and experience,” he says. “Our recent campaign ‘Dekujeme, odchazim'”, which translates as ‘Thank You, We´re Leaving' was a good example of this. It won both the local award, Ceska cena PR, and a well-known global award.”

Media

“The Czech media market is small and mostly driven by personal relations,” says Muntean at PR Klub “Prague is something of a media village where everyone who makes a difference knows everyone else, often personally. If you want to be a good PR advisor, it's enough to develop close relations with 20 to 30 key media reps and you can deliver an outstanding service to your clients.”

In terms of the print media, the main dailies are Hospodárské noviny, E15, Mlada fronta Dnes, and

Lidove noviny, the main weeklies are Tyden, Ekonom, Euro, Profit, Respekt, Instinkt and Forbes is the only monthly of note. The Prague Post is the main English language title.

In terms of broadcast, Czech TV, CzechTV24, TV Nova, Prima TV, TV Barrandov, Czech Radio, Frenkvence 1, and Evropa FM are the ones on most PRs’ target lists.

The emphasis is still on traditional media, but

Juraj Kralik, external relations manager at Procter & Gamble Czech Republic, points out that digital channels are fast gaining ground. Furthermore, many P&G brands are looking beyond media to sponsorship opportunities. “Olympic partnership is creating tons of opportunities, he says.

“Gillette, Pantene and Pampers have all been very active in recent months.” 

Major Brands

The banking and finance sector is growing rapidly and many of its brands, such as CSOB, UniCredit Bank, Generalli, GE Money Bank, and Ceska sporitelna, lead the way on PR.  In the pharmaceutical sector, multinationals GSK and Apotex perform well alongside local firm Zentiva.

Multinationals such as P&G, Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, Coca Cola, Apple, L’Oreal, Vodafone, O2, T-Mobile, Nokia, Canon and Tesco are well represented, but there are some internationally recognised Czech brands such as Skoda Auto, and beer brands Staropramen and Pilzner Urquell.

Agencies

The national PR association APRA represents 19 agencies which Radek Maršík, vice-chairman believes constitute around two-thirds of the industry's total turnover. He says: “There is no official data about the size of the Czech PR market, mainly because international PR firms are not allowed to disclose local results, but I would estimate that PR agency fees total 40-50 million USD.”

Most are generalist agencies, but according to Petr Plocek, press spokesman at UniCredit Bank, there has been increasing specialisation in recent years. He says: “A major development is that businesses are now looking for specialists with a deep knowledge of their industry rather than multifunctional experts on everything from FMCG to banking and insurance.”

According to APRA, the largest agency by revenue and number of staff is Edelman affiliate AMI Communications, followed by Bison & Rose. Other important players include Fleishman-Hillard, Grayling, Best Communications, Ewing PR, PR Konektor and Native PR.

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