When World War II ended, Iceland was one of the poorest and least developed economies in Europe. It joined the European Economic Area in 1994, liberalised its economy, and by 2007 had transformed its fortunes, becoming one of the richest economies worldwide in per capita terms. Then in November 2007 it all came crashing down in spectacular fashion with the collapse of the financial services sector and humiliating bailouts from the IMF and several other European countries.
Today the Icelandic economy has recovered to some extent, but the PR industry remains somewhat limited. Egill Jóhannsson is the CEO of Brimborg, which imports Ford, Volvo, Mazda and Citroën cars to the country and also owns Thrifty and Dollar car rental licenses. He says: “There are some signs that the PR market is developing but for the most part it is still former journalists tapping up existing contacts to get stories placed.”
He adds: “This is probably due to the fact that we are a small country with just 320,000 inhabitants, so everyone in business and the media tend to know each other. On the positive side this makes our PR industry flexible, but it also means that friendship can be more important than professionalism.”