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Focus on Poland

VitalStatistics

Population: 38,183,000
Monetary unit: zloty
Capital city: Warsaw
Major languages: Polish
Major religions: Roman Catholic 88.6%; other Catholic 0.1%; Polish Orthodox 1.3%; Protestant 0.4%; Jehovah’s Witness 0.3%; other (mostly nonreligious) 9.3%.
Ethnic composition: Polish 90.0%; Ukrainian 4.0%; German 4.0%; Belarusian 0.5%; Kashubian 0.4%; other 1.1%
Age breakdown: under 15, 15.2%; 15–29, 23.4%; 30–44, 20.7%; 45–59, 22.1%; 60–74, 12.4%; 75–84, 5.0%; 85 and over, 1.2%.
Life expectancy: male 71.5 years; female 80.2 years
Education: Percentage of population age 25 and over having: no formal schooling 0.3%; incomplete primary education 1.1%; complete primary 19.7%; incomplete/complete secondary 58.2%; higher vocational 3.2%; university 17.5%. Literacy (2008): 99.5%.
Urban/Rural split: urban 61.0%; rural 39.0%.
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Introduction

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the Polish economy has grown rapidly. It was ranked as Europe's top potential destination for foreign direct investment in a 2010 Ernst & Young European Attractiveness Survey, and the IMF forecasts that the country's economy will grow 3.8% in 2011 and 3% in 2012, well above the average European Union forecasts of 1.7% in 2011 and 0.6% in 2012.

The PR industry has fared particularly well. Krzysztof Kouyoumdjian, corporate communication manager at Philips Poland, says: “The 1990s saw rapid growth in the PR agency market, the 2000s saw Polish companies and multinationals build in-house teams, and the result in 2012 is a mature and stable PR market.”

More recently, the industry has begun to move beyond basic media relations to develop more sophisticated practices such as public affairs, issue management and professional message development, as well as wholeheartedly embracing the social media revolution.
 
The figures are impressive: according to the 2011 ICCO World Report, the Polish PR market is worth 490 million PLN, an all-time high, and it is growing by 10% a year. “Certainly Poland's PR potential has been noticed abroad,” concludes Michal Aleksandowicz, PR manager at radio group Eurozet. “This was highlighted by the big event of 2011, the acquisition by Publicis of Poland's largest independent PR agency, Ciszewski.”

Media

In print media, the key targets for corporate and business news are four daily newspapers - Rzeczpospolita, Parkiet, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, and Puls Biznesu -  and four economic magazines - monthlies Forbes, Home & Market, and Businessman.pl, as well as bi-weekly Bloomberg Businessweek.

Occasionally, corporate news is covered by one of the four most important general-type weeklies: Uwazam Rze, Polityka, Newsweek, and Wprost. Gazeta Wyborcza is the most influential newspaper but rarely covers business news. TVN CNBC is the

most important business television channel, but the publicly-owned TVP and privately-ownedPolsat stations also occasionally cover business issues. Business is rarely covered on Polish radio, with infrequent mentions on TOK FM and Radio PiN.

Regina Israel, head of corporate communications at hard disk drive manufacturer Seagate Technology has been working in PR in Poland for 15 years, and she believes that personal relationships with journalists are particularly important in this market. She says: “We find that one-to-one briefings, editorial tours and our

quarterly social all make a huge difference to the coverage we achieve.”

However, she also points out that social media is increasingly important. “We’ve just started using Facebook and Twitter,” she says. “We’re finding that there is a much quicker take-up in Poland than in other markets. To a large extent this reflects the enthusiasm of Polish people for these new communication channels.”

Major Brands

Industry insiders mention FMCG multinationals such as SAB Miller, Coca-Cola, Lipton, Danone, and the telco and IT industries are well developed, with brands like Sony, Nokia, Google, Samsung, Orange, Play and Microsoft maintaining a strong presence.

However, several indigenous Polish brands have also been gaining good coverage in recent months. These include bank PKO BP, insurer PZ, ,

oil and petrol company PKN Orlensweetmaker Wedel, juice company Hortex, brewery Zywiec, and seasoning producer Winiary.

A notable recent development is the increased enthusiasm of the public sector for PR. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hired an agency in 2011 to provide strategic communications and public affairs support around Poland’s EU Presidency.

Agencies

According to the latest Press magazine ranking the top five agencies are Partner of Promotion, Euro RSCG Sensors, Profile, Hill & Knowlton Poland, and Multi Communications. Solski Burson-Marsteller, East Side Consulting, Lewis PR and of course Ciszewski MSL are also important players. There are though many smaller agencies to choose from.

Indeed, Anna Mikosz, PR Manager at GASPOL/POLAND, believes that PR buyers in Poland are spoilt for choice. She says: “Here we have large network agencies such as Fleishmann-Hillard, OnBoard PR, Compress, Hill and Knowlton, and Weber Shandwick, as well as many small agencies usually founded by former journalists or experienced corporate strategists.”

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