Portugal may be engulfed in a serious economic crisis, with a 78 million euro bailout, severe government spending cuts, sharp tax increases, and 24-hour general strikes, but those leading its PR industry report that this is having little adverse effect on them. In fact many even argue that tighter budgets are encouraging corporates to look to PR as a cost-effective alternative to other forms of marketing.
“PR is becoming more and more important to us,” says Sandro Cardoso, marketing manager at food manufacturer Danone Portugal. “Just a year ago we created our Consumer Connection department which manages the paid, owned and earned media. We held a pitch and chose a new PR agency, and we are now busy running a national PR campaign called ‘Marathon against Cholesterol' to endorse Danacol yoghurt. It is basically a bus that is visiting several cities in Portugal offering check-ups to local people.”
Industry experts report that clients are asking for a wider range of more complex services from agencies, such as public affairs, stakeholder mapping and engagement, as well as digital and social.
What is more, Portugal is increasingly viewed by multinational corporations as a bridge country, able to link two different regional markets: Brazil and the emerging Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Angola and Mozambique. This has to an extent insulated Portuguese PR companies from the European economic crisis.