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Client views: Affiliates vs. Multinationals
What do large international companies do when they need public relations help overseas? What do they view as the pros and cons of using major multinational firms, the Shandwick group, or affiliated networks of independent firms? Four clients recently interviewed expressed a range of opinions.
Bruce Berger, vice president of public relations, Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, Michigan; formerly director, worldwide public relations for Upjohn for 14 years.
During his tenure at Upjohn, Berger helped the company pull together its own "network" of about 25 foreign public relations firms. Interviewing and researching some 300 candidates took considerable time and effort, but resulted in a group of small to mid-sized firms that "were less expensive and seemed to work harder" for Upjohn than had the large multinationals, Berger says. "The idea is to try to build a relationship with a foreign firm," he says. "You must view the firm as an extension of your …