In January FH Johannesburg was probably as nervous as the rest of the business world about the short and medium term outlook. There was only one positive according to FH global CEO Dave Senay, “In 2008 we THOUGHT the recession was going to be bad but now as 2009 starts, we KNOW its going to be bad.”
However, the resilient South African team have been able (so far) to ‘ride the storm’.
To date we have not seen significant budget cut-backs and our pipeline looks solid, however certain multinational clients are under extreme international pressure to derive as much value as possible from all suppliers.
Even our financial services clients are standing strong, in a global banking crisis where many global giants have lost upwards of 50% of their value or even been nationalised.
I believe it is in times like now that the true value of a robust global network, like Fleishman-Hillard is evident. Our 85 offices globally have pulled together under one strategy of seeing this crisis through and returning to normality. Even at a regional level (UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa) our network has never been stronger, the spirit of collaboration is strong, offices are assisting clients across many regions implementing best practices and ideas to best serve our clients.
As FH Joburg we have continued to invest in best in industry training. In the three very short months of 2009, four Account Directors have attended management training at the FH Management Academy in London, the Nokia team-lead has attended Nokia regional PR meetings in Dubai, our Etihad Airlines relationship manager has attended regional PR conferences in Abu Dhabi and our Digital team lead conducted regional training in Nairobi.
We believe that in these tougher times, we must learn how to better serve clients with more impactful communications strategies that speak directly to their business strategy providing greater value for all.
Hopefully these tougher times will pass quickly and we will all soon be telling the tale.