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The State of Public Relations in Istanbul
The changing times of Turkish economics and marketing tactics.
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 by Feray Alpay
Promedia Public Relations Company

Feray AlpayWhile the whole world is affected by the economic crisis, what are the developments within the Turkish PR sector in recent years? 

Companies in Turkey appreciated the magic of public relations in recent years, and began transferring a part of their advertising budgets to public relations activities.

Turkish economy achieved the growth of 9.9% in the year 2005. Between the years 2002-2006 it grew by 7.1% which displays a performance far beyond the world average.

In the year 2006 Turkish economy reached to 59th place, jumping 12 ranks in Global Competition Index compared to the year 2005. It was included in the biggest 21 economy of the world with its volume of 400 billion dollars. However, estimated to be 60 billion dollars in the world, turnover of public relation sector is below 100 million dollars. Although it achieved a growth of 15% in average during 2000's, turnover of public relations sector in Turkey being so low is due to fact that importance of public relations is underestimated by the Turkish companies.

Programmed itself to grow on efficiency and higher competition, Turkish industry and service sector invest increasingly in communication activities, primarily in advertising. As a natural result of this PR sector displays an uninterrupted growth at least in terms of turnover for the last 5 years. In the survey conducted by ICCO covering 22 countries including Turkey, Turkey became the country with the highest sectoral income increase compared to the previous year. Turkish public relations sector displayed an increase of 27% compared to the year 2007. It is estimated that such increase will continue in the year 2008 as well.

After 2001 financial crisis in Turkey, thousands of media employees were discharged. In this period many journalists shifted to PR sector, established their own companies, and began to obtain shares from the cake. Therefore, the fact that demand for and supply of public relations services has been increasing in Turkey within the last five years, led to competition being focused highly on price parameter. While the Public Relations sector is growing, with the increase in number of players, profits decreased. Emergence of public relation companies of quality to pioneer institutionalization of public relations sector in Turkey became more difficult.

Despite the large scale privatizations and foreign companies' investments in Turkey, 99% of economic activities are still carried out by SME's which preserve their quality of family business. Therefore, companies in public relations field are mainly foreign companies and holdings. Their public relations activities are seen especially in the sectors of pharmaceutics, personal care, food, finance, information, recreation and automotive.

Situation of PR agencies providing public relations service in Turkey conforms to this picture. According to TUHD-DA survey, 44% PR agencies create a turnover over 500 thousand dollars. Only 25% of the agencies can obtain consultancy income over 500 thousand dollars. 57% of the agencies have clients less than 10, and they employ 16 people in average. Top three communication services they provide are media relations, corporate social responsibility works, public relation for products and brands. Indeed fields of service in which demand is considered to be increased are respectively media relations (94%), activity management (74%), corporate social responsibility works (69%) and product and brand public relations (66%).  In this scene rate of firms of which communication consultancy income actually exceed USD 1,000,000 is only 14%.

These figures explain us that "PR sector in Turkey obtain their income mainly from operational PR services they provide to their clients. Instead of corporate communication consultancy such as reputation management, perception management, crisis management, they concentrate on company and product publicity."

This case is due to demand from clients receiving public relations service in Turkey. Clients place media relations (96.3%) and activity management (92.6%) in the first two ranks of service they receive, and these are followed respectively by corporate internal communication (92.6%) which is mainly provided by the companies' own corporate communication departments and communication of products and brands (92.5%).

In short, in Turkey it is possible to mention a PR sector led by the client demands. 


Feray Alpay is a public relations and corporate communications specialist
 in Turkey. He has been working as General Manager at 
Promedia Public Relations Co. since 1992. 
For further information on public relations in Turkey visit 
www.promedia.com.tr





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