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Superbrands case studies: Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Originally published in Business Superbrands 2002. The book reviews the UK’s strongest Business-Business brands as judged by the independent Business Superbrands Council.

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Case study provided by the Superbrands organisation. Visit Superbrands at www.superbrands.org

Visit the Citigate Dewe Rogerson website at www.citigatedewerogerson.com

Market

The public relations industry has grown exponentially. Many factors have contributed to this, and the growth of PR in part also reflects a somewhat belated historic recognition by businesses of its importance. What might once have been regarded as a poor relation of the communications world, however, is now increasingly central.

Key drivers of this change are the recognition not just that PR can be the most cost-effective of communication techniques, but that it has the unique capability of generating third party endorsement and what is often described as ‘free’ editorial. Looking at the growth of PR agency fees and companies’ internal PR functions rapidly shows that the word ‘free’ is being used loosely. The volume of PR spend, however, is a further clear endorsement by companies of its value.

Public relations itself is a term used loosely. Most commonly, it brings to mind media relations. Increasingly, though, the best practitioners understand that it embraces a wide range of techniques, is concerned with all an organisation’s or a product’s audiences, is closely allied to investor relations and at heart is strategic. Always it has to do with fostering that fragile and most important quality – trust.

In a number of situations, PR also has that rare hallmark of being unequivocally essential. Issues can make or break companies and products.The difference between correct and incorrect understanding of a company’s strategy and potential, of the purpose and impact of a company’s strategic moves, can be measured in hundreds of millions, and sometimes billions of pounds. So can the value of a company’s reputation and the trust that customers, investors, regulators, employees, trading partners and others vest in a company and its products.

Big crises tend to live in peoples’ minds – demonstrating also how long an image can last after the reality. They can change companies’ fortunes and change the landscape of a marketplace. Examples include: Perrier and its contaminated source; Gerald Ratner’s comments on sandwiches and jewellery; the demise of Marks & Spencer; Marconi and Railtrack. The point is not that PR can substitute for poor management, for factors beyond management control or for human error. The point is how many other crises never came to our attention; how well an organisation was seen to handle a crisis when it did become public; whether the bond of trust was retained.

The best PR agencies know this. It is why their counsel is sought in the boardroom as well as in the marketing and communications departments. It is the fundamental reason why Citigate Dewe Rogerson is now a Business Superbrand. Client willingness to explore and invest in PR is illustrated by the fact that the 150 biggest agencies in the UK attracted a combined income of £554 million in 2000 (Source: Marketing magazine). 2000 was another year of sustained growth for the UK PR industry, which has been growing at a rate of 15-20% for some years.

Broadly speaking, the PR industry is divided into specialities, meeting the needs of different business sectors. Among the largest sectors are consumer, technology, financial and public affairs. Crisis PR can cut across these categories, and PR can focus just as much on internal as external audiences. Some of the smaller agencies focus on just one of these areas, while many of the larger groups are multi-disciplinary, and are divided into a number of internal ‘practices’. The largest PR groups now offer the full spectrum of PR services.

In common with other areas of the marketing communications industry, the PR sector is seeing much merger and acquisition activity as agencies pursue the synergies of scale, breadth of expertise and geographic cover. The major communications groups, such as Incepta, WPP and Interpublic, have invested heavily and have built up international PR networks. Global reach meets the needs of multinational clients and of marketplaces, such as finance, which know no borders.

Achievements

Citigate Dewe Rogerson acts as part of the Incepta Group for 51% of the FTSE 100, 26% of the Fortune 500, 37% of the Euro Top 300 and 67% of the DAX 30 companies. Since 2000, the company has added more than 50 corporations to its client list, which in the UK includes Energis, Hewlett-Packard, Granada, Legal & General, National Grid, Carphone Warehouse, Orange and Punch.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson works with its clients on many major, international projects and programmes. It has an unparalleled flotation marketing track record, having advised on over 200 offerings in 37 countries and helped to raise over half the equity raised in the world since1988. It has also worked on more than 250 mergers and acquisitions around the world since January 2000. Its expertise and experience ensures Citigate Dewe Rogerson is at the forefront of financial and business communications. It is also at the forefront of harnessing computer based systems and new media to communications.

Since 1998, Citigate Dewe Rogerson has built its reputation as the leading international financial marketing and communications group.

Its network of offices now reaches across the UK and continental Europe, the US and the Far East. The agency has spent time on coordination and systems infrastructure, enabling regional and global programme management.

History

Citigate Dewe Rogerson is the fusion of two businesses, with different origins, operating in the same sector. It is also an example of a merger that has worked well – perhaps not unhelpful when a significant part of the agency’s business can be advising its own clients on mergers and acquisitions.

Dewe Rogerson was founded in 1969 and can claim to be the creator of modern financial and corporate PR. It pursued an organic growth strategy, coming to the fore in the 1980s when it handled 90% by value of the UK government’s privatisation programme as well as an impressive share of that decade’s hostile mergers and acquisitions. From the mid 1980s Dewe Rogerson began building its international presence, with offices in New York in 1985, Tokyo in 1987 and Hong Kong in 1994. In the late 1980s, Dewe Rogerson also exported its expertise, especially in the area of privatisation, which it recognized early as a global trend, driven by political and economic policy, deregulation and the needs of companies to grow and to secure finance beyond their national boundaries. This international activity extended Dewe Rogerson’s brand abroad and built a network of relationships across Europe and elsewhere. It also led to the creation of joint ventures in key markets including Germany where SEA Dewe Rogerson was formed in 1996 – in 1999 becoming a wholly owned part of the Group.

Citigate Communications was established in 1988 to focus on much the same territory as Dewe Rogerson and rapidly built an impressive client list. In 1997 its parent company, Citigate Communications Group reversed into a quoted public company, Incepta Group, which from the outset saw selective acquisition as a means of accelerating the growth of its service range an international presence, to acquire critical mass and leverage skill sets.

The two businesses were complementary and came together in October 1998 to create Citigate Dewe Rogerson.

Product

Citigate Dewe Rogerson is a multi-disciplinary agency, specialising in financial, corporate and technology communications.

Core areas of its work include consultancy; devising and executing programmes of communication to investors and those who influence investors’ decisions – both institutional and retail; and capital market activities, including mergers and acquisitions, demergers and divestments, primary and secondary equity offerings. Its skills include media relations investor relations, shareholder identification, market research, crisis management, corporate brand and product and employee communications. Skill in these areas has made Citigate Dewe Rogerson a key player in many areas of financial, corporate and B2B work.

Its mergers and acquisitions expertise has been sought by clients which include Orange, Olivetti, BNP Paribas, AMEC, Punch and National Grid. Its skill in marketing and handling share offers has been sought by Deutsche Post, Freeserve, Energis, Carphone Warehouse and lastminute.com.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson is structured into six main specialist units – Financial PR; Investor Relations; Corporate; Research;Technology; and Public Affairs.

Recent Developments

Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s reputation stems from the quality of its advice, execution and innovation in a wide range of projects and campaigns.The successful bid by Punch Taverns for the Allied Domecq pub estate, for example, achieved an acquisition which commentators and city audiences had initially thought impossible. The most recent Deutsche Telekom share offer introduced the first global retail offer and attracted over three million investors from eighteen countries.

Granada Group’s flotation of Granada Media, raising £1.5 billion, managing complex issues in volatile markets and successfully countering a hostile campaign, won Citigate Dewe Rogerson another PR Week financial campaign award. Sulzer was successfully defended against a hostile bid which set precedents in Switzerland. Orange was advised through successive acquisitions by Mannesmann,Vodafone and France Telecom, leading to the largest corporate share offer ever mounted in Europe and in very difficult market conditions.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson, however, does not focus just on high profile campaigns but very much also upon the effectiveness of its continuing communications work for companies and products small as well as large.

The last year has seen Citigate Dewe Rogerson widen and deepen both its network and PR offering. In the latter respect, its internet-based work is changing the way companies can communicate with investor and media audiences.

Promotion

Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s primary promotion is by word-of-mouth. Practically all its business originates this way, and the agency is active in networking and cultivating connections. The company believes that part of its success is that it avoids high profile self-promotion and is careful not to have its own name too often in print. The agency also maintains that its business is promoting its clients, not itself, and there can be an uneasy feeling about an agency that gets into the headlines when its work fundamentally requires confidentiality and trust.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson does spend time on its internal communications with ‘Horizon’ as its regular internal paper and with a set of internal forums planning and coordinating service development and resource development.

In addition, the Group undertakes selective sponsorship – for example the primary Investor Relations conference which was held in London in November 2001.

Brand Values

Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s belief is that communications work when all audiences hear the same message from all sources. It seeks to practise what it preaches and acknowledges that always attaining this goal is likely to remain an eternal ambition. Behind its belief, Citigate Dewe Rogerson has a simple set of values: you can never know enough and you can never be good enough; working hard is necessary, working smart is essential; information is the best persuader; and never lose sight of the truth. It also adds that the truth can be difficult enough to work out.

Things you didn’t Know

Citigate Dewe Rogerson has extensive experience working with clients in the sports and leisure sectors. These include football clubs Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Arsenal and Barcelona.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson has been responsible for the marketing of international IPO’s which raised over US$60 billion in 2000.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson has overseas offices in New York, Hong Kong, Dusseldorf, Milan, São Paulo, Mumbai and Tokyo.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s broadcasting company, Citigate Broadcast, offers purpose-built TV studios within its London premises – the only independent TV centre in the centre of London’s financial district.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson’s offices are located on the original site of Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam).

ã 2002 Superbrands Ltd

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