November 14, 2019
Anniversaries are great occasions for
reflection and at Action Global Communications this takes us back 30 years to
when we took the step to expand beyond our HQ base in Cyprus and opened our
first overseas office in Athens, Greece.
This week, we brought together local
celebrities, key influencers and clients to celebrate a landmark event in the
company’s history – 30 years of successful local operations in Greece.
The occasion represents one of the most
pivotal moments in the history of the Action Global Communications network.
After the initial establishment of the agency in Cyprus in 1971, Tony
Christodoulou was inspired by the needs of clients Visit Britain and British
Airways to branch out to the Greek market by opening an office in Athens in
1989. The expansion was into a country which spoke the same language and shared
some cultural heritage, but in most other ways, that’s where the similarities
What quickly became apparent was the need
to ensure the operation was staffed by highly skilled, local operatives fully
versed in their country’s specific political nuances, cultural sensitivities as
well as consumer and media preferences. Into this mix we combined the best
international standards and practices – an ingredient which in many cases put us
ahead of the competition.
There were lessons learnt and taken on
board. As the Athens office thrived, so did Action’s confidence in its ability
to expand. Thirty years on, those lessons have led to a powerful network
spanning 40 countries across two continents including operations in some of the
most challenging political and culturally sensitive landscapes on the planet.
Greece supplied crucial lessons, not least
on how to survive in a market battling against detrimental economic conditions
with all the social challenges that brings. As major name players and networks
moved out of the country, Action stayed firm and forged ever closer client,
stakeholder and media relationships sending a clear message – we’re with you in
the good times, and the not so good.
Maintaining a strong communications agency
in Greece for over 30 years has taught us a lot about managing agencies in
international markets. Some learning applies to all markets, like investing in
local skills and knowledge, but equally important is ensuring very regular
contact with on-the-ground teams so they always feel part of a multi-national
network. Instilling a feeling of unity with other Action offices gave our Greek
team a sense of bigger purpose.
In Greece we particularly learnt the
importance of adapting to changing needs and budgets. Over the years, our
Greece business has gone from utilising large budgets for grand events and
visual campaigns to really having to prove value for communications spend as
the country’s economic struggles challenged companies’ bottom lines. As budgets
shrunk, Action offered services that delivered ROI for every Euro spent, while
maintaining and leveraging its incredibly strong media relations to provide
effective corporate communications services. In a country where emotional
communication is a key driver, Action has strengthened its influencer
management and now offers a full suite of digital communications services.
The valuable experience gained during this
period set Action Greece on the path of becoming the go-to agency in tourism
and travel PR alongside a highly diversified client portfolio with clients in
IT, finance healthcare.
The network’s “in it together” relationship
approach has reaped dividends. In Greece, the average client contract is around
three years, with client surveys revealing a deep appreciation for our service
levels and meaningful relationships. This gives meaning to our commitment to
constantly evolve with changing circumstances and times.
The evolution, borne out of the success of
our first expansionary step, continues today. Action now thrives through
dedicated international public affairs, corporate communications and digital
and influence marketing ensuring it provides a fully integrated service fit for
21st century communications in an era of constant change.