beyond borders: a closer look at our international operations with Chris Christodoulou, CEO
In a spare room of their Nicosia family home in 1971, shortly after establishing a partnership with BOAC (later British Airways), Tony Christodoulou founded Action Global Communications which would later grow into an internationally renowned independent strategic communication and marketing network.
In an exclusive interview by InBusiness News, Chris Christodoulou, CEO of Action Global Communications talks about the company’s successful international operations and future plans.
“After being asked to support British Airways in Greece as well, my father used the opening of Action’s Athens office in 1989 as a steppingstone to launch international operations,” explained Chris Christodoulou, CEO of Action Global Communications.
In the following decade, recognising the growing demand for providing public relations services in various markets, Action gradually expanded its presence throughout the Middle East, establishing a regional office in Dubai in 1994. Over the next years, strategic expansions followed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, as well as in Central Asia. Today, Action Global Communications operates offices in seven countries, with the upcoming opening in Saudi Arabia being a significant milestone for its continuous growth.
Since Tony Christodoulou’s ambitious beginnings, the guiding principle for the company has been to provide strategic communications services using local expertise in combination with global capabilities, constituting one of Action’s main competitive advantages.
local expertise with global capabilities
This compass has been pivotal to the company’s business development strategy, enabling Action to tailor its full spectrum of communication and marketing service offerings to each market’s distinctive needs and preferences. Part of Action’s strategic approach was the continuous exploration of emerging markets, especially those where communication was in its early stages.
“Instead of investing in already flourishing markets, in most cases, we sought untapped and underserved regions where we could effectively facilitate the growth of brands and organizations by forging connections with local audiences,” said Christodoulou.
Throughout Action’s five-decade-long history, the approach to each region was always different. For example, in the countries of the Middle East, it was considered advantageous at the time to bring expertise from abroad, while in Eastern Europe, the opposite was true. Nevertheless, the company managed to adapt and integrate into the culture of each country and market, despite different cultural and regulatory frameworks. The key, then as now, remains the company’s continuous approach to adaptation.
For example, creating local teams with multidimensional knowledge in regions like the Middle East proved decisive. Through the proactive development of tailored processes, Action has effectively addressed challenges arising from competition, tax structures, and regulations. Additionally, entering certain markets as a newcomer can be an additional obstacle. However, Action’s steadfast commitment to unparalleled quality proved to be a crucial aspect in overcoming this challenge.
agility, adaptation, Action
Then came geopolitical developments. As a company with offices in both Ukraine and Russia, Action was directly affected by the war, yet the agency decided not to suspend its activities in Ukraine and the wider CIS region.
“Despite the challenges, Action remained committed to Ukraine and for the past two years has maintained its five-member team in Kyiv, supporting local and international clients,” explained Christodoulou.
Nevertheless, the company’s focus has shifted from one of its former major markets, Russia to other Russian-speaking regions and the CIS with Action’s regional hub in Kazakhstan experiencing a notable growth in demand over the past years.
These moves, like a lifeline, resemble a tree that bends in the storms to survive, embodying the principles introduced to the company by its visionary leader, Tony Christodoulou, from its inception back in 1971.
Agility and rapid adaptation remain vital for businesses operating in foreign markets and constitute the foundations of success. Yet, as Christodoulou highlighted, choosing to work with the right colleagues is an equally pivotal aspect of sustained international growth.
“We are proud that many of our country managers have been with us for a decade or more and have grown alongside Action, creating a solid foundation for our successful activities abroad,” concludedthe CEO.
To read the article in Greek, visit InBusiness News here.