Well, I’ve Now Been To Spain…
“Well, I’ve never been to Spain
But I kind of like the music…”
- Three Dog Night
Well, I’ve now been to Spain and I really do like the music. I just got back last Friday from two weeks there where I attended the Worldcom Public Relations Group’s Annual Group Meeting in Madrid, conducted client planning sessions with our Barcelona-based partner and generally ate and drank my way through two dynamic cities. In the same fashion as the tasty small dishes known as tapas, here is a selection of small bites from the journey.
A Different Kind of Multinational
With 107 partner offices in 91 countries spanning six continents not to mention thousands of employees, and many, many millions of dollars of combined revenues, the Worldcom Public Relations Group stacks up very against the world’s largest public relations firms. The Worldcom advantage, of course, is that clients receive best of breed service from leading agency minds in any given locale as opposed to having to accept less with other solutions. It was great to see the combined strength of the organization on display at the meeting where we focused on further strengthening service across ever-changing geographical, geopolitical and cultural boundaries.
Like any thriving organization, Worldcom regularly evaluates the overall direction of the Group as well as each of the 100+ partners. The discussion was a lively one over a three-day period with emerging regions such as China, and India rapidly becoming key growth areas for client programs that stretch across continents. As McGrath/Power has extensive experience bringing client companies into the US from the Asia Pacific and EMEA regions, I was asked to participate in a panel discussion moderated by Worldcom’s EMEA Region Chair, Corinna Voss of Munich’s HBI, in which client service across borders was discussed. Additionally, virtually every partner firm in attendance went through a Peer Review – a vigorous examination of business practices and client service delivery that enables high quality standards to be upheld.
Measuring That Quality
Accurate measurement of communications programs has always been a hot topic. In the changing world of communications, the topic is white hot. In Madrid, Worldcom partners discussed adopting the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles put forth by the Institute of Public Relations. The seven-principle Declaration encompasses traditional and social media, eliminates outdated measurement methods such as ad equivalency, places outcomes above opposed to outputs and focuses on business impact (just as we do at McGrath/Power). Our agency fully supports this Group-wide move to the Barcelona Declaration.
Being In Barcelona
We moved on to Barcelona from Madrid to spend time with our partner there, LF Channel, and its founder Imma Folch-Lazaro as we look to bring them on board for a global client program. We had some great discussions on the state of communications in Spain with a backdrop of student protests against government corruption and the general status quo. It was interesting to get a local perspective on these protests and compare it to the CNN view of things pumped into our hotel room. CNN played both the big protest in Madrid (in which hundreds of people in their 20’s were camping out for days/weeks in a public square) and the smaller one in Barcelona as the Spanish version of the “Arab Spring” uprisings. In contrast, the local resident feedback was much different. “Too idealistic with nothing likely to happen,” said our Worldcom partner. More blunt was the manager of the high end sushi restaurant, Parco, who told me that “the same people who are protesting are also my customers; they live off their parents and really don’t want a job.” After dropping triple digits at Parco myself and watching many trays of high end fish being served to others, those 20-somethings must have some well-to-do parents!
My friends would fall over if I didn’t comment a bit further on Spain’s food and wine scene. In a word: fantastic. I am now a huge tapas fan – baby octopus sautéed in garlic, deep fried sardines, ham on just about anything – and the wines pair perfectly. While everybody raves about the reds (and there were some very good ones), I was more taken with the whites. Coming home after living on the crisp, fruity and light whites that went with everything, I almost had to take a knife and fork to a glass of Rombauer Chardonnay that seemed fat, clumsy and over-oaked in comparison.
Article provided by McGrath/Power posted in Pass the Mic Blog