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Review and Outlook: Wigan Salazar Reviews the 2018 MSL Business in Germany

Wigan Salazar
, Sat, 01/19/2019

Wigan Salazar, CEO from MSL in Germany, reviews 2018 for the German 'PR Magazin' and shares an outlook on 2019

The article is a translation from the original article on prmagazin.de.

Our Business Progress

a) As an agency with a focus on consumer, corporate and crisis PR as well as public affairs, our thematic priority has not changed in comparison to recent years. In particular, our Berlin team has grown strong with new public affairs mandates. but other offices and the consumer and corporate fields are also developing positively. Growth drivers also include crisis communication and influencer relations. What is important this year is that PR can no longer be thought of independent of politics. In times when polarization and populism poison the public discourse, deep knowledge of political process and discourse is necessary beyond the classic public affairs mandates. We are optimally positioned for this.

b) Disciplinary services are increasingly in demand from our clients. A networked offer is, therefore, an advantage for pitches. In 2018, we profited greatly from the "Power of One" concept of the Publicis Groupe. We have worked even more closely than last year with our sister agencies Publicis Pixelpark, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, MetaDesign, Publicis.Sapient and Publicis Media. At the same time, the tasks assigned to us are becoming ever more complex and hybrid. These require genuine cooperation among the disciplines – and is where our "Power of One" offer is unique. We are at the intersection of data-driven target group insights, automated content customization and an increasingly professional influencer marketing. Therefore, it is important not only to think in terms of discipline, but to combine strategic consulting, digital content, creative ideas and new technologies in the interests of the client.

c) The share of digital business in our sales increased again in 2018. In all fields of consulting, digital components are emerging. Especially in the areas of influencer relations and development of digital content, MSL is strongly represented. Within the Publicis Groupe, we also support companies by making their way through the digital transformation and are launching our own, artificial intelligence-based app in 2019 with "Marcel". Of course, there are still quite "analogous" jobs - for example in the field of public affairs, when it comes to concrete legislation. But these purely analogue assignments are rapidly decreasing.

d) Fake news is not a new phenomenon. Correcting accusations and misrepresentations has always been an integral part of crisis communication and thus also of our work. When we did the Pro-TTIP campaign for the German industry a few years ago, one of our core tasks was to explain it objectively. It is also clear that a new dimension has been added: you fight on several fronts. While we had previously countered allegations of NGOs, rumors about our clients are now spreading through bots and anonymous Twitter accounts. After all, big global companies are hated not only by the extreme left, but by the extreme right - with corresponding anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic undertones. Only recently was a client accused of creating incentives for refugees with their products. In such cases, a lot of sensitivity is needed. The challenge is how to respond factually and accurately without additional drawing increased attention to the absurd rumors?

e) Requirements for measurability have increased significantly, especially in the marketing of consumer goods and in the field of influencer relations. That's a good thing because when an influencer activation is deployed strategically, the added value can be measured right down to the actual sale. In addition, we, of course, continue to develop analysis and measurement in order to meet the specific KPI requirements.

Business Trend 

We see a clear trend towards larger clients and bigger projects - and away from the many tenders and pitches. That suits both the client and us very much. We also reject a good part of the requests. This is especially the case if the tender is too cumbersome or the budget too low.

Budget Level 

Most of our client budgets continued to grow in 2018.

New Business 

We have a distinct new business culture. Throughout senior management, we are able to bring forward a number of sharp minds that are able to successfully assess the marketplace. In addition, we have a very rigid qualification and pitch process that makes it easier for us to distinguish the serious requests and offer the right solutions to potential clients. As clients and projects continue to get bigger and bigger, we have been able to increase our success rate by focusing more than we used to. But winning new clients is never "easy" - it always requires a lot of dedication and discipline from the agency.

Outlook 

I expect that our new business situation in 2019 will continue to develop positively. With a series of solid new business wins in the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already created the basis for a successful year. We are very focused on our strengths and develop innovations from our own competencies and experiences. We were able to identify some important services that our clients frequently request. Our digital set-up plays an extremely important role here: from influencer relations in the consumer field to corporate social media.

Other Notable Trends / Developments / Challenges 

The key priority for 2019 is to sift, recruit and maintain the right talent. Talents and people are the most important prerequisites for our success.

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