Global...in a most American way...
So weve all seen the feisty comment from Rachel Bremer in PRWeak, right? She's the head of San Francisco tech agency Spark PR's new office in London. Appears that she's less than impressed with the quality of tech PR over here:
"It seems like there is a need for good PR firms with really solid tech experience in London"
Not that Spark PR's ambitions stop at London. Oh no. Despite the fact that Bremer is currently the company's only employee outside San Francisco, the London office marks the establishment of "European operations".
No, wait. That's not all. Bremer's one-way San Fran to London business class ticket actually represents global expansion. Or so the press release tells me. And Spark PR's home page.
Spark Public Relations...announced it is expanding its global footprint by establishing European operations in London....the new office will be closely linked with the agency’s headquarters in San Francisco and provide clients with highly integrated global public relations services.
“With our European office now in place, we are able to provide superior global service and have a front row seat to the technical innovation coming out of Europe,” said Rachel Bremer.
Thing is, there's already a company in London doing PR for tech clients that calls itself Spark...the lovely people at Spark Communications who kindly helped out with the logistics for our Christmas drinks last year (by 'logistics' I mean getting to the bar early and bagging a load of seats...)
Surely some scope for confusion? I asked Lauren Richards, md at Spark Communications:
"We may get calls from journalists about their clients and we are a bit concerned about them trading on our reputation, but to be fair to them they have considered this and are calling themselves SPR Europe. We just hope this continues and they don’t start calling themselves Spark as this would cause confusion.
"It is generally tough for the smaller US-led PR firms to start up in the UK as the market is quite different, which is why they generally acquire. For example, the Neva Group (which got bought by Weber Shandwick) never managed to grow above two people in the UK and that was when the technology market was booming in the late 90s. However, we’re sure SPR have researched the market thoroughly, and obviously many US firms have succeeded in Europe."
Yes, it is true that Spark PR in Europe is calling itself SPR Europe...that should help.
I hadn't heard about the Neva Group before. Mind you, with a name like that it couldn't have been a huge surprise things didn't work out. Strapline: "Neva say Neva" perhaps..?
Anyway, TWL welcomes Spark PR to London...whatever it's called...and we're looking forward to seeing how this tech PR lark should really be done.