I was excited when I got the news that our annual GlobalCom meeting was going to be held in Krakow, Poland this year. In addition to meeting with our global partner agencies, I was excited to visit a country and a region with so much historical significance. I won’t use the blog to go through Polish history but there’s no doubt the country has been hit by hard times – not just in the past 70-80 years, but over the past several centuries.
Today, Krakow has emerged from its challenging past and evolved into a thriving tourist destination with a must-see Old Town boasting historic churches and castles; beautiful architecture; cobblestone narrow streets; museums; an upbeat Jewish Quarter; and great restaurants. The Main Market Square and Wawel Hill (Castle and Cathedral) are must-sees and display European architecture and design at their best. In terms of thefood, from the polish sausage to the soups to the potatoes, there is a lot to like about Polish cuisine. You certainly don’t finish a meal hungry and the beer ranks up there too.
The Poles get mixed reviews sometimes for not being the friendliest bunch but I always felt welcomed and found the locals to be very helpful. They seem to be anxious to shed their past, embark on a new chapter, and prosper as a country.
So on to the reason I was there: the GlobalCom annual meeting. The event brought together roughly 40 attendees from 30 countries – a big surge from last year’s meeting in Mexico. We had great sessions on PR/marketing opportunities and challenges in every major region represented including North America, South America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. We also participated in action-oriented business development sessions that should bring more global agency partners together in the coming year.
The most valuable time occurred in the one-off conversations with attending partner contacts. From collaborating with my partner in Australia on measurement tools to talking SEO strategies with my partner in the UK, the conversations were valuable and fruitful. For the UK example, we are collaborating on how to share more partner content in the social sphere and focusing on quality vs. quantity.
One take-away from the meeting is that we are fairly lucky in the U.S. when it comes to PR and marketing spending. Many areas of the world are still digging out from the economic downturn and budgets haven’t returned to previous levels. I was very impressed at the savviness of the global partners as they are becoming more aligned with our focus on broader marketing communications. Where 5-10 years ago it felt like many non-U.S. PR agencies were too laser focused on just being media relations shops, many are now bringing more creativity and diversity into their services mix. They are targeting the CMO versus just the PR Director.
I couldn’t be more proud to be part of GlobalCom. The meeting worked to strengthen our partnership with the network and better position us as an agency that can provide second-to-none global strategic communications services. We look forward to next year’s meeting and I look forward to someday returning for another good beer in the great country of Poland!