Pleon hosted a meeting for its UK alumni last night. This PR business of the BBDO advertising giant acquired the European business of Brodeur, where I and a few of my colleagues and former colleagues at Lighthouse formed the bulk of its EMEA analyst relations business until 2002.
The firm has changed a lot: just a fifth of its work is in the technology industry, and much of that [such as work with Sony’s camera business] is in the consumer space. The poster-clients for the new business focus are Royal Dutch/Shell and Patria. The firm’s service offering outsourced analyst outreach is much smaller than it was. Brand Illumination founder Ed Gyurko was the last person there to have worked only on analyst relations, but media relations specialist Casey Balkham and Consulting Director Iain Frazer-Halpin have worked on a number of analyst briefing programmes over the years.
Pleon emphasises its European nature. One aspect that seems to have developed is an appreciation of humour that is distinctly English. The CEO’s presentation to alumni includes some side-swipes at corporate ‘political correctness’ and diversity which would have been most challenging for the firm’s former US owners. Having just returned from a spell in California, where the business culture is rather neutral, I wasn’t quite ready for it: a sort of ‘cultural jet-lag’.