I recently got back from spending two weeks in the Grayling Istanbul office and having spent many a holiday in Turkey I was intrigued to experience the city from a new perspective. One of the first things that initially interested me about Istanbul was the fact that it is split into two parts; the Asian side and the European side. Given this geographical positioning it is undoubtedly a cultural melting pot drawing from these parts of the world and this is the essence of what makes the city so special.
With an increasing number of major PR agencies emerging in Istanbul and numerous international companies upping their presence there, this market has never been so important for the communications industry. It is essential that PR agencies respond to this and part of succeeding in making a stamp on this part of the world will be realising the impact that the city’s sheer diversity and deep rooted culture has on the way the business is done by clients and communications experts alike.
I was immersed for some time during my stay in helping to develop media materials for the new Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel & Conference Centre and I found myself writing about the hotel reflecting its position of being on the axis between Europe and Asia in its cooking and design. This was of course a selling point for the hotel but it really is reflected in the city and its people. If you walk into the Hilton Bomonti and speak to the staff you are instantly in the presence of about half a dozen different nationalities all of whom have gravitated and succumbed to the inevitable pull of this intriguing city.
PR is no exception and as more and more companies want to secure their presence in the country Grayling Istanbul continues to work for major international clients such as Tesco and PayPal. Many of them are run from the “London hub” so English is the predominant language however there is no accounting for how important it is to have the right mix of local knowledge. The Istanbul office draws on the experience of an ex journalist with 15 years’ experience, the ex-Turkey editor for Forbes and a PR expert from another well-known agency, to name a few. This is invaluable in enabling them to respond to client needs in an environment where competition is high and clients expect impeccable English to sit alongside unparalled local knowledge.
But the melting pot of Istanbul goes beyond Grayling, it’s all around you. You can be walking down what could be taken for a Parisian street and come across a stunning mosque whilst listening to the call to prayer. This is part of the charm and what draws so many tourists and expats to Istanbul. What summed this up perfectly for me was my visit to The Museum of Innocence. The famous Turkish author Orhan Pamuk wrote this tragic love story and then built the museum based on the novel, packing it full of artefacts and curiosities from his book. (Of course it was fictional but it is a rather emotional book and you can’t help but get caught up in the museum whilst you are there.) But what struck me most was the number of countries in which the book has been published and indeed seen great success in. I think the main reason for this is the fascinating insight it gives into Turkish culture. People are intrigued by it and rightly so.
I look forward to seeing how our team out there continues to respond to the demands of the market and how the city responds to its ever growing popularity and increasing prominence on the global stage. I’ll certainly be back.