This week, Business Wire takes a look at its worldwide operations, by getting the view from our colleagues outside the US about our challenges and successes in different markets. We start with a history and overview of our growth in Europe from Dick Bromley, Regional Vice President, Europe.
It was always going to be a challenge; that was never up for debate. Sitting comfortably in a safe, secure job some 9 years ago, I had the things I always wanted: A nice car, a new flat and a good career. I was happy and content, and then the phone rang with the call that changed my life. “Hi Dick, it’s Gregg Castano. How do you fancy setting up Business Wire’s first International office?”
Three months later I was sitting in an office in London’s financial district having completed a week’s training in New York. My head was buzzing with all the information I had recently learned, and I was desperately trying to remember what all these funny acronyms meant. “ASCII”, “HTML”, and what exactly again was the difference between a NY metro and a NY state circuit? One thing was for certain — I had to be a quick learner!
It was slow at first, not least because at that time, Business Wire was not well known outside the United States. Our biggest competitor had been in operation here for a number of years and we had a huge amount of catch-up to do. Gabi Richard (my boss at the time) and I threw ourselves into the daunting task of developing a brand and a presence in the UK. I vividly recall doing as many as eight meetings a day at the time, plus lunch and dinner functions as well as numerous interviews in between. It was relentless and incredibly hard work but we carried on knocking on doors and building new relationships.
Part of the problem was that unlike in the US, many of our clients had simply not come across the wire before and needed convincing as to its benefits. Just as I was starting to wonder whether all this hard work was getting us somewhere, the phones started ringing. Business came slowly at first, and then the floodgates opened. Before long we had managed to win new business from some of the UK’s largest and most prestigious companies and had expanded our team to include more salespeople, a local newsroom and a media relations department.
In 2002 we became one of only five companies authorised to disseminate price sensitive news to the UK, and before long had racked up a significant market share. It was a good year for the office and we reveled in our status as “Business Wire’s fastest growing office ever.” New premises in London quickly followed and our client base increased at a rapid rate.
New offices opened shortly after in Frankfurt and Stockholm, each with their own unique challenges to overcome. Once again a “back-to-basics” and hardworking approach to business, coupled with a passion for customer service, quickly resulted in Business Wire firmly establishing itself as a local player in its own right. New and often exclusive agreements with many high profile European News agencies followed, including us adding the incredibly prestigious Agence France-Presse to our offering. Business Wire clients could now send their news directly through the World’s largest and arguably best-known newswire. A Paris office opened shortly afterwards, adopting the same winning formula as London, and to everyone’s delight, stormed ahead in winning new business at an incredible rate.
In 2007, with my responsibilities now including managing sales across Europe, we firmly cemented our position in the European disclosure market with the advent of the Transparency Obligations Directive (TOD). Created by the EU as a means of providing regional uniformity in disclosing price sensitive news, we drew upon our unique experience from around the globe to create a springboard to the investment community, unsurpassed by any other provider. Business Wire clients can now disclose news directly into eleven member states within the EU, more than any other newswire on the planet. Believe me when I tell you that coordinating a project of this size was by no means a small feat
Looking towards the future, Business Wire Europe stands poised to continue its growth across the continent and meet its client’s expectations with ease. Having access to unquestionably the most comprehensive network of news agencies across the region, we continue to exceed expectations and win new business from many new fronts. Our unique, “one size does not fit all” approach to sales, truly phenomenal customer service and a desire to go one step better than the competition continues to win us support on many fronts. I’m looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead and continuing to build on our reputation.
Regional Vice President, Europe