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TEL AVIV—Business Communications Agency, the Russian member agency of the global PR network Eurocom Worldwide, has opened a new office in Israel, offering marketing and communications services. The agency focuses on technology markets both in Russia and the CIS countries. The new office will work with Russian companies and entrepreneurs entering the Israeli market requiring local PR and marketing support.

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ASTERA | 18.06.2013
Same Needs – Lower Budgets

Yulia Kursova, President of Business Communications Agency, speaks to Astera portal on Russia’s IT market situation.

Astera: Did you notice any changes in Russian IT market in early 2013? Is it the same as in 2012?

Y. Kursova: Overall trends include aggressive growth of tablet and smart phone sales that are pushing navigators off the market. Thanks to technology development, people can now use their handheld devices to find their way around. The trend was pretty clear last year, but now it is still more obvious. Consumables are in high demand as ever; but notebooks, desktops, monitors, and printers definitely go down. This trend primarily affects consumer market; however, corporate market, being quite strong, shows decline as well.

In general, I can see the market dropping and the players, economizing. They seem to stay high in needs – but go tight on budgets. As a marketing and PR agency, we can’t help but feel it. Customers get picky and we have to use thorough, tailored, highly competent approach to any solutions we offer – and implement!

Astera: What do you think is impeding local IT market this year? Does it affect your company?

Y. Kursova: IT market certainly follows the trends of Russian economy. The recession is due to companies experiencing growth of costs and decrease of income. Profitability often falls quicker than the company optimizes costs.

Government investments have a special influence. Many experts believe the soon-to-start Olympics negatively affect investments to other industries, IT included.

Astera: Does your company succeed in following the strategies scheduled for 2013? If not, why?

Y. Kursova: We are keeping to the strategy we developed. The market and consumer behavior patterns are pretty predictable, and we hope to make 2013 a success.

Astera: Do you expect to change your overall strategy this year?

Y. Kursova: No we are not planning to change it; our work is always aimed at solving business challenges of our customers, and supporting their sales.

Astera: Is any diversification scheduled for 2013? If so, which directions does it affect; if not, why?

Y. Kursova: Our company has long felt the urge to diversify and we’ll continue developing several different lines of business. We’re planning to strengthen our position in promos and merchandizing, here is where we struggle to diversify.

Our customers demand a lot of social networks promotion; so here is another trend we will work on intensively, and offer it to customers a lot. However, I still do not consider it reasonable to make it a separate line of business. I believe this is a booming trend in Russia, but only efficient within a comprehensive PR campaign.

Astera: Do you expect local IT market to see new trends this year, to change its development directions? Does it affect your company?

Y. Kursova: Cost optimization will drive some business trends. Many experts foresee high demand for infrastructure software to save on staff management. Data safety will grow, and so will surveillance systems and security software. I’m sure mobile smart devices like phones, tablets, and e-books will grow.

Besides, cloud solutions are on the rise and aggressively promoted by providers. Cloud services are becoming a key element for an increasing number of vendors. Package vendors entering the SaaS segment will compete with this market’s ‘native’ players.

And it should also be noted that, according to the long-term social and economic development forecast of Russian government to cover March 2013 to 2030, Russia’s IT market will include less and less hardware and more and more software and services.

Our company, similarly to other market players, will try its best to meet expectations of current customers, i.e. to offer sales supporting tools and enter the zooming markets. All of this means to increase awareness, promote goods and services, and introduce the customers to their benefits and capabilities.

Astera: What can we expect for Russian IT market in 2H’13? How different can it be from what we saw earlier?

Y. Kursova: I expect most companies to go on economizing and cutting costs. I don’t expect the end of year to differ much from its start, and I believe major market trends will develop steadily.

For the full interview visit

Expert View

Julia Kursova, President of Business Communications Agency and an industry expert, comments on the B.O. article on banking services in social networks.

Discussing the topic, Julia says, “Being a marketing professional, I am positive any business success is determined by the market, the demand for your offer. Bank investments in social networks are no exception.

Where the audience is ready and Internet is available to most people, e-payments and similar services have serious potential in social media. However, where such media are merely another marketing resource, it’s not worth the effort. Advanced networks like Facebook and Google+ are pretty good with banking services experimenting. They prove social networks are perfect for mid-size and larger retailers. I expect banks, businessmen and network owners to try and benefit from it as much as they can. Unfortunately, our country will hardly be involved in the process soon, the reasons including limited Internet access and still more limited interest to electronic payments. As a result, banks find it unreasonable to invest in this business much. Moreover, this market has pretty many risks today – and needs lots of money to lower them. Global banking market is conservative, and the Russian one is ultra-conservative. This is pretty natural as finances are all about serious analytics, risk evaluation, safety and confidentiality. Another reason is, Russian banks look for corporate customers as the most promising ones, and this is where they want to invest. As this trend grows in other countries, safety applications will be developed and other measures will be taken to minimize banking risks. Then perhaps this business will enter Russia, however I doubt this is going to happen in the nearest future”.

For full version please visit

SOVETNIK.RU | March 2013
Сustom publishing

Julia was invited to discuss the announcement made by Eksmo Publishing House about its new service of custom publishing. It provides publishing of books made to order, with information about a brand or company. The editorial staff of the sovetnik.ru portal and Sovetnik magazine asked the Agency President to comment on the new marketing product and to evaluate its innovative potential from a professional perspective.

Julia Kursova considers this service as “exciting but exclusive rather than mainstream”.

“Speaking about the effectiveness of this brand promotion tool, it should not go unmentioned that electronic books are becoming more popular, while it is getting increasingly difficult to choose a book that somebody would like to have as a hard copy to put on a shelf at home or in the office. That is why using custom-published books simply as promotional gifts, say, at an event, is not effective and may be rather expensive,” she commented.

The Business Communications Agency President also explained in which cases this method could work well, “Quite a different thing is exclusive personalized gifts for some selected audience, for instance, top management of companies in a certain market. If you choose this book wisely basing on what the target audience really wants, it may turn out to be successful.”

For full version please visit

CNEWS | February 17 2003
Internet Advertisement: Worldwide and Russian Markets

Many don't believe that Russian Internet advertisement market doubles the figures provided by "official authorities". Yet it is true.

CNews.ru suggested recognized online advertisement players, including clients, vendors and media, to comment the results of the year.What is your estimation of Internet advertisement share in the total advertisement market in Russia?

Yulia Soloviova, Media Director, Artemy Lebedev Studio
Evaluation - 0.4%
Comment: The real budget that reached target advertisement media (web sites) was $10 million in 2002. The whole advertisement market is estimated at $2.6 billion. Thus the Internet advertisement share is 0.4%.

Arsen Revazov, President, IMHO VI
Evaluation - 0.5%

Vera Bondarenko, Media Director, Mediastars
Evaluation - 0.3%
Comment: I would estimate the Internet advertisement volume in 2002 as $8 million to $8.5 million.

Yulia Kursova, President, Business Communications Agency,
Evaluation - 0.5%
Comment: We didn't research this internally, but it's not likely that this sector takes more than .5% of the whole advertisement market in Russia. Though this sector keeps growing notably, still very few businesses use this type of advertisement.

Inna Estrina, PR and Internet Advertisement Manager, Molinos.Ru
Evaluation - 0.5%
Comment: Since the total volume of advertisement market in Russia was estimated at $2.5 billion, while the volume of Internet advertisement ranged $12 million, the estimate of 0,5% would be fair.

Aleksey Katkov, Sales Director, Mail.ru
Evaluation - 3.5%

Aleksey Tretiakov, Commercial Director, Yandex
Evaluation - 0.5%
Comment: Less than half a percent yet.

Marina Bogatushina, Manager, Marketing and Advertisement, KM Online
Evaluation - 2.5%
Comment: Internet advertisement still remains a small share constituting not more than 2-3% of the whole advertisement market. Yet the market activities increased substantially since the last year.

Andrey Sebrant, General Producer, Lycos Russia
Evaluation - > 1
Comment: Still less than 1 percent, unfortunately, and it's not really important how many tenths then.

Boris Omelnitsky, Director, Marketing and Advertisement, ADT Web Solutions
Evaluation - > 1
Comment: I can share our clients' budget distribution, including the Internet share. In average, Internet advertisement takes 3 to 10 percent of the overall advertisement budget. Yet for the whole market, considering the overall audience of the Internet and the fact that it's an emerging new media, I believe this share is not more than 1% in Russia in general.

Fedor Virin, SpyLOG
Evaluation - > 1
Comment: I don't have the estimate of the whole advertisement market in Russia for 2002. My personal expectation would be the range of $2.3 to $2.8 billion. Internet advertisement will reach $20 to $23 million, thus being slightly less than 1 percent.

Pronline.ru | July 2002
How much is PR in Russia?

Executive managers of largest Russian PR agencies shared their views of communication efforts pricing in Russia. Cost structures on Russian market were always a point of interest to professional community. On one hand, PR services are way more affordable in Russia than in the Western countries. On the other hand, Russian market has its qualities that redefine the whole picture quite much.

Finally, the first initiative to increase and standardize PR agency service pricing was announced a few days ago. This initiative is supported by the Public Relations Consultants Association (AKOS), one of the recognized professional PR associations. Association members went as far as to define the lowest possible prices for certain types of PR services. According to AKOS, press-release creation should cost at least $1300, holding a briefing-$4800, and running a conference-$7800. AKOS members believe that these are the lowest possible prices for services of adequate quality.

PR Online editorial questioned representatives of two affected sides: independent PR agencies that are not part of any professional associations as well as leading international and Russian companies that purchase communication services.

Yulia Kursova, President, Business Communications Agency, commented, "Every single association is created to develop professional programs and enforce some decisions important for their members, and this is an unlimited right of AKOS. At the moment, Business Communications Agency is not a member of AKOS, and we are absolutely neutral to this initiative.

I am positive that most of the agencies in Russia offer much lower pricing, and the more known and authoritative becomes an agency, the more clients it gets, more internal costs it has to face, and more strict pricing policy it has to enforce. Unfortunately, service quality does not necessarily follow pricing. If most of the agencies raise their prices, PR market in general will change drastically. Most of smaller companies will stop purchasing PR services for financial reasons, while a number of large enterprises will increase their staffing and reduce the amount of third-party services purchased since it will be more cost-efficient. Another scenario is likely as well: the agencies will publish the new pricing, but will give their clients huge discounts in the ranges of 50% and even more. However, speaking about the AKOS members in particular, such a price change is quite possible, as I believe they make this step knowingly and meaningly.

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Elite Personnel | June 3 2003
Experience, connections and the language

A public relations professional could be called PR manager, Press Secretary or Public Relations Executive. The new profession emerged with the decentralized `market' economy. Yet the description of this job is defined quite differently, being completely up to any given employer.

However, every PR Manager is quite likely to communicate with the press. These would normally be printed publications or periodicals, sometimes radio, and quite rarely-television, though the profile depends much on the scale of business. Public relations manager creates press releases, holds press conferences and runs special events. Most of the times, the candidate is expected to have adequate background, good language and a skill to present client news properly. Therefore, at the interview, it's advisable to have the portfolio with brief previous project descriptions as well as a selection of press releases and articles written by the applicant.

Second language is required to apply to local offices of foreign companies. Yet since not long ago even Russian PR agencies prefer to employ managers with fluent English. "Second language is a vital criterion, and it immediately gives '10 extra points' to an applicant ", said Yulia Kursova, President, Business Communications Agency. "It is even more important for us as the majority of our clients are Western businesses". PR manager may also need an experience with DTP software to communicate with vendors more efficiently.

Striped Public Relations

Last but not least things to mention are black and white public relations. Black PR is sometimes defined as an attempt to compromise or simply slander the competitors. Within the PR business, the color is mainly the extent to which publications are paid. It is important to know that black PR is not necessarily an envelope with cash given to the article writer. It could also be a publication officially paid through ad department. But no matter the form of payment, this periodical will never write anything about you for free.

"Once our agency only runs 'white' business public relations, we will never employ an individual with the 'prepaid' writing background and reputation", noted Yulia Kursova.

Natalia Vinokurova

Vedomosti, №41 (123) | March 6th, 2000
Business Communications

Julia Kursova, formerly General manager at PRP Group, became the head of Business Communications - a start-up communications agency.

As stated in the company's press release, it will be focused on "integrated service offerings for customers, a large part of which will be devoted to marketing consulting".

"The idea of a new communications agency arose due to unsatisfied demand for communications services. There are many agencies in this market, but the demand is still quite high," - commented Kursova - "Information technology companies are one of our target markets. This is mostly because IT companies are much more communicative. This is also due to our team's background, where each member has experience both in IT and marketing."

Julia Kursova has a degree in Sociology from the State Management Academy. From 1993 to 1995 she was marketing manager at Marvel company. She joined PRP Group in 1996 where she had a number of positions: from account manager to IT division director to General manager.

Computer Press | № 12, 2002
Digital studio today

Today we shall tell about two novelties from Hewlett-Packard company which, to our opinion, rather precisely reflect the sense of the expression "digital studio". The first novelty - a compact photoprinter HP Photosmart 230. This model became a logic development of the compact printers range. The second novelty - a digital camera HP Photosmart 850 -- also makes its contribution to the creation of the modern digital studio.

The presentation of Hewlett-Packard novelties devoted to the Halloween celebration was carried out under the slogan "HP technologies against monsters" at "The Mephisto Castle" restaurant. The organizational and PR-support of the presentation has rendered the Business Communications Agency.

Vedomosti | 27th September, 2002

The syndrome of "sad season" does not threaten to the people of "autumn type" and those ones who are keen on work

In autumn the quantity of pessimists and whiners is usually increased. The VCIOM resource confirms: every third Russian now feels a stress and irritation, 7% -- fear and melancholy and only 6% have defined their mood to be fine. 35 % of recourse participants are not satisfied with their life and only 24% are quite pleased with the fate. However the majority of the managers keen on their work feel certain inflow of forces in September.

"Usually it's very hard for me to stand the seasonal depression, -- the account manager of Business Communications Agency Olga Kobzareva said, -- but this autumn seems rather pleasant". She believes it is connected with very interesting work that helps to feel onerself vigorous and efficient.

Computerworld, Russia | 17th September, 2002
THE COMEBACK OF ENTERASYS The company changes its business strategy in Russia

After more than 10 months' break in public appearances of Enterasys Networks official persons in Russia, the director of worldwide analyst relations Dennis Symington (he was the head of the Moscow office of Cabletron Systems for a long time) stated that despite different rumors the company is alive and continues its work in Russia and in many other countries worldwide.

General business restructuring connected with expenses reduce influenced Russia as well. The Enterasys Team strategy successfully proved in some European countries and in South Africa is applied here too. It is based on tight collaboration in particular directions with local partner companies and on rendering them different functions. Such scheme, as the members of Enterasys Team think, helps to reach maximal specific consideration for each region with minimal resources.

Moscow representative office of Cabletron Systems was reorganized into Enterasys Networks office. Evgeny Bukhshtab was appointed a regional manager.

According to the new strategy Verysell Distribution company became the master distributor of Enterasys Networks, now responsible for all logistic questions, combining this work with distribution. Business Communications agency acts as a marketing department, and Roksa Telekom as a service centre.

Litsa Biznesa | №7, 2002
Business Communications Agency

Julia Kursova is the president of Business Communications Agency. She graduated from the sociological faculty of The State University of Management. First she worked in the Marvel IT-company, then in the PRP Group agency. In 2000 she has organized and headed the "Business Communications Agency" -- a full cycle communication agency.

Seventy percents of agency's business compiles public relations: the organization of conferences, exhibitions, advertising actions, work with mass media and so on. The agency provides a full spectrum of marketing researches. The considerable attention is given to the Internet work: from site development and support to Internet advertising and Internet marketing. The agency also offers the consulting services on the external and internal policy of the company.
Among agency's clients -- HP, Sony, Ramstore, M-Video, Topaz.

ComputeReview | July 11th, 2001
In a good visibility zone. How IT-companies take care of its information image.

"…To clarify the PR activities goals of the companies, the audience it shoots, how the decision makers estimate its efficiency, is it expediently to employ a PR Agency or its own PR specialist, we addressed the questions to 120 computer and telecom companies that work on corporate market. The PR Agencies: SK Communications, PRP Group Shandwick, Algorithm Group, Mikchailov & Partners, Maslov, Sokur & Partners and Business Communications shared they reasons on advantages and drawbacks of PR-outsourcing as well…"

"…As a result the increasing of sells and not only publications in press is the goal of any company, - said Julia Kursova, Business Communications Chief Executive Officer. - Sooner or later the Client will call into question the efficiency of any PR campaign if the Agency can't prove that it works for the required result…"

Moscow Times | April 26th, 2000
New PR firm shoots for corporate market

"Agencies work better while they are small," said Julia Kursova, chief executive officer of Business Communications, a PR agency set up less than three month ago.However, the company already has five clients, including retailer Ramstore and a monitor division of Sony Corp., and employs six people.

Structural Movements

A new start-up communications agency - Business Communications - has just emerged. It is headed by Julia Kursova, formerly General manager at PRP Group. The General director at the new company is Maxim Makienko, former General manager at Corporate Communications PR agency. The new company will be focused on integrated service offerings for customers, a large part of which will be devoted to marketing consulting. Russian consulting and system integrator company Stins Coman became the first customer of Business Communications. In early March the company expects to sign agreements with two international IT companies.

Meanwhile PRP-Group finishes its structural transformations. According to Vitaly Zotov, the agency's CEO, the team's refreshment is caused by re-positioning of the company on the PR market and developing new activities which were named among prospective at the end of the last year. Vitaly Zotov believes that PRP Group has managed to significantly strengthen its position in the financial market. Three service contracts are currently under way - one with a bank and two with investment companies. The names of the parties have not been disclosed.

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