Interview with Sylvia Karakatsani

GNORA Communication Consultants was founded in 2003 by Andreas Hadjikyriacos, when he decided to abandon active journalism. The first clients originated from the area of corporate and political communication.

In 2005, with the arrival of fellow journalist Pambos Kaskanis, GNORA broadened its services to the field of communication before expanding to publications, where it was commissioned to write and publish Evagoras Lanitis’ biography.

In 2006, big organisations such as the Bank of Cyprus, Petrolina and ETEK started to show trust in the company, while it was assigned to carve out a communication strategy for the EAC and Cyprus Police, and participated in the communication team of the Cyprus Presidency of the EU. In 2009 it started collaborating with DISY, which culminated with the election of Nicos Anastasiades as President of the Republic. Meanwhile, the company took over the communication activities of businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev in Cyprus and Greece, as well as of Wargaming in Cyprus. The company’s team currently consists of 13 people and its annual turnover is around €1m.

Every award is important, account manager Sylvia Karakatsani points out, particularly in difficult times. “What increases a company’s chances of success is not its size, but how well and responsibly it was managed when the economy was good and how flexibly and effectively it dealt with the new state of affairs,” she stresses. “At GNORA we moved fast, took decisions and implemented measures that made our effort to survive less painful. We sought to keep all our staff and so far we have succeeded thanks to all the colleagues’ responsible stance and hard work,” she explains.

But what makes the company stand out? “First and foremost, a team spirit and collective action. We have created a very good team; each member has a say and role to play in formulating the company’s course and future. A second distinguishing factor is our continuous effort to be useful to our clients. What with the economic downturn, their communication goals and priorities have changed. We were and are there, an important partner who assessed the situation, readjusted its services and tools, and is by their side to support them, proposing solutions to meet their new needs.” In any case, the communication part, which involves strategic planning, advisory services, managing the media, designing corporate social responsibility strategies and so on, has not been affected by the crisis that much, according to Mrs Karakatsani. She notes that the problems have to do with reduced fees, due to a fall in clients’ turnover, their increased demands due to reduced staff and problems in collection . On the other hand, however, new needs arise for certain specialised services, such communication crisis management, lobbying and so on. Asked to comment whether companies that survive the crisis will emerge stronger, she said: “There will be room in the new market that is being created for those of us who don’t  restrict ourselves to words and slogans and truly see the crisis as an opportunity, who tidy up our own house,  become more professional and learn to operate within the capabilities of the market.”

*Sylvia Karakatsani is the Corporate Communication Manager of GNORA Communication Consultants.

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