With partnerships spanning more than 30 years, AM O’Sullivan PR is evolving and developing to ensure it continues delivering an award-winning strategic communications service, writes Chrissie Russell
*This article originally appeared in the Business Post on Monday, June 27th, 2022*
With its international reach and client partnerships spanning more than 30 years, AM O’Sullivan PR occupies a unique space in the Cork business community.
The award-winning strategic communications team has unrivalled experience, contacts and expertise in the FDI Life Sciences manufacturing sector, and operates throughout Ireland across a range of industries, but always with a strong sense of being rooted in Cork.
It’s a sense of place that has been important to the thriving agency, which has existed in its current form since March 2015, but was originally founded back in 1981 by Robin O’Sullivan, father of CEO, Ann-Marie O’Sullivan.
“When my father started the business the perceived wisdom at the time was that you had to go to Dublin if you needed corporate PR support,” said Ann-Marie O’Sullivan. “But my father’s view was that providing an excellent strategic communications service for our clients could just as easily be provided in Cork – something we have successfully proven over a number of decades.
“Indeed, increasingly Cork has become an ever more appealing location for our multinational clients, thanks to the availability of world-class universities and the vast potential for regional growth highlighted in the National Development Plan for 2040.
“There’s been a huge focus recently on ensuring that Cork is viewed as a positive place to live and work. The two most recent City and County Development Plans have been drafted to underscore Cork’s potential,” says O’Sullivan.
The AM O’Sullivan PR roster of clients is testament to Cork’s popularity as a base for big-name multinationals and also illustrates the high regard in which the consultancy is held.
“We would be quite unusual in terms of the cross-section of clients we have across Life Sciences,” said O’Sullivan. “In that sector alone, we work with a significant number of the global life sciences companies based in Ireland.”
But she’s keen to stress that successfully forging trusted partnerships with global organisations is an ongoing process.
“I don’t take those relationships for granted at all. We’ve worked with many of our clients for over 30 years which is gratifying as it means we must be doing something right! However, we’re always looking at ways in which we can support our clients, providing them with a best in class strategic communications service.”
To that end O’Sullivan is keen to ensure the consultancy is always evolving, sourcing fresh talent and pivoting when needed.
When Covid hit in March 2020, AM O’Sullivan PR had been due to support a large scale planning application for the global pharmaceutical brand, Roche, based in Clarecastle, Co Clare. By May 2020, in collaboration with the community, the project engineers and the company itself, AM O’Sullivan PR successfully launched the first virtual public consultation campaign on a large scale project for Roche.
The consultancy has also been centrally involved in other major local projects, such as the creation of the Cork Lower Harbour Energy Group. All six companies involved were AM O’Sullivan PR clients and the firm supported the project across all aspects of communication, public consultation and branding on the development of the four iconic wind turbines in Cork Harbour.
“It’s important that our clients work in partnership with local community groups and other stakeholders, in order to understand their concerns and challenges. We always recommend a strategy of open, transparent communication in order to help anticipate and overcome any potential issues that might arise,” explains O’Sullivan.
It’s this local focus, combined with its international reach, that saw AM O’Sullivan PR recognised as the inaugural winner of the PRCA Agency of the Year award in 2020. The judging panel was unanimous in selecting the agency, because of its national reach and local presence in successfully representing global brands.
“That citation for me was really heartening,” said O’Sullivan, who was also, last year, conferred with the prestigious title of Life Fellow by the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, an accolade held by just 28 people, including her father, Robin. “To get that recognition from an industry body at the national awards was a huge boost to all of us.”
Looking ahead, she’s excited about the potential presented by the agency’s membership of IPREX, a $508 million global network of communication agencies. “For me, IPREX is a key differentiator for us because it gives us that global reach, with access to partners in over 60 countries around the world.”
It’s just one example of AM O’Sullivan PR’s commitment to ensuring they’re best placed to provide a comprehensive strategic communication service to clients. “Our whole ethos is working in partnership with our clients,” said O’Sullivan. “We’re passionate about delivering results, developing trust and making sure our clients see us as a trusted strategic partner and a safe pair of hands.”