The expectations and desire for corporate activism has increased significantly over the last four years among society in Latvia. We can also see that public activism when choosing or boycotting brands has increased in the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine. These are only a few conclusions from the third measurement “Businesses and Public Expectations – USG 2023” conducted by VA Communications, VA Government and VA Purpose Rud Pedersen Group.
Four out of five or 78% of Latvians expect companies to think not only about their profit, but also about social, economic and political issues that are important in the society. This is a 15 % increase since 2020, when 63% of respondents considered so. In addition, 59 % expect companies to take a stand on issues that matter to society.
Unlike in previous years, there is a shift in shopping habits with many individuals now paying close attention to the position of brands and companies on issues that matter to society. 26% of respondents indicated that they refused to buy a brand’s product or stopped using a service in 2022 because of a company’s stance on an issue. This is a significant change since 2019 when only 3% of respondents said so. The same can be seen if a position of a company or
brand matches the respondents. 16 % (+11 % since 2019) said they have started buying a brand’s products because of its stance on an issue.
You can find more on these and other findings here.
Strategic communications agency VA Communications (otherwise known as – Vīlands Associates) and public affairs firm VA Government join the Rud Pedersen Group, becoming their exclusive partner in Latvia. The Rud Pedersen Group is the leading and fastest-growing Nordic public affairs and communications group in Europe.
The Rud Pedersen Group has acquired a 20 percent stake in both companies, meaning that existing partners of VA Communications and VA Government still own a majority of shares. With the addition of VA Communications and VA Government, the Rud Pedersen Group strengthens their offerings in the Nordics, Europe and Latvia.
The addition of VA Communications and VA Government to the Rud Pedersen Group will drive additional growth for both companies. It will benefit both employees and clients with the transfer of new international knowledge of corporate affairs in combination with creative and marketing communications expertise. The Rud Pedersen Group has over 350 consultants and more than 70 employees in the Baltic countries alone. As a result, VA Communications and VA Government will be able to better support their clients in major European capitals such as Brussels, London, Stockholm, Berlin and Warsaw.
“We immediately found common ground with the Rud Pedersen Group. We share a similar internal culture and vision of the future growth of the company – based on knowledge development. The role of players on the regional level is growing rapidly, increasing the need for companies like the Rud Pedersen Group in the international professional services market. Therefore, we have chosen to go further together and build a powerful alliance that brings even more added value to our team and our clients,” says Ralfs Vīlands, Partner at VA Communications and VA Government.
“We see that our existing and potential clients highly appreciate a contemporary public affairs and communication approach rooted in Nordic values that aligns with the current challenges faced by the clients. Hence a long-term and in-depth cooperation with the Rud Pedersen Group is a natural next phase in VA Government’s development, strengthening our position on the Latvian market and developing local public affairs industry in general,” comments Vladlens Kovaļevs, Partner at VA Government and VA Communications.
Rud Pedersen Group CEO and President Morten Rud Pedersen says: “With our strong Nordic heritage, the expansion to the Baltic is very logical and we are now happy to be in all three countries. Our clients are looking for integrated solutions, and I am very pleased that we can now provide the best offering in the region. VA Communications and VA Government are companies built by entrepreneurs who wanted to challenge the market, just like we do in Rud Pedersen.”
About VA Communications and VA Government
VA Communications is a strategic communications company specializing in building corporate reputation, marketing communications, crisis communications and other disciplines. VA Communications is an opinion leader driving development of the communication industry in Latvia. The company was founded in 2013 by Ralfs Vīlands, later joined by partners – Laima Auza, Elīna Egle, Līga Rutkovska-Pavļukeviča and Vladlens Kovaļevs. VA Communications conducts a regular public opinion measurement – “USG or Enterprises and Public Expectations.”
VA Government is the leading public affairs firm in Latvia providing government relations, advocacy campaign management and policy analysis services. VA Government represents its clients in their engagement with legislators, policymakers and regulators, as well as with the general public. The company was founded in 2017 by Vladlens Kovaļevs and Ralfs Vīlands.
The two companies together form the largest communications and public affairs group in Latvia, with a combined turnover of nearly EUR 1,9 million in 2020 and over EUR 2 million in 2021. Both companies jointly develop sustainability consulting practice VA Purpose.
About Rud Pedersen Group
The Rud Pedersen Group was founded in 2002 by Morten Rud Pedersen in Gothenburg, Sweden. Now the Rud Pedersen Group has grown into one of the largest public affairs and strategic communications consultancies in Europe with over 350 employees in 12 offices in 11 countries – Stockholm, Brussels, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Oslo, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, Vilnius and now Riga. In 2020, the Rud Pedersen Group acquired stakes in Fabula, Lithuania’s largest communications agency. The brands Rud Pedersen Public Affairs, King Street, Welcom and RP People are all part of the Rud Pedersen Group.
Dear partners and friends,
This year has started with several news for Vīlands Associates and VA Government teams, so we wanted to introduce you to some of them.
We see that the role of businesses is changing. Expectations towards companies are increasing.
The importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles as the basis for sustainable business are becoming increasingly important among society, but especially among investors, international partners and the public sector.
All of these topics appear on our client agendas more often and their importance will only increase. Therefore we have created VA Purpose – a new direction within our services package that we will develop to help our clients achieve their sustainability and social responsibility ambitions.
We will support companies in developing and communicating their sustainable business plans by combining professionals with different backgrounds and our knowledge of communications and government relations.
This has naturally led us to the moment when you will notice some changes in Vīlands Associates brand as well. From now on our corporate and marketing communications practice will be called VA Communications. In addition to our original services, we will also provide digital communications consultations and solutions. For those with whom we work daily – these changes won’t affect the legal name of the company.
In synergy with VA Government and VA Purpose we will be able to secure a wider range of corporate affairs services in three directions – reputation and marketing, government relations, as well as the purpose and business sustainability. We will continue to seek other ways to address the current and future challenges that companies you run are facing.
Ralfs, Vladlens, Elīna, Līga, Laima, Ligita
We continued our annual research this year – USG 2020 – in which we assess the expectations of the Latvian population towards businesses and their approach in solving social, economic and political issues. When Vīlands Associates and VA Government started working on “USG” last year, we wanted to start a discussion in Latvia about the role of companies in the society and their activism in general.
Research in 2020 showed that Latvian society’s expectations towards companies have increased significantly over the year. Growing number of Latvians take into account environmental, social and governance issues when choosing goods and services.
In addition to this year’s population survey, we also invited a small panel of Latvian businesses for conversation. Their views were also included in the report.
We are pleased to announce our colleagues Līga Rutkovska, Elīna Egle, Laima Auza and Ligita Brodiņa have become Partners of Vīlands Associates as of June this year. The new partnership affirms their prior investment in the company’s development and is a step forward to future growth prospects.
Vīlands Associates will continue to develop an in-depth insight in such directions as finance, technology, infrastructure development, energy, employer branding and retail to offer high added value consultations to our clients through the use of trusted dialogue methods with target audiences. Together with VA Government we also provide government relations services.
Along with new partners Vīlands Associates will pursue strengthening leadership among communication management companies in Latvia.
In October, we celebrate the birthday of Vīlands. This year, for us it was our 5th birthday, but for VA Government it was just the first anniversary. Thanks to Antti Merilehto for an inspirational lecture about Artificial Intelligence. Also, we would like to thank our clients, colleagues and cooperation partners for all the accomplishments have made in these years!
We introduce to you Antti Merilehto, the author of the book “The Executive Travel Guide to AI”. In Finland this book has already gained high popularity and will be released in English in February 2019. We asked him to name 3 main things that business leaders must know about artificial intelligence – find out what he told us in this video!
Interns – this is the opportunity for you ! World is open for the best! We’re expecting your applications up until 31st of May in our e-mail box – firstname.lastname@example.org
Internship can last from few weeks to all summer long, or even longer!
Rakstu ievietoja VA Communications
Rakstu ievietoja Vīlands Associates
Rakstu ievietoja Elīna Egle
Rakstu ievietoja Vīlands Associates
Rakstu ievietoja Ralfs Vilands
Rakstu ievietoja Ralfs Vīlands
Rakstu ievietoja Ieva Lapiņa