Stratcons is a leading public affairs, communications and management consultancy. We serve A-grade European and international companies providing support in a wide range of regulatory, reputational and organisational issues. Stratcons’ focus is South East Europe and Black Sea region, however together with our partners we can provide services throughout Europe and the USA.
Who we are
Stratcons is a boutique consultancy with offices in Sofia and Brussels. It provides tailor-made high added-value services to its clients. With a pool of 50+ experts with international experience in different fields and a network of partners with similar approach throughout Europe and the USA, Stratcons is well positioned to provide both local and international expertise.
Our particular strength is based on combined understanding of politics, processes, media attitudes, intercultural and technical aspects.
We have experience in a number of areas, including energy, environment, infrastructure, specialised marine services, port development, economics, FIDIC application, mediation and conflict resolution, political consultancy etc.
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Stratcons goes beyond the conventional consultancy. It combines the concept of consultancy integrator with business diplomacy to provide its clients with options and solutions.
Although Stratcons has its own expertise in a wide range of subjects, we do not compete with the “classical” consultancies. Stratcons experts are knowledgeable and competent in multiple fields, so they can assess the sectorial expertise input from specialised companies, i.e. technical, financial, legal etc. and integrate it into the options and scenarios, which are worth considering in the framework of the client’s plans. In the development of the scenarios, political and other relevant contexts are taken into account. On the basis of these scenarios recommendations, strategies and implementation plans are prepared for the clients.
Contrary to the popular perception, diplomacy is not about being nice. Diplomacy is about increasing the options and achieving the goals. Various techniques are employed to this end, from tacit diplomacy to coercive diplomacy. This applies to everybody – from the state to the individual – as diplomacy is always key. Business diplomacy has two aspects: business-to-business and business-to-government relations. Stratcons has strong track record in both. Upon receiving a mandate, Stratcons engages in active relations with the relevant partners in order to achieve the best possible results for its clients.
In the modern world it is impossible to be a good politician without understanding economics and it is impossible to have a successful business without understanding politics.
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Integrity, honesty, transparency, fairness, competence and sustainability are our core values. We are rigorous at addressing potential conflicts of interest which may arise by virtue of our relations with our clients. We are aware of the importance of keeping strict confidentiality about any information that we may become privy of in the course of implementation of our contracts. We will never use it, neither will allow it be used outside of the framework of our contractual relations.
Stratcons and its employees pay particular attention to implementation of the highest anti-corruption standards. We base our conduct on the provisions of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and any other anti-bribery laws which may be applicable.
We value the business of our clients. Stratcons has developed a Code of Conduct, which ensures the fairness, honesty and transparency towards our clients. Our employees are obliged to speak out and protect the interests of our clients even if this goes against the immediate interest of Stratcons.
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Political/Policy Monitoring, Analysis & Advocacy
Knowing and understanding the complex political settings and policies at play is an important advantage for every business. Political analysis is a key part of informed decision-making and strategic planning. Monitoring and assessing the political developments on a national, regional and international level is crucial for developing a viable strategy.
We advise and assist our clients in identifying and understanding the relevant policies and political trends, as well as the positions of the policy-makers. On this base we provide comprehensive counsel how to act or react on the political process; monitor the developments and adapt the respective approaches.
Our goal is to provide our clients with the best understanding of the political environment and its potential impact on their business/organisation. We can help understand the real nature of specific policy making and make our client’s voice heard at the right time, in the right way, and among the right people. Our approach is not only to assess our client’s issues in the proper context, but also to develop a proper context for the needs of our clients.
Public Relations & Reputation Management
Knowing how to communicate effectively with the key audiences and stakeholders and how to create powerful groups of advocates is the very essence of successful institutional policy.
We provide evidence-based approach and customised PR service, applying them to our clients’ current needs and future plans. Our approach toward reputation management features in-depth analysis, offline and online tools to manage and maintain reputation and a complex approach toward the various audiences.
We rely on and encourage our clients to perform the two-way communication approach – listening carefully and engaging in public discussions and debates. This is in addition to, and even more important than, disseminating information.
Medium is the message
Media established themselves as an equal or even ‘a superior’ player in contemporary politics, business and social affairs. Timely access to information and being at the forefront of current issues are of vital importance for the success of any initiative. Media can work effectively for those who, understand how they work.
We can develop and maintain an effective network of media contacts, which rely on long-term perspective of the relations. Our approach is simple – we do not simply turn information into news, we always strive to create news on your behalf.
We can provide a wide range of media and policy monitoring and analytical services suited to the specific needs of each client. We help our clients understand the environment in which they operate and guide them through the media and political discussion.
Key Messages Development
Key messages are ‘the skeleton’ of comprehensive and effective communication – these clear, short and concise pieces of relevant information, which create the sustainability of perception among various key audiences – from the employees to the broad public.
We cooperate with our client’s management and communication team on developing specific, memorable and persuasive key messages. Combined with analysis of the target audiences and the particular context of communication, we provide a reliable integrated approach. Our communication experts will be ready to adapt these into numerous media – desk statements, speeches, fact sheets, Q&As and many other communication instruments.
Identifying the key stakeholders in any given sector and analysing the complex interactions between stakeholders and their outcomes is among the key factors for the sustainable perspective. The intense media and political discussion makes the stakeholders’ and influencers’ identification process ever more complex.
Mapping out the people, the actions and the processes relevant to our client’s specific case; delivering these in a comprehensive and tangible form creates an environment of public confidence. Thanks to our wide-reaching network, we are able to investigate the situation in depth and spot potential obstacles or opportunities, crucial for achieving the aims and objectives of our clients.
We can help identify those stakeholders that really matter, assess their relevance to the issues of interest and present our clients with a complete analysis and recommendations on how to shape their strategy and gain support for achieving their goals. Our services include, but are not limited to: Stakeholders identification & analysis; Stakeholders’ profiles; Strategic & tactical planning for dealing with stakeholders’ clusters.
Institutional Development Consultancy
Leadership or team focus? Incentives or restrictions? Revolutionary or evolutionary change? These and many other typical institutional dilemmas seem to have too many ‘magical’ answers but quite a few of these are working in practice. Moreover, universal solutions tend to become overall problems – this is where the story of the ‘guru-suspicious’ presenters ends and it’s time to get to the real hard work of shaping optimal institutional structure…
Our team has a vast experience in providing functioning solutions for synchronizing teams and leaders and their domains in the respective environments. Our flexible approach reaches from rapid analyses of the key factors in a particular organisation to long-term involvement in the organisation’s restructuring and development. Our staff has a track record of successes in management consultancy, change management and leadership coaching.
The constant increase in the amount and the speed of information flow creates new demand for crisis protection and mitigating the negative effects of already occurred contingencies. Planning the reaction in such situations can be crucial for further damage control.
We develop practical guides for our clients’ institutions, ranging the levels of risk in any particular case and clearly outlining the basic and the specific measures for mitigating the negative public reaction – spontaneous or driven. Scenario planning, regularly updated Q & A handbooks, etc. are some of the tools we develop for our clients. A set of practical trainings for the spokespersons of the organisation in a ‘stress-test-mode’ is complementing our approach toward managing crisis.
Strategic Networking Consultancy
Strategic networking is not a glittering generality – it is a new way of developing a set of relationships and information sources for leaders that create a better perspective for the future. Putting emphasis on new valuable contacts and sustainable relations helps the leaders to achieve better understanding and to create supporting coalitions.
We analyse our client’s current strategic network status and advice how to expand it and improve its efficiency. This service aims at both outlining and structuring the needed levels of network influence, as well as targeting specific individual stakeholders, potential clients and influencers.
Involving officers and managers in a process of constantly learning and acquiring new skills is a clear example of functioning synergy. It leads to an improved human capital but also the very process of training the teams creates new powerful impulses in the people to improve working processes, reconsider their performance and feel tremendously empowered.
We can provide a broad range of topical, tailor-made trainings, which are aimed at our client’s specific organisation challenges and plans, related to the real capacity demands of its staff. Professional tutors, coaches, university professors and renowned practitioners are part of our advanced platform for great training experience.
Research & Audits
Whether starting from a vague idea or re-evaluating an existing strategy, any organisation would need empirical and/or analytical information about current and future trends and attitudes.
We can assist our clients on researching a policy area, identifying key stakeholders, potential allies, influential pressure groups, etc. Our approach combines the conduct of professional research (often outsourced to top research companies) and analysis of results from polls, surveys, mystery client campaigns and other probative methods. As an ‘end product’, our clients get from us a clear assessment of the problem/opportunity researched and consultancy insight for the possible solutions.
Strategic & Operational Representation
Quite frequently a starting business or a limited activity in particular social or business environment would demand an irrationally high cost for maintaining a full-scale representation. Finding a reliable partner may be a suitable and secure solution for short to medium term.
Sometimes cultural differences or simply mistrust between parties are so high, that direct negotiations may only aggravate the situation. Engaging a capable intermediary understanding both parties’ goals, motivations and, quite importantly, fears, could make the difference between success and failure in such cases.
We offer a trusted, flexible and fully accountable partnership with proven track record and satisfied clients’ recommendations.
Our people are our main asset. We treat them with respect, providing an intellectually stimulating working environment and fair compensation. We also stimulate their professional development, provide training opportunities and support them to achieve their carrier goals. We encourage our consultants and advisers to be creative, to compete and cooperate at the same time (we call it coopetition – they all compete with each other in a healthy manner, while at the same time they support each other because failure of one is failure of all) in a friendly and stimulating atmosphere.
We have a relatively small number of permanent staff, while maintaining a network of privileged relations with some 50 plus consultants. This gives us both flexibility and capacity to cater to our clients’ needs at the highest professional level.
“Business diplomacy is perhaps no less important then state diplomacy. Many good projects of national importance failed because of poor diplomacy”
Kalin Borissov is the CEO of Stratcons who created an unique approach toward consultancy in Eastern Europe. He has over 30 years of varied professional experience, including Director for Trade and Transit at the Energy Charter Secretariat and Head of the EU Phare Multi-Country Programme for Environment office. He holds Masters in political economy from the Sofia Economic University (UNSS) in 1981 and Masters from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, MA, USA in 2003.
“It seems that we found the roots of human progress – lifelong learning and the desire to embrace and pursue it.”
Igor Damianov is stakeholders adviser with outstanding insider’s perspective in contemporary politics and education. He is doctor of Humanitarian Sciences and Professor in History and International Relations in the Sofia Economic University (UNSS). Doctor Honoris Causa at the St. Petersburg University of Economics. He has over 25 years distinguished career, including serving as Minister of Education (2003 – 2005).
“Dare to communicate and initiate new opportunities and the whole world will join you willingly.”
Boyan Koutevski is expert in PR and Reputation management bringing together practice and advanced theoretical approach to clients’ benefit. He holds PhD in political science and teaches Reputation management in the New Bulgarian University. Before that, he provided expertise on numerous marketing and political campaigns.
“Successful global business needs particular regional understanding. ”
Elizabeth is head of strategy with Stratcons. She is a renowned European expert in international development and held high-level positions in A-grade companies in the field of defence, energy, public transportation and environmental management. She has special expertise in waste management and thermal energy production and particular focus on French and Polish markets.
“Never forget that ‘business’ originally means to have a lot to do, most of the time!”
Emil Todorov – Emil is economic researcher and analyst and company’s most valuable trend watcher. Master in International Economic Relations, he gained significant professional experience in the Bulgarian field team of the World Bank Group as administrative officer of IFC and IBRD. Co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Corporate Governance Forum Bulgaria (CGFB).
“Good intuition always benefits from thorough research.”
Irena Hristova is financial researcher and analyst contributing to the in-depth approach of the company’s analytical services. She was chief dealer in the Bulgarian National Bank for almost a decade and renowned academic expert in financial stability policy.
“Grabbing the attention of journalists is easy – your business simply needs to be their first and most credible source of information.”
Anguel Grigorov is head of our media monitoring and keeps our clients up-to-date in the ever increasing news flow. He has been actively involved with the journalism since 2002, working in the news department of the Bulgarian National Radio and writing for several internet news sites.
“The routine of gathering and utilizing useful information makes the business a pleasant adventure.”
Simeon Damianov is data base manager and we grow our information array up-to-date and always ready for the clients’ demads. He is mathematician with degrees in psychology from the Sofia University and in Business Administration from the New Bulgarian University.
A long time ago in China, a philosopher was asked the first
thing he would do if he became ruler. The philosopher thought
for a while, and then said: well, if something had to be put first,
I would rectify the names for things. His companion was
baffled: what did this have to do with good government? The
philosopher lamented his companion's foolishness, and
explained. When the names for things are incorrect, speech does
not sound reasonable; when speech does not sound reasonable,
things are not done properly; when things are not done properly,
the structure of society is harmed; when the structure of
society is harmed, punishments do not fit the crimes; and when
punishments do not fit the crimes, the people don't know what
to do. The philosopher's name was Confucius, and he was
referring to a phenomenon that is all around us today…
We will publish occasionally here articles about issues of interest. These articles may be provocative or even challenge the boundaries of political correctness, but they will always be honest opinions and will strive to have the “names for things” correctly.
These articles represent solely the opinion and responsibility of their authors, which are not necessarily shared by Stratcons, though Stratcons obviously finds them worth publishing for various reasons, not the least for provoking a debate on the issue.
51, Al. Malinov Blvd, MetroCity, Office B16
1712 Sofia, Bulgaria
Tel: +359 (885) 120-766, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org