The Ledlie Group, an Atlanta-based corporate communications company, is the Georgia arm of a global alliance of public relations companies, according to Joe Ledlie, the company’s president.
Mr. Ledlie’s company, founded in 1998, provides training and communications aimed at helping companies and law firms avert or manage public relations crises.

The company was invited to join the Public Relations Global Network about seven years ago, during the “nascent stages” of the Ledlie Group’s development, Mr. Ledlie said.

Since establishing the company, Mr. Ledlie has seen the city of Atlanta, his firm and the network all become more internationally focused.

“Fifteen years ago world owners (in the network) never met anywhere but the U.S. because they were mostly North American,” Mr. Ledlie said. “Now we’ve got five continents covered, and we’re about to get into six with Africa.”

Despite the globalization of the industry, the United States is still the birthplace of corporate communications and the leader in the field, providing an example for international companies who have joined the network.

“Atlanta is an incubator for small businesses unlike any other in the U.S.,” Mr. Ledlie said. Unlike “publicly held, publicly regulated” corporations, these small businesses are too busy to worry about communications, so they need a company like his to do it for them, he added.

The U.S.’ longstanding role as the leader in the areas of environmental communications and employee relations has made Mr. Ledlie’s company attractive to other world firms. Crises often arise in these two areas in developing countries, Mr. Ledlie said.

The network’s 33 member firms span the globe, but they adhere to the same operational standards and guarantee one another’s work.

Unlike international umbrella corporations that use local names to mask their true ownership, the network’s member firms are all independently and locally owned, and the name on the door represents the company that lives or dies by its reputation, Mr. Ledlie said.

This “dual accountability”–to the customer and to member firms in other countries–keeps standards high and work efficient.

Mr. Ledlie calls the network an “old-fashioned system,” saying that the firms work well together and have held annual meetings in New York, Dublin, Ireland; Barcelona, Spain and Milan, Italy.

The network’s newest member firms are Athenora Consulting in Brussels, Belgium, and Shanghai WTM Marketing Service and PR Co. Ltd. in Shanghai, China.