Why Listening to Local Knowledge Can Make or Break Global PR Campaigns

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Why Listening to Local Knowledge Can Make or Break Global PR Campaigns

When it comes to rolling out global PR campaigns, you will be faced with a multitude of choices and challenges to navigate. For example, how to achieve consistent results across all regions, while also making sure work is shared among teams to avoid double effort and fee for the same results.

Local knowledge is always at the heart of achieving results. That’s why we always recommend rolling out global campaigns through a network of local agencies who can work cohesively as one account team.

As a lead agency with experience in executing global PR campaigns, we embrace the task of not only being the primary point of contact for our client, but also having the responsibility to ensure we get the most out of the other agencies we partner with regardless of what country they operate in.

We spoke to our partner agencies that we regularly work with to find out their views.

The secret of success

Two key factors to consider are to thoroughly listen to partners and build a strong open relationship, as highlighted by Robert Brownlie, Associate Account Executive at Los Angeles-based PR firm Bob Gold & Associates.

“When working with a lead agency on a global PR rollout, collaboration and fluid communication are key, building trust and operating as if we are a part of the same agency. In this regard, we want to mutually understand the goals behind success metrics and to be able to study and share what has worked and what hasn’t. This helps us go beyond simply checking in boxes to meet deliverables and enables us to work as a successful team that builds and promotes a powerful client narrative.

“What we don’t want is to operate in a siloed vacuum or to go long periods without touching base. Even if two agencies are operating on separate sides of the globe, it’s important to communicate often and use each other’s resources,” added Brownlie.

This open method of communication gives each agency a platform they can comfortably express which specific tactics will engage the end audience in their region.

Listen to the locals

When operating as a lead agency, understanding the core differences in region and listening to each agency’s requirements can be the difference between success and failure.

Alain Blaes, General Manager at Munich-based communications consultancy PR-COM said: “In our experience, openness to understanding a regional agency’s needs is paramount to a successful campaign, as media landscapes vary drastically between regions. From big picture topics such as media strategy, to individual by-line topics, what works in one region may not work in another, and no one knows these ins and outs like a local agency.

“The German media values a local touch. A common misconception is that out-of-town executives will be shoo-ins for interviews with the business press when they visit Germany, but that isn’t the case. German journalists want to hear experts comment on their strategy, and back their statements up with experience in the local market. They aren’t interested in the marketing-speech common in the US, for example.”

It’s also worth adding, that these regional nuances might not be what your client wants to hear, but it’s your responsibility to not just share this with the client, but actively work with the regional agency to establish what will work – and what techniques will be effective.

Don’t break the budget

When planning a PR campaign that will ‘take the globe by storm’, realistic budget planning is crucial, as highlighted by Lauren Brush, Associate Account Director at Dubai-based Active Digital Marketing Communications Agency.

“The most difficult thing for US or European companies to understand is how expansive the Middle East is. Organisations often believe that a similar budget that equates to one European country will suffice for the whole MENA region, which isn’t the case. The Middle East consists of very different countries and they all approach journalism and target audiences in different ways. For example, in Saudi Arabia there needs to be a focus on digital as the media landscape isn’t as vast, while the UAE has a wide media landscape that includes both English speaking and Arabic journalists, which often requires additional translation costs.

“When multiple agencies work together, collaboration is key and sometimes agencies can tend to try and compete with each other in front of the client. This is often counterproductive, so establishing respect and two-way communication from the outset is crucial. That’s why working with Whiteoaks is easy, because it’s clear that we work as a partnership which helps achieves stronger results for the client.”

Our approach

At Whiteoaks International, we believe that local insight is priceless and pride ourselves on being able to lead the deployment of global PR campaigns for clients by working with local PR agencies across the globe through the WIN PR Group, an instant international PR network that covers over 70 countries. Our approach allows clients to tap into a wealth of local knowledge while benefitting from consistent strategic planning and account management delivered by the Whiteoaks team. We develop the best option that will meet your needs for global PR, whether that’s working with agencies from our WIN PR Group, selecting your own local agencies and working within our IPM structure, a combination of these two approaches, or leveraging active relationships with your local network of PR agencies and adopting the Whiteoaks IPM approach.