International PR: How to Manage B2B PR in Europe
Despite Europe’s changing political landscape – no mention of the B-word here, mind – there remain consistent truths around how to approach B2B PR in each country across the continent.
As International MD of Berkeley Communications, I work with colleagues and partners across Europe. With these experts on the ground, we have a great insight into local PR requirements and in this piece I’ve asked our experts in the countries clients ask us most about to share their top tips for getting it right.
Below are a series of links to country-specific insights from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
Whether you’re active there or planning to kick things off, there are interesting nuggets of info to glean from these:
- Gilles gives his view on B2B PR in France
- Florian his view on B2B PR in Germany
- Piet gives his view on B2B PR in the Netherlands
- Estela gives her view on B2B PR in Spain here
For the rest of this piece, I’m going to share my experience of the general principles you need to consider around pan-European PR.
If you oversee an international marketing effort, chances are you’ll have a helicopter view of the markets that enables you to spot trends and exceptions. So this piece is for you. While some elements are more obvious than others, it’s worth having a reference point like this to fine tune your efforts.
Think countries, not a single continent
Don’t think of Europe as a single place.
It’s made up of 50 countries, has 24 official languages, spans four standard time zones, has a rich history and many proud cultures.
This has to be at the heart of your European communications strategy.
Take this on-board at the start of your planning. Be clear on which countries require your focus and what sets them apart from the others on your list.
Embrace the language properly
English is widely spoken throughout Europe but that doesn’t mean you can take short cuts on communications.
Some marketers think simply changing the language of press materials is enough to run a pan-European campaign from the UK (or even the US). This is simply not true.
Likewise, using Google Translate with English language campaign materials is not a viable option. I’ve had that argument on more than one occasion.
Treating the local language with the respect it deserves is critical.
It’s also important to have someone on the ground to manage local journalist engagement.
If the market matters to your brand, use local language and support to make this clear to the media.
Local talking points rule
Imagine organising a meeting with a key media outlet and your CEO in a market you want to make waves in.
They’ve seen the press release about the extent of your plans for the business so they already know your ‘news’. What they really want to understand is what that news means for their readers.
They ask your CEO about the market dynamics in the country. The interviewer wants an opinion on new proposed legislation. They need a soundbite on recent corruption scandals embroiling a local competitor. But your CEO knows nothing about these issues and has no answer.
In the blink of an eye your company’s opportunity has gone, its credibility in that country hanging by a thread because it’s clear to the journalist you’re not up to speed with what matters.
Preparing the groundwork with relevant, localised insight and talking points is essential.
Journalists are under no obligation to write about your company. Give them a compelling, positive reason to do so in that country.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
Each country’s PR needs is unique.
Budgets, currencies, politics, language and cultures all vary and have a big impact on how your activity should be framed.
The media is busier, savvier and more connected than ever before. Providing the most tailored, relevant story about your company is critical.
My solution? Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Focus on a couple of strategically important countries in the first instance, maximise that investment and start to establish an effective framework.
From there can you implement a well thought out and personalised campaign across each country.
This series tells you what’s expected, accepted and effective across Europe and highlight some of the things you need to avoid in you PR effort.
If you’d like to discuss your international PR requirements, feel free to get in touch on email@example.com.