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UK: Tops and Flops in international PR

Today our series features Duncan McKean, Account Director Telecoms at CCGroup, GlobalCom PR Network partner in the UK, who gives us some insights into “Tops and Flops” in the British market (http://www.ccgrouppr.com/).

 

 

PR topics: tops and flops – what works best in your market?

In the UK, how to communicate, or more precisely, what to communicate depends very much on who we’re attempting to influence and why. Trade reporters, for instance, will have a greater interest in market dynamics and how a client fits into what’s happening across the industry. Meanwhile, national & business reporters will be more interested in how a client is reshaping or disrupting an industry or a pre-conceived way of doing things. For business reporters, insight into industry/corporate financials is almost imperative.

Whether trade or business, reporters will expect to hear strong opinions and carefully thought through arguments, and will reject without question any content or views which use arcane, trite phrases such as “…the world’s leading” or “end-to-end solution”.

With perhaps only one or two exceptions, product news is never covered. Similarly, any content that attempts to position a client or its products as “industry leading” will likely be rejected. However, strong “fear, uncertainty and doubt” (“FUD”) stories that show how an industry “might lose more than XX $billion” or a new technique that “could save organisations YY % of spend” will usually get the attention of most media.

We also see press releases as merely the start of communications with media, and not the end of the process. We try to support campaign press releases with other content including white papers, primary research, backgrounders, viewpoint articles etc.

How important is industry expertise in your daily PR work?

Industry experience and expertise in UK media relations is absolutely critical – especially in telecoms and mobile. UK media are at best highly cynical and base their reporting on their own industry knowledge which they accumulate from hundreds of interviews on a range of topics.

Some of the more cruel UK media take pleasure in identifying non-expert PRs, “calling their bluff” and making life difficult. Thankfully not all of them are so unkind, but rather than take a chance, the rule is, know your stuff before you engage with media in the UK!

Are integrated international PR programs beneficial for your work?

Whether or not to conduct integrated PR programmes depends very much on the global business objectives and strategy of the client. As such, we find that we could run an equal number of international as well as local campaigns.

However, when international campaigns are required – for example, the launch of a new company, a change in corporate positioning, a major campaign, or a significant organisational milestone such as an acquisition, it’s vital that all communications are synchronised and unified. “Top level” messaging is essential, with enough in-built flexibility to tailor messages for individual local market dynamics and conditions. Synchronised activity between PR agencies is therefore essential.

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