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Yasmine Boucetta

Published on

March 4, 2020


data, global comms, global communications, LEWIS Hub

We’ve all heard this before: global brands need to think global, but act local. After all, that’s what helps build a strong brand that is close to its customers. How can they do this? With data, of course.

Take some of the largest global brands as examples: Amazon, Apple, BMW, Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Uber. What do they all have in common? They have the perfect mix of thinking global and acting local across their operations and marketing. They convey the same brand message and have the same brand architecture, but understand how this should be communicated differently in each country to resonate and connect with local audiences.

Like many other global brands, they pull insights from their local marketing teams to understand local customers – from psychology to life habits and purchasing behaviours. Crucially, they then apply this insight to their global communications.

Global communications is not just a matter of translating content and pushing it across multiple countries within an appropriate time zone. It takes a deep understanding of each local market which needs to be balanced with a strong global brand message.

With the increase of data – and therefore insight – available, it should become easier for brands to understand their customers and prospects, and to develop appropriate strategies and tactics. But remember, whilst it is tempting to look at data in siloes it is also vital to look across in order to gain true insights.

With the right insights, brands can better understand what customers want and need, where and how they are purchasing, and who they’re competing with. With this knowledge, they can deliver campaigns and communications in a very localised manner. This means that what you discover about the UK or US markets is unlikely to apply to Germany, India or Australia. Your brand message should be consistent globally, but your local approach should be flexible enough to include localised messages and proof-points.

Let’s showcase this through a specific case: a pan-European PR programme, for example. Say you’re in a global or pan-European marketing and communications role, and you’d like to make sure your European PR programme is highly relevant, drives good results and supports the local business. Developing trust and credibility will be crucial to this programme.

With the help of a European PR agency, you will be able to build credibility and trust in each individual market. This trust and credibility can be enhanced by following a few simple tips.

Tips for pan-European PR Programmes

Have local operations and people on the ground

It’s simply not enough to say that your business operates globally. Your audiences, including customers, partners and the media, will need to see you have a local website, local presence and will want to speak to local spokespeople who understand the local market specifics and trends.

Analyse the local market media landscape

If you want to gain coverage in a local market, you will need to understand the media landscape. The number of outlets, style and tone varies per market which means it’s important to consider this for your business strategy and content strategy. Our global communications guide can help you get started.

Adapt your go-to-market strategy to reflect the local sales priorities

Some of your products may be more or less popular country to country, so your media strategy can’t be all the same for the whole of Europe. Define specific KPIs and tactics for each country, reflecting the appropriate strategy.

Tailor your message

Follow the global brand messages for overall brand consistency, but tailor the local messages and proof points to appeal to the local customers’ needs. Assess whether the messages are clear internally, and relevant and engaging externally. You will also need to check your local spokespeople can deliver these messages effectively.

Localise your content

If you’re an American company, for example, it’s not sufficient to translate US content into French, German or Spanish. You need to localise it, by adding local references (local spokesperson for the quote, local customer reference, local statistics to back up the message, etc.) and hyperlinks to your local website.

Evaluate local outcomes

One huge mistake global brands often make is to compare countries when it comes to evaluating results. Given the media landscape varies per country, and that the media strategy and tactics are tailored to each country, results should not be compared as they’re simply not comparable. Instead, measure outcomes against local KPIs and see how they improve over time. Make sure also to align PR results and SEO/SEM marketing efforts to show impact on the local business (e.g. increase of web traffic, leads, share of voice, positive reputation, etc.).

Implement a Hub and Spoke model to drive efficiencies

If you run a pan-European PR programme in three markets or more, it makes sense to consider having a Hub to ensure it runs efficiently and effectively. The Hub function should be able to help you define your European PR strategy and plan (including KPI definition), craft creative ideas and European content (for adaption by each market), coordinate efforts to drive consistency and avoid duplication, and analyse outcomes. The Hub is a central point of contact for you when you need to provide a brief, expand your programme into further markets or when you need advice around new approaches and services. This approach ultimately drives performance and value-creating innovation.

The European PR programme example above would not work efficiently without using insight and data. If you work with a European PR agency, make sure it understands how to adapt global strategies that support local priorities, by using the data.

Look back at each point above, data is essential in every step of the process, from understanding the local market and local media landscape to assessing how your message and brand resonates in each market. Data should drive communications strategies and help brands tailor their programmes for each region.

Check out this LEWIS global communications guide with tips for effective global communications and view our European PR services for more advice. Ready to get started? Contact us at [email protected] to find out how we can help your business.

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