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Forget Brexit. European PR network collaboration is alive and well

Posted by Louise Palmer on 26th April 2017

With Brexit and European elections dominating the news agenda, it was an interesting time for the Wildfire team to bring together some of our key agency partners across EMEA last week.

We met with 15 technology PR professionals representing 18 countries across Europe and the Middle East, starting with a quick ‘round the table’ introduction session that happily brought more of a  Eurovision flavour to the proceedings than the formalities of a European Union meeting.

We were together to share experiences, learn from each other and embrace the diversity of our PR network. We came with open minds and all agreed readily to banish stereotypes. It started well, with a quick round of ‘what’s your favourite app’ as an icebreaker. Top favourites included WhatsApp, Facebook, Wunderlist and Spotify ­­– until the Italians highlighted the Vivino wine app and the Brits mentioned The Archers’ podcast…

As the two-day agenda progressed, it seemed the motto of the EU – united in our diversity – was playing out really rather well in our PR network compared to Europe’s political stage, as we discussed how we could evolve our roles in today’s business world:

1. International PR campaigns need to be planned and managed centrally, but on-the-ground teams must be given the autonomy to apply their local expertise. There’s rarely a case for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for EMEA.

2. PR is not about being a press release distribution machine – in any country. We need to be telling stories and bringing together multiple assets to deliver campaign messages, whether it’s video, apps, or social media initiatives.

3. Research fatigue is creeping in among Europe’s media, as journalists are increasingly bombarded with stats and data. Tell them what the data actually means, rather than what it says.

4. Take PR out of a communications silo to unleash its true potential. Give PR teams a view on product roadmaps, invite them to your marketing sync-ups, share your digital plan, integrate them into your content marketing approach.

5. Challenging traditional views of PR and pushing the boundaries of what our profession can achieve is vital to increase the perceived value of our profession.

I came away feeling enlightened, motivated and empowered after the time I spent with our EMEA colleagues. Through collaboration and conversation there’s a lot we can learn from each other and achieve together as a network.

But I also picked up a few extra snippets of insight along the way…

  • It’s probably best to avoid visiting Italy until the weather warms up a bit or take a blanket with you. The heating is turned off from 15 April until 15 October. It’s the law…
  • Sweeping countryside running alongside the M25 is odd; the Swedes were aghast at the sheer volume of sheep that graze next to the busiest motorway in Britain.
  • Everyone loves Primark. It’s a brand with no boundaries. But don’t go to the store in Paris, as the three floors are (apparently) far from adequate for today’s shopper.

Find out more about Wildfire’s PR network and how we approach international PR campaigns: https://www.wildfirepr.com/services/international-wildfire-connect/

Photo credit.

Louise Palmer

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile and versatile Associate Director and fantastic resource for the team, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.