As an agency, we’ve been managing international PR programmes for clients for over 20 years – delivering award-winning campaigns that combine local expertise with a single point of coordination and accountability.
Since joining Wildfire in November 2015, I’ve had the opportunity to lead global campaigns for a number of our B2B clients. Almost seven years later, I’m pleased to say that it’s still one of my professional passions.
My main experience, however, lies in building pan-EMEA PR networks and programmes for my clients with ambitions to expand and grow across the region. I’ve worked closely with my teams over the years to develop watertight processes to empower our local PR partners with the materials, support, and autonomy they need to execute locally.
The EMEA hub and spoke approach
Before I go into the ins and outs of building and managing pan-EMEA PR networks and programmes, I thought it would be useful to share more about the approach we adopt for our clients — and why this works.
As the hub agency, one of our main roles is to work with our clients to develop core narratives for the region, messaging, thought leadership content, as well as the bigger strategic campaigns.
We then share these materials with the spoke agencies i.e., our PR partners on the ground, to localise for their market. It’s important that we give our partners the autonomy and flexibility to create their own storylines and angles, as they know their market and media the best.
The benefit of having a hub agency means that a lot of the initial thinking and strategic planning is centralised, so the agencies can focus on executing and generating those all-important results locally.
Finding the right partners
It goes without saying that finding the right partners to work with is very important and we play a central role in helping our clients build their network.
We work with our clients to create RFPs (more on this in my next blog), create shortlists, evaluate agency responses and attend the pitches. Being on the other side of the pitching process has been an eye opener and has reinforced to me the importance of putting forward aspects such as relevant client experience and agency credentials, solid media relationships, and a desire to be a long-term partner. Creativity and having the right strategic approach are also key considerations.
As a proud member of PROI Worldwide – a network of more than 80 independent agencies across 50 countries and 100 cities – we’re not short of local agencies to recommend to our clients. Having worked with many of our PROI partners over the years, we know which agencies will be the right fit and our independence means we can easily navigate any conflicts of interest and bring multiple options to the table.
Once we’ve got the right partners on board, it’s important that we quickly bring them up to speed on our comms plans and processes so they can hit the ground running from day one.
Coordination, communication, and collaboration
Having an organised and dynamic hub team is crucial, particularly when you’re managing anywhere between one to 10 agency partners at one time. On top of our strategic thinking and consultancy role, which our clients value hugely, we also pride ourselves on our slick day-to-day coordination and communication with our partners.
From hosting regular calls to updating the network on upcoming campaigns and content, to creating centralised content hubs for campaign assets – our job is to set our agencies up for success.
Finally, reporting…this is a must-have, especially for large clients who need to regularly report on EMEA activity and its impact to the corporate comms team. Our key consideration is quality of information without unnecessary admin — so everyone in the network can focus on driving a programme that makes a difference.
As mentioned above, building pan-EMEA PR networks and programmes is a professional passion of mine and I’d love to continue to share more about my experiences with working with clients and EMEA agencies over the years.
If you’re a tech brand and are considering scaling your communications across EMEA or internationally, get in touch with the team today.