Do you really need a global PR agency?


 

We get it – your target audience is global which means your PR and marketing efforts need to have global reach and global relevance. The natural conclusion is therefore that you need a global PR agency. And if your budget is in the seven-figure region, that’s probably the right conclusion to draw.

But if it’s not, then you need to think laterally about how you are going to develop and implement a global PR campaign. Here are your options:

1.    Multinational PR firm

This is an option if you have deep pockets and local offices to manage each of their agencies. Awesome.  

But beware: quality control can be an issue. Think about how multinational firms are built – a successful company decides to go global, so they acquire agencies in the markets that are of interest. While we’d all love to think that they choose their acquisition targets based on which companies they think will offer their clients the best results in their local markets, the reality is that they acquire agencies that are for sale (immediately limiting the pool), and that have appealing financials. 

The result is big global businesses that claim global reach, but are really just a collection of smaller agencies throughout the world. As the client, you’ll enjoy a single invoice, but that comes with great service in their strong markets and poor to average service in their weaker markets.

2.    A PR firm in each market

The benefit of appointing an individual PR firm in each of your markets is that your strategy will be very localised and you can quite easily sack underperforming agencies.

Of course, this option brings with it quite a lot of wheel re-inventing, so is ideal for marketing departments with unlimited time and no interest in cost efficiencies.

3.    A lead agency

Finding one lead agency to appoint and manage multiple other agencies in the markets you are targeting eliminates the time constraints of the previous option. If your lead agency is a strong, trusted supplier, they can act like an extension of your team, keeping the other agencies in check and producing single reports that cover all your target markets and can easily be taken to board meetings. It goes without saying that this approach is not cheap - you will have to pay the lead agency for their management expertise, as well as foot the bill of each individual agency they appoint on your behalf, so you won’t benefit from any cost efficiencies.

At TopLine, we act as the lead agency on a couple of our client accounts. It works for them – we love helping them define their global strategies and we also love all the different accents on our conference calls!

4.    A local, trusted agency with international reach and regional support where it matters

When you consider that BBC News reaches almost half a billion households across the world; the International New York times is read in 130 countries; Wall Street Journal has dedicated print editions in Asia and Europe (not to mention its enormous digital reach); and Al Jazeera has over 40 million viewers across 20+ countries in the Arab world; the notion of global PR suddenly becomes more exciting.

Add to this the recent rise of the digital nomad, and we see a real opportunity to think laterally about meeting your global PR requirements. Do you really need a large multinational PR firm with swanky headquarters and an employee travel budget that rivals some countries’ GDP? Do you need an agency in every port?

Or would a more economical (and sensible) solution be to find a really good B2B PR agency, whose reach goes beyond their local market. That’s our approach at TopLine. So if you're in need of a great European PR agency, look no further. We run very successful PR campaigns in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, South Africa and Dubai, all from our London HQ. Because we know good PR is about creating good stories and taking them to the media in an intelligent and relevant way, and we have access to a global journalist database, we are able to run global PR campaigns relatively easily. Where there is a requirement for more specialist local knowledge, or where we don’t speak the local language, we source local specialists to provide support. We’ve done this successfully in China, France, Germany, the Netherlands and across Africa.

That way our clients don’t need people on the ground in each country to deal with a local PR agency, but they also don’t have to face the high cost of an international agency, and we ensure message consistency and quality control. – when a local partner doesn't perform, we find a replacement.

If you would like to discuss your global PR requirements with an expert, then contact Heather, our CEO.

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