‘News’ Category

Unlocking synergy by integrating PR and Digital

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

The lines between marketing and PR are becoming increasingly blurred. Throw digital in to the equation and things get very complicated. In an age when information saturation is at an all-time high, brands must constantly look for new ways to cut through the noise and deliver meaningful messages. One of the ways they are doing this is by adopting an integrated marketing-advertising-digital-PR strategy which transcends traditional ideas of how brand messages are communicated.

For years PR and Digital have worked single-handedly, yet what clients and brands are failing to realise is how well they can work together and more importantly, learn from each other to provide an all-round stronger and successful campaign.

Digital marketing has become the shiny new buzz word being used at every opportunity in the marketing and communications industry.  When it comes to content creation and implementation, digital and PR can be very powerful. Clients are recognising the importance of top quality content especially when interesting and engaging content can improve a site’s SEO. Typically, web masters and SEO experts work to improve the rank of sites through Google but by also creating high quality and innovative sites that consumers will want to use and share. Once the technical part is thought out, it is imperative to focus on producing interesting, eye catching and shareable content that is appealing to the target market, which PR agencies have the experience in. The PR industry has been writing eye catching content for years for brand campaigns, be it last minute or pre planned, so it makes sense that content creation is something that can benefit digital marketing.

Digital can learn a lot from PR in how to manage a crisis should it arise, such as bad situations, unhappy customers, customer complaints, etc. This also focuses on the reputation on the brand and how PR can look after this. William Orr, MD of home installations, British Gas, has predicted that reputation is going to be big for companies in 2016.

The PR function requires a constant online presence in its daily activities. Media monitoring is no longer confined to the newspapers, extending to online news sites, news aggregate sites and blogs depending on the client’s needs. Social media is one such grey area which straddles both PR and digital marketing functions. However social media cannot be approached with the same mind frame as any other form of media.

New media is both an opportunity and a challenge for PR practitioners. It is an opportunity for PR practitioners to strengthen relationships with consumers, which underpins all PR campaigns. It also allows them to reach new consumers faster and easier than can be done with traditional media. However it is also a challenge because of the loss of control over the message. One of the defining elements of online media, whether it is social media or online publications, is its ability to open up a two way conversation between brand and client.

PR, advertising and marketing all seek to achieve the same goal; brand building. How they vary is in their methods. By integrating marketing communications a synergy is unlocked which can create truly memorable campaigns.

Ciara Macken and Andrea Wubben

Having a lasting impact with your Christmas campaign

Monday, December 21st, 2015

The Christmas season is starting earlier and earlier each year with the starting gun sounding the day after Halloween.  The commercial changing of leaves happened in an instant, with the orange and black of Halloween turning into festive red and green in the blink of an eye.

As Christmas starts earlier each year, PR teams need to begin brainstorming for a successful client Christmas campaign as early as August and September! Speaking to The Journal, Brown Thomas’ managing director Stephen Sealey explained that the reason they launched their Christmas markets back in August is because their product “sells early”.

Consumer’s spending habits are changing. It was reported by Gavin Mcloughlin in the Irish Independent that this year consumers are to spend less this Christmas than in previous years. On average, Irish consumers spend up to €600 at Christmas. However, this year it has decreased to €564. Research from the US sheds some light on this trend in that Christmas spending is no longer restricted to November and December, it’s also happening earlier in the year.

Christmas is a special opportunity for marketers and brand specialists alike to strike a bond with consumers and to create loyalty that lasts beyond the tinsel seasons and creates a halo effect of loyalty and interaction with your brand year round.

This year, we have seen numerous high profile campaigns such as the John Lewis ad, the Debenhams ‘Found It’ ad, Lidl’s virtual school of Christmas, the Three Christmas cloud come to life and the Coca Cola Christmas ad gets interactive as it launches its truck tour around Ireland. Brands such as these, are fully aware of the importance of customer interaction in today’s social media driven society.

When looking at the most successful and innovative marketers and retailers and the ways in which they approach Christmas, their strategies are to secure customer loyalty throughout the year and not just during Christmas. Whether this be encouraging customers to subscribe or register for online accounts to create regular purchase habits, use discount based rewards for loyal customers, or executing secret sales in stores, or events in hidden locations, customers seem to be constantly involved and devoted throughout the year. They are less reliant on the traditional Christmas holiday shopping season as they have yearlong interactive strategies.

We are seeing brand specialists, marketers and retailers becoming less reliant on November and December Christmas sales to be their most successful time for revenue victory. Forward-thinking businesses are finding ways to drive growth throughout the year.  I’ll raise a glass to that!

Saoirse O’Kane



Time for female sports sponsorship to get off the bench

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

As marketing strategy has evolved over the last 30 years, the scope of the sponsorship landscape has changed dramatically. In particular, sports sponsorship has evolved from brands wanting to be seen as “cool” by association with on-trend events to one of the most important weapons in a brand’s marketing arsenal.

With more money being invested into sporting partnerships each year, perhaps it’s time for brands to take a step back and look at the opportunities in the emerging market of women’s sport and female sports fans.


Girl Power

Marketers have always acknowledged the power of the female purse, and with 70-80% of women driving consumer purchasing its difficult not to. Women also have the multiplier effect as they tend to purchase on behalf of others, making them multiple markets in one. However, the power of the female sports fan has not always received the same consideration.  Female contribution towards the global economy is also increasing so female spending power cannot be under estimated.  The global incomes of women are predicted to reach a staggering $18 trillion by 2018, according to global professional firm Ernst & Young.

In the past, being a sports fan may have been predominately associated with men, but women are increasingly consuming sports, both in terms of attending and watching sporting events. Also the number of women participating in sport is also on the up. Understanding which sports women watch and participate in, as well as the type of sponsorships that appeal to women is paramount to brands and potential sponsors.

Most brands have not yet figured out how the female market fully relates to their sponsorship strategies – understanding the make-up of sporting audiences and creating a story that transcends gender is key. Some brands have experienced the benefits of this and P&Gs “Thank You Mum” campaign which ran around the London 2012 Olympic Games, is a perfect example. The campaign engaged the key buyer of P&G products, mothers, in an emotive way that worked across different countries, cultures and importantly their brands. “Thank You Mum” was brought to life through TV, print, on-pack, PR and online videos which featured the mothers of some of the 150 P&G ambassador athletes, including our own Katie Taylor. In total the videos received 24.6 million views and the campaign generated an estimated $500 million in sales globally. What makes the “Thank You Mum” campaign stand out is that it tells a story that transcends race, gender and geography and by extension, it elevates the P&G brand as one that is both inclusive and progressive.


Stepping into the Spotlight

Women’s sport has routinely been side-lined in the past, but recently female sports stars have been receiving more airtime with the likes of Katie Taylor, Stephanie Roche and the Irish women’s rugby team reminding us of how influential women can be in a male-dominated space. And the appetite for women’s sport is growing – the 2015 Ladies All-Ireland Football Final had a record attendance of 31,083, making the game the highest attended women’s sporting event in Europe this year. Last year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup was also a record-breaker in terms of  TV viewing figures, media coverage and match attendances.

There is strong evidence to suggest that the return on investment for brands involved in women’s sport is better and more rewarding than the return for sponsorships with their male counterparts. Women’s sport is significantly cheaper to invest in, is a less cluttered space, resonates with communities and brings opportunities for large exposure outside of the regular channels.

When Newton Investment Management took up sponsorship of The Women’s Boat Race in the UK five years ago the athletes looked for just £30,000 of sponsorship money between them. The resulting partnership meant that the rowers no longer had to cover the high costs of their participation themselves and eventually lead to the BBC broadcasting the Women’s Boat Race live alongside the men’s race to an audience of 4.8 million in April of this year. According to the sponsors the boat race has brought threefold return since 2012, with the figure expected to rise between five and 10 times this year.

Helena Morrissey, Chief Executive of Newton Investment Management has been quoted saying “[Our] sponsorship of the Women’s Boat Race has more than paid for itself; we’ve had unequivocal positive PR and feedback and we have benefitted from the association with completely transforming something. There is also an appetite to be seen to be committed to gender diversity. Decisions about whether to invest cannot be made on existing viewing figures. Instead companies must consider what the viewing figures could be if there was an investment and meaningful partnerships between all concerned.”

Brands are continuously seeking out emerging and growing sponsorship properties that help them build brand love.  There has never been a better time to look upon the largely untapped market of women in sport.  Stephanie Roche may not have got her hands on the coveted Puskás Award but she definitely captured hearts and minds.  Support for women in sport can most certainly put brand love and loyalty in the back of the net.

Niamh Hickey is a Senior Consultant with MCsquared @ Murray, Ireland’s leading strategic brand communications agency.




Uncovering Brand Advocates through Social Customer Care

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Social customer care is the new handshake and “how do you do?” that has the ability to convert customers into brand advocates and loyal customers. With engagement the new name in the metric game for marketers, brands are rapidly trying all that they can to build a social footprint that engages the consumer and fosters brand loyalty.

For any brand that prides itself on providing good customer service to its army of brand advocates offline, it’s a no-brainer that this should be the case online too.


Timeliness is Key

Responsiveness on social is fundamental for any brand looking to build a solid reputation for good customer care. If a customer query or complaint is left unanswered for a week, it will further upset the customer, who by this time, has probably told more people in their social circles about the negative experience than if a resolution was offered in a reasonable amount of time. Timeliness is key i.e. getting in there promptly and engaging with the customer to make sure you find a resolution as quickly as possible.



Customer service is a two-way street and social media facilitates that.  It allows brands to be personable and put a more human face on social care (if done right). A customer may just want to vent, so brands need to listen first, before engaging. Too often, brands fire back in defence mode without taking on board what the customer is actually saying. A scripted customer service ‘holding’ response for common complaints may be a time-savvy way to respond to as many interactions as possible, but what they lack, is a human side and a sympathetic ear. If a customer wants something fixed, then they need to feel that action will be taken. The end game to any complaint must always be a resolution.


Create a Team That Can

Social media is an empowering tool for any brand, but it can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. Be sure that you are using social media for the right purpose and aren’t just creating profiles for the sake of checking the social media box. A rich and dedicated team is at the heart of any social customer service team, so make sure you have the people behind it to make it work. If you create a social account that’s customer service heavy, then the rule is simple: you are always on. Ensure someone is there who has their eyes on it all the time, because otherwise it’s a waste. A robust team that’s prepped to monitor social streams will ensure responses are not only timely but personable. Template answers can serve a purpose but don’t be afraid to be more personable as less rigid responses go a long way to boosting customer sentiment.

Social media teams need to listen from the viewpoint of the customer, lend a sympathetic ear and possess the ability to talk to them about their issues from the customer perspective.


Keep an Eye on the Competition

Almost all businesses put a huge focus on competitor research, and almost all sectors have consumer review sites where customers share their positive and negative experiences. As brand guardians, we watch out for brand specific mentions in daily newspapers, magazines, radio and television, we need to ensure that we are ‘always on’ and tuned in to what competitors are doing. If all your rivals to have special offer or promotions that are getting great traction, it might be worth considering launching one, or you could miss out on custom.


Think Before Hitting the Delete Button:

Unless your customers are posting profane or offensive content, it is never a good idea to delete posts. Every negative post is an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service and communications skills while also improving your relationship with the customer.

Brands that are successful on social media fully understand the power of engaging with customers even those who have a negative taste in their mouth.  And while it may seem challenging at the time, just as occurs in the offline world, it is extremely rewarding to see a negative post or opinion of your brand evolve into a positive one, especially as your whole community get to witness it.


The key to effective and successful social customer care is ensuring what you’re putting out there as a brand is what your customers want, and not what you think they want. Getting to this point means getting your social team and your timing right.  It’s a combination of dedication, forward thinking, and as always with exemplary customer service, having a commitment to finding a positive resolution.


Orlagh Ryan is a Consultant at MCsquared and Murray, Ireland’s leading strategic branding communication consultancy. 



Sponsoring sport’s a risky business but GAA might be the exception

Friday, September 18th, 2015

The All-Ireland football final, the pinnacle of every Gaelic footballer’s career puts both teams, both sets of players and management in the spotlight. The weeks leading up to the game is also a prime time for sponsors involved with both teams with additional media coverage and focus. Getting to the final weekend of the year is also a reward for sponsors, in a way, providing a big day out.

Soccer was in the spotlight during the Summer, but for all the wrong reasons.  As FIFA descended into corruption chaos, the aftershocks to the sport’s sponsors are catastrophic.  Soccer’s goodwill and the halo effect that attracted the brands to FIFA in the first instance is depleting rapidly as the news story takes hold.

Sponsoring sport always carries a risk, but usually when individual stars are involved – hence many brands’ preference for sporting categories rather than heroes.  Thorough risk assessment pre-signing is not just prudent it’s also pragmatic, allowing concerns and caveats to be aired at the outset.

Few sports are beyond reproach, especially as sport has now been elevated to the heady heights of God-like achievement and aspiration.  To many, clubs are like a religion to be followed and adored with passion, which is why certain clubs and sports attract such willing investors, but at what price and at what risk?

The GAA may just be the exception, as a brand and a sport that is reasonably removed from adverse publicity.  I’m not suggesting it’s squeaky clean in publicity terms, but it courts less chaos than other sporting factions.   There is still all the zeal, the pious fervour and the commitment that brands want to emulate, but with more opportunities – from local, to families, to national events – and less exposure.

According to the Onside Industry Survey 2015, GAA is seen to offer the best ‘value for money’ in terms of Irish sponsorships and this is the case for many reasons – not least of all is the relevance of GAA at local community and county level.  It could be argued that the ordinary ‘man on the street’ identifies with GAA stars more so than other sports stars, for an array of reasons, including the likelihood of seeing these players active in their local communities (not just on the telly!), recognising the level of dedication and commitment that’s required of amateur players, and an appreciation of the skill level of a truly unique sport.

Sponsorship is more than just a logo on a county jersey.  Sponsors demand more and the Championship delivers: providing players and management for media events, engaging with the sponsor’s own business and CSR initiatives; and offering exclusive competition prizes, can all be effective methods of maximising the value and impact of such a sponsorship asset. Experiential activity too has proven itself as a way of extracting additional value, using the available properties to leverage the brand in the eyes of existing and potential customers.

The digital space and access to social media channels adds a further important platform to sponsors. Building up digital content is an extremely effective method of engaging fans and reinforcing the association between brand and sponsor.

It’s important to consider some simple guidelines from the outset to maximise GAA sponsorships.  These include:


–          Undertaking a pre-sponsorship appraisal to ensure the sponsorship fits as part of an overall strategy and assess potential risks involved

–          Establishing a good relationship with all relevant stakeholders

–          Ensuring goals and objectives are outlined and agreed at the outset of the partnership

–          Creating an activity road map for the season

–          Focusing on digital elements to maximise social media and online channels

The arrests of senior FIFA officials earlier this Summer rocked the sporting world. Not only does this news obviously impact on the organisation itself, it will also have shocked existing sponsors to their core.

The GAA, whilst not beyond reproach is arguably in a safer position and less likely to bring your brand into disrepute than other sports which exist on a global scale yet having a risk assessment completed will make things a lot easier if crisis strikes.

Sponsor’s goals and objectives will have been set in the hope of teams reaching an All-Ireland final with activity often planned around it engaging with target audiences. A lot of hard work will have gone into in the weeks running up to this weekend. Ultimately, getting to the All-Ireland final is a bonus every sponsor can enjoy.

Account Executive(s) / Senior Account Executive Positions at Murray and MCsquared

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Two exciting opportunities have arisen to become part of Murray, one of Ireland’s most reputable full service public relations consultancies.  Due to the growth of our business,  vacancies have arisen for two Account Executives, or Senior Account Executives, to work within our consumer and digital practice, MCsquared, and our corporate team at Murray.

Our agency has been to the forefront of the communications industry in Ireland for over 40 years and offers ambitious candidates the opportunity for significant career progression.  Our stellar client portfolio of national and international brands includes household names like Britvic, L’Oreal, Center Parcs, Volkswagen and Kelloggs.  We also manage the corporate reputations of blue chip companies including Heineken, Deloitte and Three mobile.

The ideal candidates will have:

  • A minimum of two years’ Agency experience (PR / communications), enabling them to work as part of a team servicing a broad range of clients with a focus on brand communications, digital strategy and corporate communications.
  • A relevant third level qualification.


If you are a highly motivated individual, capable of working on your own initiative within a truly team focused environment, we want to hear from you.

Interested applicants must have excellent attention to detail and be results focussed.  You will also have a keen interest in social platforms, current affairs, and a demonstrable understanding of the consumer and media landscape.


The successful candidates will have:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience of executing media plans for clients in the lifestyle and consumer space and / or developing and implementing strategic corporate communications programmes.
  • A keen interest and working knowledge of digital and social media platforms.
  • Excellent time management and multi-tasking skills.
  • An ability to work under pressure.
  • The ability to forge and develop good relationships with clients, colleagues, media, influencers and stakeholders.

Please submit your application, noting whether you are applying for an Account Executive or Senior Account Executive position and detailing your consumer and / or corporate experience, in strict confidence to Ann Dunne at adunne@murrayconsultants.ie.  Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, 14th August 2015.


Finding the marketing sweet spot for the Finance Department

Monday, July 20th, 2015

There’s always been a palpable tension between CFOs and marketers, but now research conducted by Marketing Week, means it’s quantified. And the reason why is probably clear in this one stat:-

76% of finance executives cannot put a figure on the financial return generated
by a company’s marketing.

In the world of marketing, metrics are everything. We’re obsessed with digital and measuring the amiability of our brand’s social life. The industry’s media, commentators and ‘experts’ are constantly banging on about qualifying our actions and campaigns… yet somehow it seems to be missing a key stakeholder – the money holders!

In management terms, marketers are great at talking and full of self-belief (a fact which belies the discrepancy between marketers and finance executives’ views in the charts below).

Sheena Blog

There is no question that marketing, as the articulator of inspiration, is the natural home for innovation and creativity in most organisations. But if the talk isn’t converted into tangible outcomes, and by tangible I mean results that a board can get their head around not just the comms fraternity, then it won’t inspire commercial confidence (hence 43% of finance executives didn’t agree that the head of marketing has a strategic influence over their business).

Marketing tends to be one of the biggest outlays in an organisation, and as such it needs to be justified not indulged, worth it, not worthy. Knowing the marketing spend is not the same as knowing its value, and speaking brand is no longer enough. We need to speak business and especially “returns”.

The importance of getting this right is both self and brand serving. The research found that less than half of organisations studied had marketers on the board and it’s not a big leap to connect this with marketing’s inability to instil confidence in the discipline’s merit as a business function and cost base. There is a clear link between market-centric companies and performance, and between brand and share value. But just because we as marketers know this exists doesn’t mean we can rest smugly on our laurels. We need to prove our relevance along with our commercial credentials week in week out. To communicate our plans, our results and our analytics, and to do so to the broader management including finance.

We need to be critical of ourselves and see our strengths and weakness through others’ eyes. And we need to ensure we communicate a commercially-based brand strategy, and not just disparate disciplinary tactics. Because in order to be more quantifiable and accountable, marketing needs more synergies than silos.

Volkswagen most popular brand in Ireland, Golf remains top selling model

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

• YTD Car Market up 25.37% on same period in 2014
• Volkswagen No1 Car Brand in Ireland
• Golf No1 Model in Ireland
• Passat sales up 54% year on year

Volkswagen Group Ireland CEO, Lars Himmer, said today that there are strong signs of a sustainable recovery within the Irish motoring sector, largely supported by the availability of competitive finance products such as PCP which have kept the industry alive through very difficult times, however he warned against complacency in a market that is vulnerable to external shocks and which depends on a continuing recovery in consumer confidence.

Volkswagen Bank is the leading player in the car finance sector in Ireland and it has delivered funding to almost 12,000 customers in the first half of 2015, an increase of over 50% year-on-year.

Volkswagen Group Ireland brands now account for 1 in 4 new car sales in Ireland. 25.22% of all new cars registered in Ireland for the first half of the year came from Volkswagen Group Ireland brands. The industry has now seen its strongest first quarter for new car sales since 2008.

Paul Burke, Head of Operations, Volkswagen Passenger cars commented: “Our dealers are seeing a strong resurgence in demand year to date and we are confident based on our product updates scheduled for the second half that our growth story can continue. Year to date this has been driven by strong demand for Ireland’s favourite car model, Golf and the newly launched Passat which are delivering footfall in our dealerships nationwide. New models such as the new Touran will also deliver interest in the second half.”

Volkswagen Passenger Cars was the Number One car brand in the first half of 2015 and now has 12.6% market share YTD. The Golf remains the most popular car model in Ireland too, with just under 5% Market Share.

Commenting on performance, CEO, Lars Himmer added: “We are encouraged by the recovery to date which is in part due to the investments that we have made with our dealer partners to improve the network and the customer experience across all of our brands. This work will continue and we now know the market will exceed the 100,000 mark for the first time since 2007.”

PB15058 011


5 Top tips for a Successful Photocall

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

5 Top tips for a Successful Photocall

As all public relations practitioners know, the photocall is a very important tool in our PR toolbox. Here at MCsquared, we’ve spoken with Picture Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Bryan Walshe and News Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Catherine O’Mahony and captured their and our top tips for a successful photocall:

1.       Photographer & Key Messages

Firstly, it is extremely important to choose your photographer wisely. You should find one who is creative, professional and most of all, reliable. It is essential to work with a photographer who has a good record of obtaining coverage in the media outlets that you are targeting.

It is essential to set out a strong theme or key messages for your photocall – announcing an event, highlighting growth within a company or launching a new campaign or range for the brand. Think about how these key messages can be brought to life. At MCsquared, we keep a close eye on the various media outlets and have an in depth understanding of what types of images land and work best to portray a specific message. We also recommend having a few ideas to cover all publications on the day as tabloids and broadsheets require very different sets of images.

According to Catherine O’Mahony, News Editor of the Sunday Business Post, It’s important to capture photos that have ‘media appeal’:

From a news editor point of view, I have only three rules; no black and white pictures, no models in bikinis (or short skirts, or anything of that kind, unless you are writing a story about a model in a bikini) and no ministers popping up in a corporate shot.”

2.       Location

The most successful photocalls are taken outdoors. You should choose a location that is colourful and attractive to look at. Parks with trees and flowers in the background are quite popular, as well as the beach and well known monuments in a town or city. Wherever the location is, ensure that it is not surrounded by unwanted advertising, that there’s access to good lighting so the photographer can create some nice bright images, and be aware that for some parks you may need to apply for a permit to use it as a photocall location.

3.       Participants and Props

Plan well ahead of the photocall. Decide on how many people need to be in the photocall and what their role is; generally less is more, with two or three participants being the norm and five being an absolute maximum, unless it’s intended to be a crowd shot. Celebrities and models are popular in photocalls but can be over-used.

Brief the participants accordingly, and be mindful that if they’re under 18, you will need to get parental consent for their involvement.

Be creative – props are your friend for photocalls!  Depending on the concept you may decide to use anything from kitchen utensils to bath tubs, cute animals to sand sculptures.

4.       Captions and titles

It is essential to have a great caption and title to accompany your image. If there isn’t any branding in the image, include a brand name check in the caption or title. It should be short and concise to grab attention and have more of an effect on the reader.  For Bryan Walsh “Caption is King”, as he says that that many PR agencies forget to send captions into the picture desks to accompany their images.

5.       Client Expectations and types of images

As with all client activity, managing expectations is critical and photocalls are no different. The client may have a different set of expectations compared to those that can be achieved and Bryan Walshe advises to have a specific and agreed idea beforehand of how the brand or company is to be portrayed.  Clients need to be advised, he says, that models in a park with cut out signage doesn’t work anymore. Every publication has specific needs and it is important to remember what type of publication you are targeting. In terms of exposure, it is important to realise that there is a huge difference between the images that will work for the daily papers compared to the Sunday papers.

Relationship with Picture Editors 

Bryan Walshe advocates engagement with picture editors on a continuous basis. At MCsquared we know it’s important to communicate with picture editors and establish a good relationship to secure client coverage. Over the last year or so, many PRs have stopped sending images to picture editors but the picture editor has the power to make something happen within the publication. They don’t always have access to images that are sent to news editors only.

Bryan advises to call picture editors prior to planning a photocall to discuss what type of photo they require, what sort of props they would like to see, how many people should be in the photo and who the target audience are.

If the final picture is to communicate a thousand words, then it’s certainly worth the planning and prep work.


Murrays Website

Lisa Collins



Making global PR briefs work in a local market

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The development of a single marketing or PR campaign that will work in many different markets requires the right approach from planning to execution. As companies become increasingly streamlined and develop global communications strategies it is nevertheless important to implement activity in a manner which is suitable for the local market. The best communications strategies reflect the core beliefs of the company and for that reason it makes sense for companies to develop relevant communications campaigns that are imbued with the beliefs of the company.

According to Louise Sullivan, Director of External Communications for Kellogg Europe, trying to make the same campaign work across multiple markets can be challenging as good PR needs to be locally relevant, “From my experience of running a centrally-led, locally-activated brand PR approach, it has become clear that the creative idea needs to be developed with the activation markets in mind. Involving local teams in the ideation process in order develop plans that are fit for purpose is a must.”

When it comes to planning and executing local PR campaigns and activations, there are a number of things which we always bear in mind.


Borrow with pride

As the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. While it is important recognise opportunities to put a local stamp on a campaign, if there are aspects of a campaign that worked well in another market it is important to consider using these tools locally. You will benefit from the other markets trouble-shooting and may even be in a position to borrow collateral or materials, thus saving time and money.


Timing is everything

In-market dates will sometimes mean that the campaign may need to go live in different markets at different times. It is important to be aware of timelines and consider any threat of bleed-through from a neighbouring market. This is particularly pertinent in Ireland, as very frequently UK news stories also land in Irish media. Where possible, align the launch of a campaign with your nearest neighbours and at a minimum, be aware of the timing of their PR execution.


Recognise limitations

Working to a global PR brief for the Irish Market requires that you identify any stumbling blocks and look for ways to overcome them. If from the outset there is an area that is less relevant to, or less developed in, the Irish market it is important to flag this and adapt the communications plan accordingly. According to Louise Sullivan, “Spotting opportunities to put a local spin on the campaign is vital.  But equally, it’s important to recognize when a campaign is not going to work. Sometimes one size does not fit all – and when this happens, we shouldn’t continue to try to force a round peg into a square hole.”


Adapt as necessary

Each market has a different media landscape and as a result will have its own way of dealing with local media. It is important to remember what works for you market and adapt materials as necessary. Paddy Comyn, Head of PR for Volkswagen Group Ireland says that the Irish market, and specifically the Irish car market, is something that has to be handled differently and this is something that can sometimes be hard to explain to colleagues in Germany, “It is very important that we distill what can be very technical information and quite formally written copy into something a little bit more relaxed, yet professional for the Irish palate. We, together with MCsquared for Volkswagen tend to focus on writing press releases in a manner that we realistically feel they might appear. The modern journalists can be very time poor, so giving them the information in usable, jargon-free fashion can mean the difference between our message running or not.”


Add some local magic

The best way to make a global campaign work in a local market is to make sure that you bring something fresh to the table at the planning phase. Consider how the campaign will work best in Ireland and think about why it may be more relevant in this market, what unique points can the Irish market bring to the table? Can you localise the campaign with a relevant Irish ambassador or some local research? This is something which Louise Sullivan recognises when rolling out PR campaigns for Kellogg’s across Europe, “The toolbox plan needs to leave room for the local markets to adapt it and make it bigger and better, bringing in local insights to make it really resonate.  The creative idea should lend itself to this approach, and so should the budgeting approach – local amplification doesn’t come for free.”


Engage with local stakeholders

Emphasising the relevance of a campaign in a local market can sometimes be a challenge. Particularly if the activity is less well established locally. Engaging or partnering with local stakeholders allows you to demonstrate the real impact of the campaign locally. This is particularly helpful when activating CSR campaigns. If outputs have a real impact in Ireland the campaign will always be more newsworthy and of more interest locally.


The key thing about effective local activation is to play to your strengths, both local and global. Identify what you need and what you don’t – success will lie in your selection.


Niamh McCarthy

Niamh McCarthy

Account Director

This article was published in Marketing Magazine, Volume 26. No 5