Choosing a global PR agency

Ambitious companies looking to expand to new territories face a number of challenges. Finding an office, hiring staff, thinking about infrastructure and getting through all of the red tape and paperwork have to be considered. On top of this they will need to think about how they connect with customers and partners in their new surroundings through global PR and marketing efforts.

While many companies have done perfectly well using a number of different agencies to cover different territories, dealing with just one agency should offer a simpler, more efficient and cohesive experience.

But this isn’t necessarily the case, so here are the questions that you should be asking yourself when you are choosing a global PR agency:

How big is the agency?
Most agencies with global reach are quite big. This isn’t a problem in itself, but it could mean that you find yourself well down the list of their priorities. Being a small fish in their big pond could allow you plenty of room to grow – as long as you are assigned a good team – but it could also mean you get lost in the murky waters. An agency that is a similar size to your company and where you would be among their largest clients would more likely lead to a better service.

How many territories are they in?
And, of course, are they in the markets that you want to expand to? While not every global agency will have a presence in all of the territories you are planning to enter, they should be able to use each of their offices as a base from which they can branch out to neighbouring countries. For example, an office in New York would have trusted partners over the border in Canada, and a London office should have connections in much of Europe.

Does each territory have local specialists?
This might sound somewhat obvious, but if the staff aren’t local to the office they are working in – or they haven’t spent a significant amount of time working there – then they won’t have strong knowledge of or connections with nearby media. It’s all very well a London-based company setting up an office in Berlin, but if none of the staff are from Berlin then they are going to struggle to get cut through for their clients.

What heritage does each territory have?
Different regions have different industry specialisations – for instance, London is well-known for its fintech startups and scaleups, while New York is famous for being home to a number of adtech players. But if you are a SaaS company, for example, looking for a campaign in both the UK and US, then you need to be sure that team members in each territory are comfortable working in this area. Taking a B2B company to a new market backed up by a PR team of B2C specialists is a recipe for disaster.

Do they talk to each other, and learn from each other?
It’s also important to know that each office within a global PR agency has a good relationship with its siblings, otherwise all you have is a network of independent companies. You need to know that they keep regular contact, have standardised ways of working, and share knowledge between teams. If some team members move between offices regularly – spending time working in a variety of different territories – then that’s even better.

What’s a realistic timeline for making PR progress in a new market?
It often comes as a shock to a company that their entry into a new territory doesn’t create waves. It’s understandable, as for them the whole process of moving overseas has taken up most of their time, but simply opening up an office in New York when you are a London-based company is not headline news. When working with a global PR agency you need to put in as much time and effort as you did when you first engaged with a PR agency in each territory to get the best results.

If you’re looking for help with your global PR strategy, get in touch.

Choosing a global PR agency
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