Why the Convoy Global PR Group continues to thrive
Rob Ettridge, COO and Convoy lead at the lorries, unpicks Convoy’s record 2021 in numbers.
Since its formation way back in 2010 – when iPads, virtual assistants and TikTok didn’t yet exist – the Convoy Global PR Group has enabled worldwide b2b tech PR and marketing agencies to work together to deliver multi-region campaigns. Convoy gives clients the best of both worlds – a global reach with a boutique service.
To celebrate Convoy reaching the end of its 11th year – and frankly because 2021 went by far too quickly – we asked our partners for their feedback on the network, and their PR and marketing predictions for 2022. Let’s take a closer look at what they said.
2021 in review
2021 saw Convoy gain a total of five new members, from Argentina, Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand and the UAE. We now have 35 agency partners, covering over 75 countries and six continents. This gives clients access to over 600 PR and marketing consultants globally – all with their own unique skills, experiences and contacts.
But what really matters is that Convoy is doing what it set out to – connecting like-minded agencies to deliver multi-region campaigns. In 2021, more business flowed through the network than ever before. Together, Convoy partners delivered many campaigns for b2b tech clients spanning the globe, including:
- Blockchain consulting client Labrys
- Clean air provider Genano
- Fast growth Finnish IoT challenger Wirepas
- Ground-breaking solar energy software firm PVcase
- Emirati HR software platform Bayzat
- Africa-based mobility fintech start-up Moove
- Recruitment software company Andela
The importance of local specialists
Across all territories, more clients are requesting multi-region PR and marketing campaigns – these require a careful blend of both consistency and localisation. What works in one geography may fall completely flat in another. For example, while LinkedIn is the b2b social network of choice in the UK and North America, in Israel Facebook is routinely used for business purposes. Similarly, communicating with journalists via WhatsApp is ubiquitous across Africa, whereas many European journalists find this intrusive.
Together, our Convoy partners understand thousands of local idiosyncrasies like these. The group’s unique model combines localised content and delivery with centralised reporting, messaging and campaign management. This maximises campaign impact, while minimising the hassle of handling multiple agency relationships.
The value of Convoy
We asked our Convoy partners which aspects of the network were most valuable to them. Unsurprisingly, new business opportunities took the top spot for 58% of respondents! But many also told us they valued ‘being part of a larger agency group’ and ‘having access to global insights and content’.
In their own words, here’s why our partners remain committed to Convoy:
Mauricio Figueras, IMS Interamerican Marketing Solutions, LATAM
Convoy has provided us with the chance to share best practices, new business opportunities, hold open forums and discuss interesting topics in the ever-changing communications industry.
Andrzej Sowula, PR Solutions, Poland
I feel the benefits of belonging to a larger network of PR agencies. It gives us credibility when building relationships with clients and potential clients.
Jessica Hope, Wimbart, Africa
We’ve been able to source agency leads for our clients through Convoy.
Looking into 2022 and beyond
As b2b tech PR pros, we couldn’t resist asking our Convoy partners to predict how PR and marketing would evolve in their regions in 2022 and beyond. Their answers were both pleasingly consistent and surprisingly varied:
- PR will become just one key element in brands’ integrated communications strategy: ‘It has become increasingly hard to break through the noise,’ says Elin Sivard of King Street PR, which operates throughout the Nordics. ‘The media landscape is more limited than ever so we’re offering a wider range of solutions to address customers’ problems. Channels like LinkedIn have become more important. We’ve also had to be more creative when it comes to webinars and other digital events. It’s more important than ever that we have an integrated offering across bought, earned and owned channels.’
- Content will continue to be king: Unsurprisingly, rising demand for thought leadership content emerged as a consistent theme. Arnout Lansberg of MCS PR in the Netherlands said: ‘I expect the demand for well written, relevant content will continue to grow, as more businesses start to recognise the value this offers over more commercial, marketing-heavy content. Thought leadership is becoming more important than ever, as the differences between products and services continue to lessen.’
- The rise of video will accelerate: Like many Convoy partners, prSTEPS in Romania has widened its service offering to include video. ‘In almost every project, we have to communicate on multiple channels. Video is becoming a must-have in your communication mix, including podcasts, online events and online TV,’ said founder Iuliana Butuc-Cerchez.
- We’ll see a focus on staff wellbeing and employer branding: ‘Staff loyalty is tested during lockdowns,’ says Paul O’Leary, founder of Pursuit PR in New Zealand. Like many Convoy partners, he expects we’ll see more clients investing in staff wellbeing and employer branding programmes in 2022. Paul also notes that agencies themselves should take time to check in with staff, adding ‘owner operator and staff resilience and mental health is vital.’
- PR pros will grow their digital skillset: Many respondents, including Natalia Khludova, of Russia’s ContActive, believe we’ll see a trend of PR pros educating themselves on SEO, search engine reputation management and marketing automation technologies – a must if they want to keep driving traffic to their clients’ content in an increasingly competitive digital landscape. Even clients in territories that were slower to embrace digital – Japan for instance – are finally prioritising online content, according to Yukiko Harada of TrainTracks, Japan.
- Localisation will enable brands to cut through the noise: ‘I think the trend of localisation will continue to develop,’ said Elena Lungu of 2L PR in Russia. ‘Local brands are supported with more love, local trends cause waves of distribution, and so on.’
What lessons can we learn from this? Firstly, that the world of communications never stops evolving – and nor should our skillsets. A group like Convoy enables like-minded agency partners to share knowledge and best practices, and to learn from each other’s experiences. Secondly, that globalisation doesn’t mean brands can get away with using homogenous tactics in their PR and marketing campaigns. And, of course, our Convoy partners can help them avoid falling into this trap.
The Convoy Global PR Group is always looking for new partners and clients. If you’re an agency looking to get involved, or a b2b tech company seeking global PR support, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our contact page.