Global PR: Convoy Virtual World Tour!

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By in International PR
On December 10, 2020

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Global PR: Convoy Virtual World Tour

Fed up with not being able to travel anywhere? Bored with being confined to the same old places? Desperate to experience some of what our great wide world has to offer?

Well, you’re in luck. We’re jetting off on a global PR tour and you can come along for the ride! That’s right, the Convoy Virtual World Tour is setting sail.

It’s a challenging time for PR and marketing professionals at the moment, so we’ve tapped into our global PR network of agency partners to get their insights into the nuances, challenges, and opportunities of tech PR and marketing around the world. Through a series of video interviews featuring experts from across the Convoy network, we shed light on the biggest misconceptions in different regions, the best ways to drive leads, and the most important trends to pay attention to.

We’ll be updating this page with new videos, so be sure to check in regularly for updates.


Quick Links:

  1. Episode 1: North America
  2. Episode 2: China
  3. Episode 3: Netherlands
  4. Episode 4: Brazil
  5. Episode 5: France
  6. Episode 6: Russia
  7. Episode 7: Africa
  8. Episode 8: Romania
  9. Episode 9: Belgium

Episode 1: North America

Meredith L. Eaton – Director of North America, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Transcript:

What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about b2b tech PR in North America?  

There are actually so many to choose from. But I think one of the biggest that I’ve encountered lately is that… The US is so big and people think that you have to be in the same physical location as either the company, your clients or the media. But our industry operates so virtually already that it really doesn’t matter. We have clients on the West Coast using our Boston team or clients on the East Coast using our team in LA, or vice versa and everywhere and anywhere in between. We are used to operating virtually and the physical location and proximity really doesn’t matter that much.

Which b2b tech brand do you think is doing PR well in North America?

All of our clients obviously. Next! No, just kidding. I would say that this is a little bit tricky right now because we are obviously in the middle of a pandemic and the news cycle is very focused on that, even in b2b tech. So I would say any brands that are really transitioning their services to help combat Coronavirus or gather research on it and ones that are doing so in a really meaningful way without being too self-serving or opportunistic, they are getting a lot of good attention right now.

What is your top-secret then to tech PR success in North America?  

Oh my gosh, just do your research! Is the journalist that you are trying to pitch actually going to be interested in your topic? Or does the research that you are trying to promote already been done time and time again? Or are your competitors putting out the same thought leadership perspective as your executives? Or is what you are saying actually new and novel? I think it is really important to see what is already out there so that you can just improve upon that and do something different.

Which b2b PR tech trend in your region you think everyone should pay attention to right now?

I would say podcasts are still blowing up. I mean they have been for the last three years in particular, maybe longer, but right now for b2b tech there is a plethora of ones to choose from to try to get your brand featured as a guest on. But some brands are even starting their own podcasts. I would say just be sure that you know what other industry-led podcasts are already out there that you might be competing with. And make sure that you have an audience that you can transition to a solid listenership if you do try and start your own.

What is your top tip then for managing communications in a virtual world, particularly what we are in now?

I’d say just be proactive. Share those updates and questions and ideas without being asked. This way you can stay engaged and stay on top of things, even while we are all so far apart.

And can you tell me one word to describe PR in North America?

I would say: competitive.

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Episode 2: China

Claire Walker – Founder, Techworks Asia

Transcript:

What’s the biggest misconception about b2b tech PR in Greater China?  

I think from a Western point of view, it’s that the media isn’t very professional and that all the media opportunities are paid for. I think that comes from companies who, maybe when they first entered the market, didn’t do their research properly, struggled, failed, had to pull out again and so it becomes a neat excuse. But it’s not like that at all, our media is very professional.

And which b2b tech brand is doing PR well in the Greater China region? 

A Western brand would be Microsoft. They learnt from their struggles in the beginning and have been doing particularly well now. But really from our point of view, it’s domestic brands. It’s Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. And the reason for that is that they take their marketing and PR really seriouslyIt’s an integral part of their business and they have very effective leaders who get out, they engage with the media, they engage with the end customers and they’re very good at CSR.

What’s your top tip then for b2b PR success in Greater China?  

I think it’s being adaptable and being flexible because we have a rapidly changing market. We work under regulations, particularly in the social media area that change very rapidly. And so, you just have to learn to adapt.

Which b2b tech trend in your region do you think everybody should pay attention to right now

Social media. We have WeChat, which probably some of you are familiar with, but it really is the big animal in the room.

What’s your top tip for managing communications in the virtual world we’re all currently living in?  

It’s being fast, acting quickly and being responsive. Understanding the culture in which you work and making sure that you’ve always got the eye to the next trend.

And finally, can you give us one word to describe PR in Greater China? 

I’d say rewarding. It’s a very rewarding market in which to work. If you put the work in, you get the results. And I enjoy it immensely.

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Episode 3: Netherlands

Arnout Lansberg – Consultant, MCS PR

Transcript:

First off, can you tell me the biggest misconception about b2b tech PR in the Netherlands? 

Probably the biggest misconception is that PR is like marketing in disguise. Inside-out messaging, just talking about yourself and your products, your services and how great you’re doing, that doesn’t help improve the reputation of your brand. And that, in the end, is what we’re trying to achieve for our clients.

And which b2b tech PR brand do you think is currently doing PR well in the Netherlands? 

Those are brands that really show their thought leadership by quickly responding to news and developments, and they do so with relevant and useful insights. A good example in our market is Cisco. Any brand that can successfully drive news and topics to improve their relevance will do even better. Cisco, we feel, is a good example of a brand that is doing really well.

What’s your top secret for b2b PR success in the Netherlands?

The secret to our success is ‘outside-in’ PR. We always try and focus on the challenges that our end customers and their customers face, instead of talking about how great a product or service is.

What b2b PR or tech trend do you think everyone should be paying attention to right now in your region? 

The main things are storytelling and corporate narratives. Especially tech companies need to be more aware that it’s no longer about technology or specifications, it’s about the business benefits their technology is solving for their customers.

What’s your top tip for managing communications in this virtual world we’re all living in now? 

Focus. Don’t try to do everything. Some brands try to communicate too many messages and topics. That doesn’t work. Focus on two or three key messages or topics you want to convey to the media and to your audiences.

And finally, can you tell me one word to describe PR in the Netherlands?

That would be two words – very dynamic! The world of PR is constantly evolving but in all change, there is one consistent factor and that is relevance.

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Episode 4: Brazil

Vania Gracio – Founder and CEO, Sing Communications

Transcript:

First off, what would you say is the biggest misconception about b2b tech PR in Brazil? 

We have many good examples, but we can always improve everything. Some tech companies, especially the international ones, focus on the advances of their technology instead of how their technology can improve business and help their brand in finding solutions that are relevant to Brazil.

And which b2b tech PR brand do you think is currently doing PR well in South America? 

We have some good examples. I will mention one of our clients, LogMeIn. At the beginning of the pandemic, they noticed that essential services were not able not work remotely. So LogMeIn offered for free, to health, educational and non-profit organisations, an emergency toolkit to help those critical companies work remotely.

What’s your top secret for b2b PR success in your region?

Offering what companies really need – a customizable PR strategy. We offer a knowledge of our market that is unique. We know the industry, we know the market and can come up with customized PR campaigns that are right for them.

What b2b PR or tech trend do you think everyone should be paying attention to right now in your region? 

Especially during the pandemic, people and companies are expecting brands to be ‘change-makers’. We’re looking for companies to support the communities. We have a lot of poor people here in Brazil, and the good companies are the ones who are donating food baskets, their services, etc. This is what the entire country is expecting from brands right now.

What’s your top tip for managing communications in this virtual world we’re all finding ourselves in? 

Its not easy but you can take advantage of many tools to help. For example, we use GoToMeeting to help communications. It’s really important you keep talking to people. We have daily check-ins with the team, we have Netflix parties with our employees and we’re talking to clients all the time. People need to be asked ‘what can we do to help?’ right now.

And finally, can you tell me one word to describe PR in your region?

Only one word? I would say relationship.

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Episode 5: France

Hélène Joubert – Director of France & Germany, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Transcript:

What would you say is the biggest misconception about b2b tech PR and marketing in France? 

I will say that many tech companies believe that PR is advertising. And there is a huge expectation to see journalists talking about their offer, product and services. But it’s not the case. PR is all about influence. We aim to reinforce the reputation of the brand and the company. And reputation is key. I mean, it’s the reputation of being a good company to work with in the market. A good company to be employed by. 

Which b2b tech brand do you think is engaging well with their audiences in France? 

I have been very impressed by Kaspersky in the cybersecurity area. They have been able to position themselves as a key voice in this area. When there is a cyber-attack, they are on a panel or on a broadcast. And they are able to share what they know. I think they are good at sharing very relevant and newsworthy data and content.

And what’s your top secret for driving leads in France? 

Do it like Kaspersky. Focus on data. And be relevant. Be helpful for the media. It’s not just about talking about you and what you’re good at. But you need share what you have. And again, data is really key. Journalists are very keen to work with you if you have relevant data.

Which b2b PR and marketing or tech trend in your region do you think everybody should be paying attention to right now? 

It’s maybe something more about the markets. The French technical system has literally boomed these last few years. There is a huge force of investment, private and public, into many new arrivals. We now have many unicorns, like 15 this year, and a lot of employment recruitment campaigns. Sothere is a fascination for tech companies. And media, especially the business ones, are very keen to understand more about their funding stories, how tech companies set up collaboration internally, and how this scale grows. So, there is a lot of opportunities for tech companies to communicate, thanks to that.

What’s your top tip then for managing communications in this virtual world we’re finding ourselves living in? 

Yeah, again I will say create a story – use data stories and be consistent among all your channels. And focus on that story. Don’t spread yourself across many messages. Just have a story with maybe two to three messages and focus on those.

And then finally, can you give me one word to describe the communications in France? 

I will use an Indian word. I will say karma. Be helpful. Like, just be helpful with a journalistwith the influencer. Share data, be newsworthy and the coverage will come.

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Episode 6: Russia

Natalia Khludova – CEO, ContActive

Transcript:

What’s the biggest misconception about doing b2b technology PR in your region, Russia and Eastern Europe?  

I will list two here. First of all, there’s an underestimation of how digitalised local audiences are and how varied the local media are, particularly in the new media landscape. And the second is the expectation that content creation for the global markets will work locally.

What b2b technology brand do you think is doing PR well right now in your region? 

They’re the ones that are flexible and adaptive, fast to react, and that have the courage to challenge new communication channels. They’re the ones that are great at telling true stories and that have local PR presence, either in-house or outsourcing through an agency.

What’s your top secret for b2b PR success in your region?  

Our top secret is to deep dive and really understand our clients’ technological businesses – their value propositions and their target audiences’ needsYou need to unlock direct success and establish effective dialogue with clients’ existing and potential customers.

Which b2b PR or tech trend in your region do you think everybody should be paying attention to right now?  

I would say it’s challenging the new channels that are pretty challenging themselves. Those are the local ones that require real stories and valuable content, as their audience’s reaction is immediate and spreads fast.

What’s your top tip for managing communications in this virtual world we’re all finding ourselves living in? 

Don’t just use PR and communications tools. Think audience first and consider cultural and mentality differences.

And can you give me one word finally to describe PR in your region? 

It’s a huge area of opportunities for effective brand communications.

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Episode 7: Africa

Jess Hope – Founder, Wimbart

Transcript:

What’s the biggest misconception would you say about b2b tech PR and marketing in Africa?

Well, I would say the biggest misconception is that it doesn’t really exist! I speak to a lot of UK PRs and they’re actually really surprised about our specialism and the niche area that we work in. So I think for a lot of people, they haven’t really thought about African tech and African comms.

Which b2b brand do you think is engaging audiences well right now in Africa?

I would have to say Google. Google does a lot of work on the continent. They have a lot of Google developer groupsso they work with a lot of communities in terms of bringing developers together. They also have this amazing mentorship and accelerator called Google Launchpad and I do the PR and mentoring for them. But they’re really good at bringing together diverse start-up companies from across the continent and providing access to mentors and access to VC ideas – those sort of things as well. So, I think Google has done incredibly well on the continent.

What’s your top secret then for driving leads in Africa?

We just do a good job. That’s our main lead generation. Our clients are our new business pipeline. We get all of our work through recommendations and it’s a really small community that we work in. So basically, you’re only as good as your last campaign.

Which b2b PR and marketing trend do you think companies should be paying attention to right now in your region?

I think people can’t ignore mobile. Africa is really mobilised. Everyone lives on mobile. Most people have two or three as well, depending on coverage. So, I think Whatsapp groups are really really really powerful, as are Telegram groups as well. It’s not just the content, but also how it’s disseminated as well and how people receive it.

What’s your top tip for managing communications in this virtual world that we’re all finding ourselves living in? 

This new virtual world is not that different for us. Because we’re based in London – of course we travel to and from the continent for certain projects or activities – but we all lived on Whatsapp, Telegram and Twitter before as well, so it’s just a case of maintaining those relationships.

And then finally, can you tell me one word to describe communications in Africa?

Busy!

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Episode 8: Romania

Iuliana Butuc-Cerchez – Founder, PRSteps

Transcript:

Can I start by asking what’s the biggest misconception about b2b tech PR and marketing in Romania?

I won’t call them misconceptions but false expectations. The smaller companies here in Romania think that a PR or Google Alert campaign will bring leads, contracts and new clients quickly and that they’ll live happily after that. And it is not like this!

Which b2b tech brand do you think is engaging well with its audiences in Romania right now?

The greatest I think is FintechOS. It’s the hottest fintech start-up in Europe this year and it’s a company from Romania. We’re very proud of them. They’ve done a good job in engaging with their communities. Those guys are ones to check out.

What’s your top secret if you have one for driving leads in Romania?

The top secret is everyone’s top secret! It’s the marketing mix. There’s no secret sauce for Romania. You have to do a good mix between different PR and marketing tactics and that will lead to success.

And which b2b PR and marketing trend do you think everybody should be paying attention to right now?

Before Covid, trends were more important. But now, having an instant reaction is better. Be as proactive as you can in your domain. Also, it’s very good to know what plans you have for this period and after. And if you can, pivot your business and take a quick look at your approach for what’s next.

And you obviously mentioned Covid there. What’s your top tip for managing communications in this virtual world we’re in?

You have to remain focused. This is the most important. Focus on your business. Focus on what you can do now. Focus on what you can do better afterwards – after the Covid period or in the next few years. You have to improve your product. You have to improve your services. And if you have to pivot, then just pivot.

And finally, can you tell me one word to describe communications in Romania?

Communications in Romania is a domain where we’re trying to reinvent ourselves every day, every week and every year.

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Episode 9: Belgium

Rafael Tirmarche, Managing Partner – Factivity

Transcript:

What would you say is the biggest misconception about b2b tech PR and marketing in your region?

What we see, especially in technology PR, is that customers almost expect that every pitch and press release is picked up by our media – which is obviously not the case, by logic! We’re seeing that more and more tech media are pushing for partnerships where you combine both PR and advertising, which is a perfect option for customers to measure those leads through content.

Which tech brand is engaging with their audiences well in your region?

Well, this is a bit funny because they’re not a customer, but Check Point is doing really well because their messaging and communication is genuine, it’s honest and they’re quite responsive. As soon as there’s a security issue, they reach out to the editors and they get a fair answer, which helps of course to build relationships – and that’s what press communications is all about. Pull versus push, and you hope that they would come back to you. I can give examples of our customers, but Check Point is doing well!

What would you say is your top secret then for driving leads in your region?

I don’t have any secrets to be honest, Rob. What I tend to focus on is the quality of our service. It’s not that the rest would follow automatically, but I focus on the quality of service which helps our customers on the one hand, but I consider journalists as a second customer as well. That helps to generate quality coverage. And in the end, if I see where our leads come from, it’s from our network – both from happy customers but also from happy journalists who will give us as a reference to prospects. Well that, and LinkedIn, of course!

Great! And which b2b PR or marketing trend in your region do you think everyone should be paying attention to right now?

It’s not a real trend and in a way, it’s also what I discussed in the first question you asked. We see that especially small-scale tech media are really struggling. It’s because of the Corona crisis but it’s also from before. They need your dollars and that’s why I’m inclined to push for those partnerships as well. Because otherwise, if we don’t combine them and we don’t give them a few dollars once in a while – it doesn’t have to be a continued approach, of course – but I would say that it helps them to keep the attention going. Otherwise, the interest will fade and the media will disappear ultimately.

What is your top tip for managing communications in this virtual world that we’re living in now?

The Coronavirus in Belgium hasn’t really changed a lot because we’re such a traffic-condensed and congested country that our journalists preferred virtual briefings over physical briefings anyhow before. So, I would say pay attention to the quality of your outreach and the rest will follow automatically.

And then finally, can you give me one word to describe communications in Belgium and Luxemburg right now?

I don’t know – bilingual! Small-scale! We’re working with two languages in Belgium, and different media even. You need to master both languages.

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