Entering new markets is a complex process. From a communications standpoint, the task can seem particularly daunting, and none more so than in the oil and gas sector where there are countless companies fighting for voice share on the global media stage.
The sector is one in which demand, innovation and new discoveries not only drive rapid company growth, but frequently call for entry into new geographical markets. Therefore, it is crucial for firms to tailor their communications strategy to the locale in question, set clearly-defined objectives for their PR activity in that region, and develop messages aligned to these objectives. Only then can a communications strategy be delivered effectively.
Here are Aspectus PR’s top five tips for developing a PR strategy that not only promotes interest in and understanding of your business, but ultimately, generates new business leads:
1) Do your research
Entering a new market requires a great deal of research. From a PR perspective, this means getting to know the local media landscape. You should consider:
- Which publications are most relevant to your target audience?
- Which news outlets are the most credible and influential?
- Which journalists are covering your type of organisation and your competitors?
- What events, themes and issues are driving the local news agenda?
Performing this type of analysis equips you with the business intelligence you need to ensure your communications activity delivers maximum impact. It enables you to hit the ground running and greatly increase the speed at which results are realised.
For example, the introduction of new legislation or changes to tax regimes could significantly alter the course of your PR campaign. However, if you have done your homework, you will know where the new opportunities lie.
2) Get the message right
Strong messaging lays the foundations for all communications activity. You need to be confident that your messages are appropriate for – and of interest to – your audience, the wider market, and aligned with the aspirations of your organisation. It is critical to review your key messages before embarking on a new PR campaign.
3) Use the right language
This might sound obvious, but entering a new market goes beyond simply translating your communications into the local tongue. Understanding cultural and linguistic nuances is equally important. So consider how your current messages translate and whether they resonate in another language. Translations can be particularly tricky when faced with industry-specific terminologies, so always check with an expert native speaker before publishing. And given that nuances often get lost in translation, it’s important to ensure you stay true to the overall brand message.
4) Don’t forget digital
It can often come lower down the list, but optimising your website for different regions can make or break your success in a new market. Localisation can be achieved in a number of ways, but clearly defined sections are a must. For example, if you are looking to target Malaysia, Mexico and the Middle East, you will need site sections dedicated to each, with localised content to match. You should also ensure the correct keywords in the local language are being targeted – a literal translation may not reflect what people actually search for.
5) Get social and network
Social media is a fantastic platform for raising your brand profile and enhancing engagement with stakeholders in new regions, but it is important to find out which channels are most relevant to your target audience.
Engagement via social media is also crucial for improving your online presence. The more engagement you have online, the better your search visibility will be. Getting to know people on the ground is equally important; local businesses and media often prefer doing business with locals. Relationship building is at the very heart of PR, so this is an investment worth making.
A strategic approach to PR and communications
It is essential to recognise that PR is a long-term process. It can take time until you see the benefits, so you must be realistic and persevere. What’s more, measuring ROI is not always straightforward. You can, however, devise strategies that focus your approach in specific areas and make it easier to monitor the results.
This is where engaging an external agency can help. Bringing in specialist knowledge and expertise can ensure that the strategy and tactics you employ work as hard as possible to generate the highest return.
Aspectus PR has significant experience working with clients in the oil and gas sector. Our energy team is trusted by major international players, respected by journalists worldwide, and has a demonstrable track record in creating effective selling conditions for our clients in new markets.