Running a successful global PR campaign

Published on
February 26, 2015

In November last year, Brisbane hosted its most significant global event since Expo ’88 — the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders’ Summit — the principal forum for international economic cooperation and decision-making. Prior to Brisbane’s moment in the global spotlight, Cairns played host in September to the G20 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ meeting.

These major international events gave Queensland a unique opportunity to showcase the state’s trade and investment credentials to the world.

Rowland helped leverage the G20 events to support the Queensland Government’s international trade and investment agenda. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity provided us with critical insights into what it takes to run a successful global public relations campaign.

So, what did we learn from this exciting, intense project? Here are some key take-outs and tips that apply to any business looking to run an international campaign.

  1. Operate as a truly international, integrated network
    For an integrated campaign to successfully traverse multiple continents, time zones, cultures, and languages, a global partnership is critical.
    This involves more than a cursory working relationship. Ideally, you need to agree on roles and responsibilities, what success looks like, develop the strategy in tandem so both parties have a sense of ownership, and have a complementary approach to business.
    Rowland was fortunate to be able to tap into the close links with our global affiliate agency FleishmanHillard, putting us in an excellent position to develop and deliver a global media campaign for Queensland.
    Knowledge and information-sharing between Rowland’s Brisbane office and FleishmanHillard’s 83 offices worldwide allowed for a hands-on partnership approach. Each office added value with its understanding of its country’s local context and business connections, all the while underscored by a strong strategic and cultural fit between our two organisations.
    As with any truly integrated network, this meant the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
  2. Tailor the approach for different markets
    The intent of the G20 media campaign was to harness the intense global interest in the event to build awareness and understanding of the Queensland brand, and position the state as a world-leader in the key sectors of agriculture, resources, tourism, construction, education, science, innovation and training.
    Focusing on Queensland’s achievements in and opportunities for trade and investment, the campaign called for collaboration with Queensland’s government departments and agencies throughout its four-month duration.
    However, media coverage was required in countries outside of Australia, so local journalist relationships, on-the-ground knowledge of the various media landscapes, and understanding how business was done in these markets was instrumental to success.
    While it was unrealistic to expect a local agency to have the knowledge and contacts required, adopting an agency with an international integrated network was the next best thing. This is where the value of true integration came into play.
  3. Seamless global account management
    A successful global program requires a practical and pragmatic approach to ensure efficiencies are maximised and outcomes are focused on measurable results.
    The G20 global media strategy was tailored by each individual office to suit their respective markets, while the Brisbane office was the central point of liaison for communication. From a practical perspective, this involved streamlining processes and reporting, to ensure efficiency and consistency of information flowing outward and reporting information inward.
    Other critical success factors were the consistency of messaging, leveraging content across regions wherever possible, and communicators across each region having a high-level view of media relations activities around the world, in order to present a cohesive story.
    From a client perspective, this resulted in a seamless approach that was only possible with rigorous account management adhered to by all parties.

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