Seven things to consider when coordinating teams across borders
Tyto is a pan-European PR agency that has adopted a truly unique approach to handling European client briefs. We call this approach ‘PR without borders’ — this basically means that our pan-European clients don’t work with traditional pyramid-like account teams in each market but with one team that consists of in-market and in-discipline specialists.
This approach has proven to be a real asset: often, clients have only just started expanding into Europe and are not completely familiar with individual markets. They neither have the time nor the financial resources to work with separate country teams. For us, this means that coordinating our team is one of the main keys to successful client work.
Having now worked with a team across multiple markets for quite a long time, here are seven things I have learned that should always be considered when coordinating accounts internationally. Some of them might seem more obvious than others — yet we need to make every effort to take these lessons into account and to internalize them.
1.Never assume, always ask!
While we work as one team, there are market-specific differences to consider: local regulations, country-specific media landscapes, cultural differences which can even go down to regional levels, different languages and many more.
These are ‘borders’ that exist and that we need to work with, despite following an approach that is as efficient and consistent as possible across markets. Hence, never assume you know — always ask the in-market expert.
2. Localisation is key!
Europe consists of many different local markets. While we propose campaigns that work across markets, there will be nuances that need to be adapted when activating a campaign locally. Language localisation is one of the most important areas to consider (you can read more on localisation and its importance in this blog post) but we also need to build a much deeper level of local knowledge into our approaches and campaigns.
One good example is the so-called German ‘Mittelstand’, the mid-market. This is the most important driver of the German economy and communications programmes should look at how they address this.
3. The European media landscape is not a thing!
Did you know that in France you only pitch bylines once they are completely drafted? Or that in Germany print media is still very common? Things like these are incredibly important to know for a successful programme execution.
Part of our job is to explain why and how each market is different, what that means for our approach, what tactics we can apply across markets and which need to be aligned to local market requirements.
4. Timings are very important!
Especially when working across time zones, timings become incredibly important and we should always try and use the difference to our benefit as much as possible. But even within Europe we need to take time differences into account. For example, late afternoon requests in the UK might mean that colleagues in continental Europe are already away from their desks. Generally, it is helpful to give and receive as much advance notice as possible on any tasks in order to ensure feedback and input from team members across markets.
5. Give clear guidance and share information!
Our roundtable approach requires a maximum of input from various people internally and externally. For that to work, we must be as clear as possible about what exactly we need for which market, when we need it by, what the plan B should be and what the consequences might be if we don’t get it helps. Doing this helps to create trusted relationships. Hence, the clearer the guidance you give, the better the input you get back.
6. Never stop learning!
The borderless mindset that the Tyto team has and continuously develops is a true asset and core skill that we benefit from in the short-, mid- and long-term. These continuous possibilities to learn more about other markets, clients, landscapes, disciplines and cultures is something that is truly unique to Tyto and one of the reasons we can provide truly pan-European services.
7. Be mindful!
This last point will sound like a repetition — and it is. While all the above should give everyone quite a clear picture of what coordination requires and why it is important, being mindful and aware of those differences and challenges is the one key to successful coordination.
Photo credit (c) Gabriel Benoit, Unsplash.com