In our interview series about international PR providing insight into PR trends and local differences in PR practices from more than 20 countries*, today’s interview shows why you have to be very creative when choosing an even location, and why social media marketing does not necessarily support a company’s marketing goals in today’s interview with Russian PR expert Yulia Kiseleva.

* The series is based on phone or face-to-face interviews and written input, therefore please excuse language mistakes which might reflect foreign language influences.

 

1. What is the latest trend (change) in PR you have identified in your region?

Yulia Kiseleva: In Russia most PR agencies are so-called full service agencies who offer services in all communication disciplines. People still do not understand the exact meaning of PR, and we often have to explain the difference between PR and advertisement to our clients. In daily practice, PR and advertisement are combined in almost every campaign of any client.

Due to the financial crisis, work with clients has become more challenging for PR agencies: clients now expect more ROI for their budgets and look for creative and cost-efficient campaigns. A high level of coverage achieved by “financial support” for the media definitely does not make them happy any more. At the same time, the financial crisis had very little impact on the market for advertisement, which is still very popular.

Digital PR is not as powerful in Russia as it is in Europe; people trust printed media more than any online communication channel. A number of companies has tried to present themselves in different social media, but the result was not very promising. Just to give you an example: During a PR conference the representative of one agency informed the audience about a successful campaign in a social network, but in the end this resulted in 500 members of a group. This can hardly be named a success in a country with a population of more than 141 million people. While Facebook has reached a membership of slightly more than 1,1 million people (as of May 31, 2010), Vkontakte is still number one among the social networks in Russia and the CIS with about 90 million users.

One thing that really matters in Russia if you want to raise attention is news worthiness. Most media are interested in any information that catches the eye of their readers and is really attractive to them – the “hotter” and “more scandalous” the news the better for them. Details about the issue concerned are often neglected. Therefore many press releases from companies – except major players – which would be highly appreciated in European media are totally rejected by Russian media even if the news is relevant for them. Therefore Russian PR agencies have to be very creative to place news and stories in the media.

 

2. How does your agency handle / embrace this?

Yulia Kiseleva: Our PR Consultants are very experienced and know the media environment very well. Some of them have worked as journalists for renowned media before joining our agency, such as “Kommersant” or “Moskovskij Komsomolets”. Still, it’s a real  challenge to place topics and stories and organize events with limited budgets that balance the client’s targets with the interests of the media. At the same time, creating a special atmosphere is crucial to the success of the event – and that’s really not easy in a city like Moscow, that has seen all types of events already. Our job is to implement PR programs on international standard – but with Russian “flavour”.

 

3. Can you give a recent example from a project?

Yulia Kiseleva: For one of our clients, BGN fashion brand, GlobalCom Russia has organized the presentation of their new collection to the media. For this purpose, our first task was to select the “face” of this new collection, and our choice was the Russian actress Marina Aleksandrova. She  attended the presentation of the new collection in Moscow, which was hold in the event and exhibition location PROEKT_FABRIKA.

The problem was that in France the collection was presented in a very romantic style, like in a French village. The client wanted to apply the same concept in Russia and just adapt it to the look and feel of the Russian country side. But as you can imagine there is a huge difference between a French and a Russian village. Therefore it was quite a difficult task to create a romantic village atmosphere “in Russian style”. In the end we chose a gallery with a green environment and created a very natural atmosphere with birds singing, the smell of hay, live rabbits and exclusive hand-made decorations.

 

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Read more about regional differences in PR – why international company representatives should not hesitate to speak at press events in Russia and why the successful placement of an article can turn into a nightmare  – in part 2 of the interview with our Russian PR expert Yulia Kiseleva next week.

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Yulia Kiseleva is Executive Director of GlobalCom Russia – GlobalCom PR-Network’s partner agency in Russia. Yulia has worked in the PR industry for 10 years and has a background in Marketing, Culture and Art.

GlobalCom Russia  is a full-service PR agency founded in 2000 and is one of the key players on the market for Russian corporate communications. The agency provides a unique set of solutions to its customers, including full range of PR methods, advertisement, marketing services, media strategy building, branding, interactive and BTL tools. Among the clients of the agency are companies like the Russian Railways Corp, the Pension Funds of the Russian Federation, Altimo, Oracle, S7 Airlines and, Zepter International