Guest Post by Amanda Molaro is a Public Relations professional working in the consumer-lifestyle industry and is an enthusiast about branding. She is based in Montreal, and has prior experience in the financial services in London, UK and the cosmetics sector in Dubai, U.A.E. You can connect with Amanda on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Public relations (PR) firms admit to having difficulty trying to deliver original, top-tier campaigns for their clients in Quebec. But why? Some claim that the answer lies in the language. Yet, many have found that adopting and disseminating French content does not guarantee success in the PR industry here. Others believe that finding specific content that truly resonates amongst Quebecers and their values can better root firms in the industry.
As PR professionals, the responsibility is to ensure clients are heard, seen, and talked about, regardless of the hurdles. For those firms operating in Quebec (or planning to), there are several ways to effectively address this, while furthermore, delivering compelling and relevant PR.
Do your research
Knowing the environment that you are operating in makes all the difference in Quebec, from your strategies to your relationships with the media. Take the time to go back to the basics and immerse yourself and your clients in what makes the market unique. Read reports and do your research to help decipher what Quebecers truly relate to. What values are important to your client’s target group? What cultural references do they identify with? Do they identify with trends from Europe or their American neighbors? Who are their idols – underground musicians or controversial politicians?
Quebecers are not a static, homogeneous group. They are diverse, each in their own ways. Their language, evidently, makes them unique, but so too does their attitude, a certain joie de vivre about living in the moment as well as their appreciation for simple and local options, whether it be products, services, or brands. Isolating the socio-demographic and cultural features that make Quebec different and strategically aligning your client’s goals will give you a better hold on the market.
While research and reports are important, they can only take you so far. For most, getting personal will require you to do your detective work and considerable networking. It will probably involve brushing up on your français s.v.p., not only to show that you are informed about the environment, but also to demonstrate that you are making an effort to relate to their values.
Talk to those that you want to build relationships with as well as those who are capable of influencing your space. Depending on the clients you represent, identify local influencers who are well recognized and connected in the community. Approach people in a genuine, transparent and respectful way. Asking them for their insights and sharing your own can be a mutually beneficial way to cultivate ideas and strategies. Directly speaking to stakeholders that impact your community can enable agencies and clients alike to deliver meaningful campaigns that are not stuck in a vacuum or a copy-paste, Canada-wide approach. Moreover, it will make you more visible, accessible and top-of-mind.
Raise your profile
Interacting with those at the forefront of your industry lends perspective to how your PR strategies compare with the competition. In Quebec (and beyond), this can serve as an opportunity to really define your position and firm’s market differentiators. It additionally provides a chance to scope out the broader picture and realize what other clients are striving to do; enabling you to better-position your strategies, have presence and standout at a local level.
Like Quebecers, agencies should take note and remember that they are not a homogeneous or static group either. There is always room to indulge in a little self-promotion and to communicate the differences your firm has to offer. Knowing your audience, is a piece of the puzzle, however, reaffirming your differentiating assets and aligning them to the interests of les Quebecois is also a part of the equation.
Regardless of whether you are operating in Quebec or elsewhere, it is the experience and the interaction that you provide that will drive who, why, and how people interact with you and your clients. A one-size fits all communications strategy, implemented at a national level, will not be a convincing approach au Québec. Those PR professionals and agencies that are willing to dive in and master the nuances will be given the opportunity to establish a more meaningful and deeper connection dans la belle province and drive Quebecers to engage with their clients authentically