ITL #507 Communication environment within CEE: unfolding the mystery2 weeks ago
Central and Eastern markets of Europe are an important part of the marketing and communication world and need to be observed closely. Their potential is not being fully used, which is a big mistake. By Lukasz Wilczynski.
When describing Central and Eastern Europe, the first phrase that comes to mind is that it’s a little enigmatic part of the continent. This judgment raises a crucial question: has anyone ever wondered, isn't it just a stereotype? And when it comes to the communication environment, only a few know how bright its future is.
I have always believed there’s more to CEE and that it is worth paying attention to. Why? The justification is simple. From an economic, social, and cultural standpoint, CEE is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.
Countries from that region are frequently referred to as early adopters, meaning they adopt innovations faster than others. Also, it’s not commonly known that tech solution providers have chosen these states as a testing ground for their new technology.
Of course, not every country is the same innovation-wise. For example, Romania is an early adopter in many fields. On the other hand, the Czech Republic is characterized as a conservative state, but not regarding startups.
Since there are a lot of cultures here, new investors may find it difficult to communicate properly within each country. To build further connections easier, my agency Planet Partners manages a subregion of CEE, which was distinguished operationally from Global Com PR Network, an association for PR agencies.
This was definitely the right decision, as now it provides stronger support and simplifies the coordination of clients’ activities in the whole region. It's all done through an individual partner agency.
Considering how important it is to actively support shifts in perception of the region, I collected important data from CEE countries on their local communication environment that needs to be considered when entering those markets in 2023.
ESG – crucial in CEE’s development
Environmental, social and corporate governance is a set of standards that evaluate how advanced sustainability is in a particular country or corporation, and it’s vital when attracting investors and making a business decision. Around the world, it has recently become a strategic, strongly considered rule. It’s no different within CEE, where the global trend of conscious consumption and life is present.
In Romania, companies made ESG their top management priority and a central element of business strategy. Likewise in Serbia, the concept is something corporations have been following for the last couple of years. It’s worth mentioning that Czech Republic, a place known for being resistant to changes, is actively applying those rules to everyday life. Similarly, ESG criteria are broadening their scope of influence in Poland, but here it is observed especially in the finance sector. In Greece, the transformation of its economy, based on ESG standards, strongly concerns companies in the post-pandemic environment.
While in countries like Croatia and Bulgaria, ESG awareness is at an advanced stage of forming, so it’s still a perfect opportunity for agencies to show the concept’s benefits.
Although at different development stages, ESG is still present in every CEE country, and communication stimulates its popularity. That’s due to success not being measured only by revenue anymore but by contribution to sustainability – the perfect attractor for modern investors.
Media topics, what the future holds in 2023
The communications industry is constantly evolving, leveraging new trends in B2B and B2C sectors. The pandemic forced PR agencies to be agile and adapt quickly to dynamic changes as digital transformation started to gain popularity. Considering technological progress, Artificial Intelligence, Metaverse, and Web 3.0 have made a big entrance.
Since the pandemic, mental health has become a very important issue and will still be widely debated in 2023. As for politics, due to forthcoming elections it will resonate with citizens in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Greece, as well as in Bulgaria, where it has been an ongoing media dispute since the governmental change in 2021.
Now more important to the public, sustainability is present and being discussed through traditional and new media. Environmental changes are predicted to have a huge impact on the communication scene in 2023, mostly because consumers are starting to pay more and more attention to solutions that are both conscious and respectful of the planet.
Communication tools to help business succeed
The media landscape in the region has rapidly changed in the past few years, especially because of the pandemic. Still, it is similar to other global solutions that are trending now.
Traditional media and tools, such as TV, newspapers, and press releases, are important yet becoming less effective. That’s why diverse channels must be implemented within countries with a strong conventional media sector, like Croatia and the Czech Republic. Also, in Poland the rising consumption of electronic media and podcasts led to the depreciation of the conventional communication sector, even though it is perceived as prestigious in the B2B sector.
Nowadays, in the whole CEE region, with no exception, digital media holds a leading position in the market. To gain media attention and build a strong brand image within all CEE markets, businesses have to shift their focus. The main recommended tools are influencer marketing and social media. Influencers are globally perceived as crucial opinion leaders, especially when creating a B2C communication strategy. Also, event management is now and still will be on the rise in 2023 due to the lack of face-to-face communication and the tiredness of video calls caused by the pandemic.
This year is expected to bring a more comprehensive approach to marketing and communication. Bold, original strategies and simple messages are the top priorities. Also, no one should overlook what is predicted to have the most impact on the global industry –content marketing supported by digital advertising.
Concerning the professional work environment, employer branding is starting to be one of the most effective tools not only to promote the company but also to help employees with their mental health. As mentioned before, that’s a crucial topic that will be further raised in 2023.
Interestingly, science has made its entrance onto the communication stage. In CEE, some government and private sector entities use the innovative, scientific COM-B model in communication. This allows for the design of solutions that are more likely to have an actual impact on behavioral changes through capability (C), opportunity (O), and motivation (M).
Considering all those examples, a conclusion can be easily made. The stereotype of CEE being an alienated, less important territory is not the case anymore. CEE’s business potential is determined by the size of this market and convenient transport connections with every corner of the continent. This is the true image of Central and Eastern Europe you may not have known before. It’s a place whose importance is increasing, and which in the near future will mark its equal spot on the world stage.
Lukasz Wilczynski is founder and former CEO of Planet Partners and leader of the Central and East Europe region in GlobalCom PR Network, one of the most extensive global communication networks. An experienced communications professional and manager with 20+ years of experience in corporate communications, reputation management, brand strategy, and storytelling for the new tech sectors and in international campaigns, he is also the founder and president of the Space Communications Alliance, the world's first global communications and PR network for the space sector.mail the author
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