The key to getting it right in public relations and communications in the UK is to know how the British media works. There is a level of sophistication that, at times, confuses not only the cooperative Swede but also the slightly more heavy-handed Yankee working in PR & communications. Benjamin Webb, Managing Director at Deliberate PR, shares his expert advice on how to approach British media.
“If you are rude to British journalists, they blacklist you. For example, if you go to British journalists and do the Swedish thing and say, ‘When are you going to send me the interview to proof before publication?’ a British journalist will fall on the floor, and they will not believe that you could be so rude as to suggest that they can’t write articles properly,” Benjamin Webb, Managing Director at Deliberate PR, says. Put simply, leave all of your preconceived notions of how the Swedish press and media work at the door because it is not like Sweden.
There are significant differences between the British and Swedish working cultures, and ultimately, the best solution is to have a bit of help and not solely rely on yourself. The dissimilarities do not have to get in the way of a fruitful business relationship. The key to success is to know your strengths and reach out for local expertise.
“You cannot expect the UK and the UK media and businesses to bend to your clearly defined Stockholm notions of how companies are meant to behave. Local knowledge is crucial. Talk to the consultants and to the companies that help you localise,” Benjamin says and continues: “That is not to say you should pretend to be British, but you should at least have the go-betweens who will make this process easier for you. What you need to do is to work out within your own business: ‘What are the Swedish things that I do, that are actually selling points within the UK and how can I leverage that and turn it into my advantage’.”