Designing international projects for the digital era

26/04/2021
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The last decade has accelerated demand for cross-border collaboration throughout the PR industry. We aimed to harness this energy at JIN and created a team dedicated solely to brand projects on a European scale. With flexible workflows handling campaigns from local to global then back to local, the Core International Team provides an agile response to global client needs.

Across European borders, companies implementing new communication channels are playing into a wider shift in digital culture. The Covid-19 era has certainly proven to be the catalyst for a “great digital acceleration”. According to a McKinsey report, organizations have fast-tracked digitization across many parts of the business, including customer interactions, supply-chain strategy and internal operations by a timeframe of 3 to 7 years. However, when asked why companies didn’t implement changes sooner, the majority admitted a painfully obvious truth: it simply wasn’t a priority.

After 12 months of “the new normal”, European companies have advanced beyond simply adopting technological solutions for immediate problems – behind this dramatic transformation lies a profound change in mindset. In today’s globalized economy, digitalization has quickly risen to the top of priorities. Companies now face a two-fold challenge to reconcile digitalization with international processes that facilitate smooth collaborations.

As a European boutique PR agency, JIN is uniquely positioned to flourish on projects with a cross-border aspect. Since our creation in 2012, our DNA is both natively digital and natively international – we speak 9 languages and come from over 10 countries. While we have always performed beyond borders, the pandemic provided us with an opportunity to recalibrate our values and identify a key initiative for 2021, which is to reinforce our international capacities and develop our expertises across the continent.

As a central part of this year’s key initiative, we have established the Core International Team. Beginning in Q2, a select number of our consultants will be dedicated to responding exclusively to client demand for international PR and digital communication. Over the years, we have experienced first-hand an increasing number of multiple-market projects expand in both geographic range and service scope. Today’s new Core International Team is a culmination of close to a decade of European collaboration across JIN’s offices.

From an operational perspective, the team represents an agile collaboration that favors individualized services over a cookie-cutter approach. By seamlessly bridging the gap from strong local organizations to global teams, project members can build a fluid glocal strategy. Particularly during a time of uncertainty, building key relationships with a brand’s decision-makers provides us with unique insight into the company’s current direction. Our clients appreciate having a single, centralized point of contact for a project no matter the geographic scope.

A prime example can be found with Jollibee, a Filipino multinational chain of fast food restaurants known for being the home of Asia’s favorite fried chicken. The brand has ambitious growth plans across Europe, and will be investing over £50 million in the region. Ashlee Campbell, Head of Marketing Europe, points out how JIN’s global approach fits naturally with the dynamics of a cross-European brand.

“Jollibee has extensive expansion plans across Europe with a mission to bring our delicious menu to cities across the region. In a competitive industry, it’s important that our communication teams are capable of adapting our global brand message in a way that truly resonates with locals in each new market we enter.”

Campbell goes on to add, “To speak the language is one thing, but to have the support of a physical team in the country who are up to date on market trends and cultural sensitivities is always our preferred way of working. In 2021 we are launching in Spain and in the coming years we hope to add more countries to that list. Our relationship with JIN makes them feel like an extension of our Jollibee Europe team and we look forward to continuing our growth with them.”

Our international culture goes beyond simply working with clients as well, and is infused into our internal spirit. When lines are blurred between work and home, online vs offline media, local vs global, our resilience to navigate an uncertain and changing world is the key to our progress. Rather than have an isolating effect, more cross-border collaboration flourished at JIN as inter-office teamwork saw a strong upturn. Having recently taken up the role of Managing Director for the UK office, Simon John highlights the unique culture at JIN.

“The European aspect was a key driver in me joining the business. JIN has an unparalleled approach to serving clients cross border, without the conflict of local market P&Ls which only hinder clients and don’t allow for strategic and operational efficiencies. Our diverse culture is also additive, challenging conventional thinking and meaning that while we have a global approach we activate each country through a local market lens. »

In concrete terms, the Core International Team streamlines all new international business through a dedicated system, process and mindset. The central tenet of our international growth revolves entirely on customer-centricity. For a client, borders are not nearly as important as a global brand positioning that takes into account local contexts during implementation. Our team provides a true melting pot of insights that enhance brand coherence at the local level. Rather than adding the international scope as a cherry on top of a central strategy, JIN builds out internationally scalable ideas that, by design, use strong local knowledge as building blocks.

Our internal process draws top expertise from all business units at JIN, including social, PR, corporate and crisis communication and performance marketing. The team has full access to talent across the organization, allowing communication to travel both from market and to market. Our system ensures that the best team at JIN works on a campaign, not the best team “at location”. Finally, the team’s mindset provides a better understanding of potential roadblocks while bringing a native-level knowledge of local culture and market specifics.

As head of this new core international team, I look forward to supporting our clients across Europe. Core team members hail from the UK, Germany, France and Spain. While JIN has long championed the benefits of digital influence across Europe, the International Core Team can now turn strategy into action even faster. The importance of cultivating an active online presence has only increased with the pandemic – brands cannot deny it any longer. Internationally scalable digital presences must become a priority, and a tool to express their identity.

 

Merve Liebelt, VP JIN Group & GM Europe

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26/04/2021

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