A 1 min read

The creation of the Rail Baltica business network highlighted the peculiarities in creating business networks in the Baltic region

I have always been interested in communication and government relations projects in the field of transit and logistics.

Such projects require strategic communication planning, and a good understanding of the government sector is an obvious precondition.

In almost 15 years in the PR business I have advised various companies in the field of ​transit and logistics. In the late 1990s, when oil transit was one of the engines of the Estonian economy, I had the opportunity to start my work as a PR manager for companies such as N-Terminal and Pakterminal. Over the years I have also advised Eesti Raudtee, Nordica and several other interesting transit and logistics companies in Estonia.

One of the most interesting projects recently in this field is related to the activities of the Rail Baltica Business Network. In 2019, I completed a two-year project with the aim of establishing Rail Baltica Business Networks in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as in Poland and Finland. This project was financed by the European Commission, and the project partners, in addition to META, were the law firm Triniti and the project consulting company Innopolis.

Background

A number of pan-European infrastructure mega-projects – like Rail Baltica – have been set up with the support of the European Commission. Unfortunately, the awareness of business communities about these projects is often not sufficient until these projects are completed. In many cases, this has meant that operators with a potential interest in using the infrastructure will discover new opportunities too late, which essentially means wasted resources and unused opportunities.
The creation of the Rail Baltica Business Network was a two-year project, where META’s task was to manage communication in the target countries and to organize events for the right target groups as a prerequisite for the emergence of the business network.

Conclusions

The project taught us that countries in our region have different perceptions about setting up such informal business networks. For example, in Estonia the Rail Baltica Business Network is a very lively organization including more than 25 leading Estonian companies in the fields of transit, logistics and construction. At the same time, in Lithuania the traditions of society are much more corporate and the preconditions for creating non-governmental business networks are quite different.

Therefore, in order to bring together the business communities and introduce Rail Baltica’s future business opportunities, completely different methods had to be used.

The European Commission considered the project successful, and we hope to continue cooperation with the Estonian Rail Baltica Business Network in the future.

Meta team

Ott Lumi Founder and Partner

Why a podcast for a mall? The first step of Trend Makers

3 min read

A 1 min read

Rakvere meat industry labor dispute with the slaughterhouse workers’ union

The problem

In October 2017, 27 of 64 employees of the Rakvere meat plant’s slaughterhouse organized an illegal shutdown requiring a 50 to 100% increase in wages. The negotiations did not bring the parties closer together, not even with the intervention of the Public Conciliator. On December 14, 2017, the company announced an increase in the total payroll fund of the company by 5% in the spring of next year, to which the union responded with an announcement that an indefinite strike would start from February 6, 2018. The strike involved some twenty workers, but it lasted more than two months and became the longest downtime in Estonia. The increase in the payroll fund in the spring, as planned, put an end to the strike. The media covered every step of the half-year crisis extensively, often as headlines.

Solution

Throughout the crisis the company was under great pressure for full transparency and the publication of detailed salary data. The workers’ union accused the company of emotional speeches, as well as of slavery, although the wages were above the market median according to national salary surveys. As common to a listed company, much of the data contained business secrets and are protected by the Employment Contracts Act, and therefore the company could not disclose the information.

Nevertheless, company representatives were always available to the media throughout the crisis and explained the situation as much as possible. This meant a dramatic increase in the workload for the company’s communication manager. And here META was able to come and help, providing the company with much-needed extra resources for monitoring media and social media, and dealing with media inquiries. A lot of misinformation was spread around that was crucial to refute as quickly as possible.

On the most intensive days our consultant worked in the company’s office.

In addition, META played an important role in wording messages, communicating with journalists, searching for allies, and in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of media coverage (including social media).

The communication strategy was chosen together with the company, and focused on the long term: to maintain credibility. For that purpose we had to be accessible, calm, consistent, respectful of all employees (including strikers) and develop fair long-term solutions to increase employee satisfaction. Throughout the crisis, internal communication was central. Even on the first day of the strike, when every national media source was present before the Rakvere plant, the top manager of the company spent most of his time communicating with the employees.

Results

Although the company’s reputation was damaged in the long crisis, it did not affect brand strength: The sales volume of Rakvere and Tallegg products did not fall. Through continuous internal communication, the company managed to prevent the strike from spreading to other departments and units of the company. The company has continued to invest in Estonia and the positive news has left the crisis a thing of the past. There have been internal changes in the management of the company, where employees have more opportunities to have a say and employment relations are in good condition.

Improving the company’s overall reputation is a long-term goal. In order to achieve that, the company continues to be visible in the public more than before, and openly shares news about its activities as well as industry expertise.

Meta team

Kadri Hansalu Senior Consultant

A 1 min read

How did the Haabersti bridge become the Rocca al Mare overpass?

Nearly 40 pieces of free media coverage, over 700 name proposals, a 5% increase in visitor numbers, over 4,500 unique visitors on the landing page

INTRODUCTION

Why are the visitor numbers of the shopping center decreasing? The study revealed that the reason was not just increased competition between shopping centers, but also included the fact that the long-lasting construction works of the new overpass were causing a lot of changes in nearby traffic, which have scared away customers arriving by car. We approached the problem from a completely unexpected angle – we began looking for a new name for one of the most important and newly built overpasses in the city.

GOALS

to increase the number of visitors to Rocca al Mare Center;
to enhance the brand attractiveness of the Center through activities that contribute to society;
To develop links with the local community, businesses, and the district government.

STRATEGY

In 2018–2019 the number of visitors to the Rocca al Mare Center was smaller than expected, so we went directly to the customers to find out why they are no longer coming to the Center. The increase in competition on the commercial market is a well-known reason. But the surprising fact was that, although road construction works in the immediate vicinity of the Center were completed, access to the Center was seen as more complicated than ever before, and the continuing road works in the area were creating additional problems.

We decided to approach the problem from an unexpected angle. In order to draw attention to the newly improved traffic system, we started looking for new names for the freshly built Haabersti overpass and pedestrian tunnels in cooperation with the municipal authorities and local companies.

Besides highlighting the completion of roadworks, the name competition was also a good way for the Center to develop community relations with the local residents, businesses and district government. It also opened the possibility to develop the brand awareness and appeal of the Rocca al Mare Center.

Strategically, the most important thing was to become a partner of the Haabersti District Government, which meant understanding their motivation, along with direct and transparent communication. Then we engaged the entertainment companies in the surrounding area – the Open Air Museum, and the Saku Suurhall.

The next step was designing the messages and organization of the name competition in cooperation with the partners. This meant creating the campaign’s landing page, and putting together data sheets and plans for social media and PR. The significant role of PR was cooperation with the municipal media, which is often underestimated.

As a result of public voting, the Haabersti bridge was renamed the Rocca al Mare overpass and the pedestrian tunnels were renamed the Zoo tunnel and the Suurhall tunnel. It should be made clear that the organizers of the competition did not interfere in the results of the public voting.

TOOLS

  • Traditional media: press releases, articles and thematic proposals
  • Skilled use of the Center’s own channels (social media, internal and external screens, and the landing page)
  • Direct mail to the residents of the district – this method proved very successful
  • Skilled use of the communication channels of the municipal media (social media, district’s newspaper and website)

The PR budget was approximately 6,000 euros

RESULTS

38

pieces of media coverage, both in Estonian and Russian language media

711

name proposals for the competition (among which Rocca al Mare was the undisputed leader)

4-5%

The number of visitors to the Rocca al Mare Center increased by 4-5% compared to the previous year (2018)

4500+

unique users visited the competition’s website

Eesti Ekspressi

The editorial board of the weekly Eesti Ekspress also made its proposals for the name of the bridge.

Meta team

Jonatan Karjus Senior Consultant

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3 min read

A 1 min read

The community group Smart Industry inspires Estonian companies to digitalize their manufacturing processes.

The problem

Estonia is internationally known for its digital capabilities.

This is primarily based on innovative e-solutions in the public sector, but the overall level of digital take-up by our companies is still below the EU average.

Therefore, one of the strategic goals of Enterprise Estonia is to increase the digitalization of industrial enterprises in order to help the industrial sector, as the main engine of the country ‘s economic development, to benefit from digital technologies and better use of data collection.

Among other activities, communication plays an important role in raising awareness about industrial automation, robotics and digitalization, as well as increasing the readiness to implement relevant innovations in one’s company. The aim is also to help managers and owners of industrial companies understand the complete ecosystem (Enterprise Estonia, local government, banks, universities, companies offering digitization/automation services etc.), which supports industrial companies in the digitalization process.

Solution

Analyzing in detail the attitudes of the representatives of industrial companies, the channels used, and the current communication about digitalization, META, in cooperation with Enterprise Estonia, came to the conclusion that in order to achieve set goals, two main focuses must be addressed:
1) it is necessary to improve the integration of communication channels to better deliver messages to the target audience;
2) arguments for digitalization and the benefits rising from it must be made tangible for the target group.

A central task was to create a platform for discussions on the digitalization of industry and community building. That’s why the Facebook group Tark Tööstus was created. The aim is to provide the person who joins the community, with the relevant know-how, inspiration and, if possible, help. The content of the group is based on topics selected on a monthly basis, and the postings are created in cooperation with Enterprise Estonia, an expert or a company. The group also covers news and broadcasts related to the topic. In addition, myth-breaking video clips are introduced, which offer rebuttals to and resolve the most common misconceptions related to digitization.

Results

The number of members has been a key measure of the group’s success. When we created the group in July 2020, taking into account the size of the target group and the habits of social media consumption, we set a goal to reach 500 members by the end of the year. But we had to adjust that goal immediately after opening of the group – as 500 members were reached in only 1.5 months.

The growth of membership has continued at a steady pace – about 100 new members join the group monthly. As of November, the number of active members is over 850. The number of active contributors to the group’s discussions and engagement has also steadily increased.

860+

members in the group

125

posts (approximately ¾ by members and only ¼ by editors)

1099

reactions

61

comments

61%

of group members are men

39%

of group members are women

10

outstanding digitalization stories rich in experience

Meta team

Rainer Laurits Team Lead, Senior Consultant

A 3 min read

The Collection Diary brought a comprehensive savings boom in Estonia!

SHORT SUMMARY

1 a nationwide savings boom, 15,500 participants, 90% of them active, over 40 pieces of very strong media coverage, unpaid media coverage worth almost 50,000 euros, and all while investing 0 euros in paid media! This is the January summary of the Collection Diary created by Swedbank.

If 10 years ago the national sport of Estonians was skiing, today it is saving.

The Collection Diary campaign gave the members of the target group the skills they really needed – budget planning, useful saving tips – and tens of thousands of euros saved. But most important, we were able to put a very large community to work towards a common goal. It’s more than just a PR campaign. It has a real impact on people’s lives.

THE STORY BEGINS…

For years, Swedbank’s Institute for Finances has contributed to increasing the monetary wisdom of Estonians, but traditional approaches were not enough to evoke real change. In 2018, the sad reality was that almost half of Estonian families lived from pay cheque to pay cheque.
In order to produce change, the problem had to be approached differently. First, in Estonia, we managed to create a truly active community with the Collection Diary Facebook group. We gave a life to a new movement, affecting the financial behavior of thousands.

Estonians have never spoken so honestly and publicly about their financial affairs.

How did we do it?

A TACTICAL PLAN

1 – We set a precise goal
2 – Using thorough research, we found an influencer who spoke precisely to the group we targeted.
3 – We set up a communication strategy: which topics would attract people the most in January 2018? Which channels should we use to share articles, and invite people to join the group? How can we do this in such a way that targets people with a serious interest? Bearing in mind the target group, we mapped the main channels and we developed an attractive messaging strategy.
4 – We found an exciting angle, which helped the influencer we involved present an intriguing challenge – can a family of five cope with a weekly food budget of only €50? This challenge also inspired people to put their management skills to the test, and thousands joined the challenge.
5 – We launched the influencer’s video and also used traditional PR opportunities to leverage the project, such as with agreements with TV and radio channels, as well as very intensive and consistent article writing, and writing and directing these to general media sources.

GOALS

  • Bringing monetary wisdom to people
  • Increasing the number of target group members through traditional media

TARGET GROUP

  • 25+ women, those who want to save and collect money monthly, and who are interested in useful tips on how to do it with simple tools

PERIOD

Jan 6, 2018 to Jan 31, 2018

STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION

We used an integrated communication campaign to efficiently reach the target group we were interested in. In addition to the spokesperson of Swedbank’s Institute of Finances, we also included a well-known blogger, Mirjam Hunt, whose family-blog has stood out in promoting the same values. Together, we challenged people to reduce their food costs in January by at least 10%.
We used social media and traditional media to spread the message. In the first stage, we activated the followers of our influencer with her video. Then we created a Facebook event, where people could join the challenge: “In January I will reduce my food budget by 10%!”. At the same time, we began to design the content of the campaign very intensively, raising various issues. We covered all traditional Estonian media at the same time – television, radio, online and print media.
The formats of press releases, topical articles, and interviews were used. Every week we sent one to two summaries of the topics to the general media, which helped to arouse the interest of Estonian people in joining the group. And the results did not take long to arrive…

RESULTS

The membership of Collection Diary grew to 15,500 in one month, more than 90% of the members were actively involved in the group’s activities during that month. During this time more than 300 posts with valuable content were made in the group, more than 13,000 comments were written, and more than 30,000 likes were given!
Thanks to strategic communication, the group’s activities collected over 40 pieces of free media coverage in one month and interest is constantly growing! The group did not simply share valuable advice, but actually influenced people’s behavior.

In first month, which focused on optimizing food costs, people actually saved more than €10,000.

The amounts saved ranged from tens to hundreds of euros per household!

CREATIVITY, PLEASE HELP ME!

Who would have thought that the bank could create one of the largest social media communities in Estonia? The same bank, which many see as boring, old-fashioned, and greedy, united people to move towards a common goal with an actual budget of €0. But this is not the most important part. What really matters, is that it was possible to activate people to achieve real results. How many families have already been helped by the Collection Diary is probably a minor detail, compared to the impact it will have in the course of years.

PR budget up to 1,700 euros

RESULTS

15 500 +

the number of members is 15,500+, and increasing daily by hundreds of users

90%

of members are active

40+

more than 40 thorough pieces of free media coverage

47 429

unpaid media coverage worth 47,429 EUR

0

the campaign’s media investment was 0 euros

Meta team

Ann Hiiemaa New Business Development Manager

A 1 min read

LOSS IS OK. FAT LOSS. OF COURSE.

Weight loss is a topic that probably affects almost everyone. When the theme of weight loss is integrated into a campaign by the meat industry, involving a well-known personal trainer and other athletic influencers to spread its message, it will no doubt be a campaign that catches the eye and motivates you to try the product.

Rakvere’s new pork protein steaks, Extra Protein Power, were launched with the message

“Pork helps to lose weight and top fitness instructors eat it”

Purpose

In November, Rakvere launched Extra Protein Power pork steaks; extra-thin lean meat steaks, rich in protein and perfect for people with an active lifestyle. The aim of the campaign was to successfully launch the Extra Protein Power protein steaks and make them visible to the target group.

Strategy

The most important aspect of the strategic approach was to communicate as precisely as possible to the target group, with a clear and simple message. We chose a topic that probably speaks to everyone – weight loss. We cooperated with Siim Kelner, a well-known instructor and doctoral student in health behavior studies at Tallinn University, who helped create a background for launching the new products with various articles and speeches as early as the beginning of the year. He became the face of our campaign – “Losing is okay. Fat loss. Of course.”

Integrated communication campaign

To enhance the launch of the protein steaks, an integrated communication campaign was designed, including digital media, outdoor media, the innovative use of surfaces in sports clubs (stickers on lockers, mirrors, and screens), PR, and an event for influential persons and stakeholders. This time, unlike Rakvere’s previous events, the campaign event was took place in the health club on the 26th floor of the Olümpia Hotel in the center of Tallinn. Fitness instructors, who are active on social media, were invited.

“Pork makes you fat! Pork is unhealthy.”

Creativity

“Pork makes you fat! Pork is unhealthy.” Who hasn’t heard myths such as these? However, if the whole city is covered with the message “Pork can help to lose weight”, the face of the campaign is my fitness instructor, whose message follows me on my entire journey to the sports club and back, then I will go to the store and try this product for sure.

Results

  • With PR, we covered all the main online media channels
  • Sales of low-fat and high-protein products have grown exponentially.

The PR budget, including the campaign event, was approximately 5,000 euros.

1

SUCCESSFUL EVENT

439 600

COLLECTED CONTACTS

21%

INCREASE IN PRODUCTS SOLD (2018 VS 2019)

6 587 183

SHOWINGS DURING THE FIRST WAVE

14 298

CLICKS DURING THE FIRST WAVE

0.22%

AVERAGE CTR DURING THE FIRST WAVE

6 706 390

SHOWINGS DURING THE SECOND WAVE

8 690

CLICKS DURING THE SECOND WAVE

0.13%

AVERAGE CTR DURING THE SECOND WAVE

3

AWARDS

Meta team

Ann Hiiemaa New Business Development Manager

Helin Naska Junior Consultant

A 2 min read

How to get a quarter of a million people to the market in a week?

A few years ago, the communication of the opening of the Balti Jaama Market received a lot of attention and the golden egg of Event Communication. What brought (and still brings) so many people to the market? The correct answer is a unique concept and planned communication.

The Balti Jaama Market has a long history – the market with a wide range of goods has been attracting visitors since 1993. In addition to affordable food, everything could be found at the market – from Soviet-era knives, basic necessities and toys to second hand plumbing fixtures, tools and pipes.

In May 2017, the market got a complete renovation and new life – Balti Jaama Market became the most modern universal market in Estonia with almost 300 different vendors.

The main challenge

Since we knew that the historic market had a prior reputation for providing an exotic experience rather than fresh food, our goal was to show that the market had taken a new path and that there is no other like it in Estonia. The aim was also to introduce the idea that Balti Jaama Market is not just a place where you can buy food, but it is also a new and important place to spend time in Tallinn. An important challenge was to attract to the market people who were not regular market-goers until now.

Goals

While planning the communication for the opening of the market, we had three main goals:

  • to create excitement around the new arrival of the market with preceding stories;
  • to show that the market is not just a place to buy food, but also a unique place to spend time;
  • to get as many people as possible to explore the market during the opening week.

What did we do?

The communication process of the Balti Jaama Market actually started 1.5 years before the actual opening. The moment the old market was closed for construction, we started talking about the new market and when it would be opened. We also planned various events for pre-communication – for example, a cornerstone event and a ‘rafter’ party, to which we invited the media and showed the construction work progress, as well as talking about the future of the market. We also involved various interest groups, such as the Telliskivi Society and the Kalamaja Society, who spread news and information in their communities and helped to eliminate the prejudices people had about the building of a new market.

An intensive pre-communication initiative started two months before the opening, in which we involved all major media channels. For all channels we conducted a ‘personal tour’ of the market, showing the stage of the construction works, and giving an overview of what the new market will look like. The first visit was by one of the most popular TV shows of Estonian National Broadcasting, “Ringvaade”. Pre-communication was done in all the most popular TV channels, as well as the most important print and online media channels. We also put a lot of emphasis on the Russian speaking media.

Just before the opening, there were ten long and thorough stories about the arrival of the new market, so there was a lot of interest towards the opening. In addition to the media, we also brought local celebrities and bloggers to the opening event, who produced content in their own social media channels.

The results were excellent

The new arrival of the Balti Jaama Market was covered by all Estonian and Russian speaking media channels. There were almost 64 media reports in total – plus social media postings, which were difficult to quantify, as there were so many of them.

On the opening day, and the following weekend, the media was full of news related to the opening of the Balti Jaama Market. From real time reports from the market to extensive photo galleries entitled “See which celebrities visited the opening of the Balti Jaama Market”.

On the opening day 37,000 people visited the market in 8 hours, and on the following Saturday attracted 46,000 people. It was the biggest attraction of that weekend in Tallinn.

Nearly 250,000 people visited the market in the opening week, exceeding all expectations!

Statistics:

64

pieces of media coverage

250 000

visitors during the opening week

Meta team

Riin Härma Senior Consultant

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