A 3 min read

A new trend – the role of communication manager is fully entrusted to an agency

More and more international and Estonian companies are moving in a direction where the entire work of a communication department is outsourced to an agency. Is this decision justified, and in that case, what is the key to smooth cooperation?

Although, at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, it was thought that many companies would manage communication with the help of in-house staff, the reality has turned out the opposite. Even before the crisis, the trend of outsourcing the entire communication management service had begun to grow. In particular, from an agency that provides a full service – strategic communication, daily media communication, and social media as well as internal communication.

In order to make such a cooperation smooth, one person should still be responsible for marketing and communication in-house. Whether it is a marketing or communication manager, the two areas are so intertwined and should, ideally, support each other, it doesn’t matter how the responsible person is titled. However, it is common that the person responsible for communication in the company is the marketing or brand manager.

Agency vs communication or marketing manager

Outsourcing the entire communication service is especially common in international companies, which very often connect the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian markets and outsource all project management and daily communication from one agency.

For years, Coca-Cola and McDonalds, for example, have been doing the same, outsourcing all communication management. According to Nele Normak, Coca-Cola’s Head of Public Relations in the Baltics, this is both cost-effective and significantly more convenient for the person in charge. “A few years ago we made the strategic decision to consolidate marketing, PR, and government communication under one single agency.

Different brands need a diverse range of communication to reach their target groups and get the best results. The use of an agency adds freshness, and offers innovative approaches and diverse perspectives,” explained Normak.

A similar example is Citycon, where the marketing team consists of marketing and communication manager Helina Leif, and the coordinator of the shopping centers. The latter mainly dealing with internal communication. Their communication service is outsourced entirely to META Advisory.

“Other Nordic countries with a number of Citycon shopping centers have their own communication managers. Similarly to Denmark, Citycon has only two centers in Estonia (very few compared to Norway, where there are 24 centers – H.L.), whose communication needs and volumes do not require the hiring of a separate specialist. However, I feel that since, in Estonia, my area of ​​responsibility is both marketing and communication, the use of a PR agency is absolutely essential during the high season. Firstly, it is cost-effective; and secondly, I appreciate the agency’s support, particularly in ​​crisis communication issues and media relations. When publishing data or news, it is often good to have an impartial partner who has no connection to Citycon. That helps to see the bigger picture and to provide better comments, which also have a greater impact on the customer, who does not know the background of the center’s decisions,” Leif explained.

Which is more cost-efficient?

Many are afraid to hire an agency fearing it would be very expensive. In practice, however, hiring an agency is sometimes more cost-efficient than hiring one high-level communication professional. Especially because obtaining services from the agency provides access to specialists of several different areas, who will help to grow both the company’s reputation and the sale of your product or service. Today, a modern communication agency offers services to help build product and service brands, to plan marketing based on customer segments, and to build a company’s reputation and develop it from month to month, as well as managing the company’s relationship with the public, media and local community.

Especially in times of crisis the agency can be of great help, as there are experts who have managed the crisis communication of several companies and gained valuable experience. Thanks to this, it is possible for a company to feel more secure every day.

The 2020 labor market survey done by CVKeskus.ee, the largest employment portal in Estonia, and the Salary Information Agency, revealed that the median gross salary in Estonia for a marketing and communication specialist is 1,400 euros and 1,850 euros for a top specialist. At the same time, it is true that an experienced communication manager is no longer attracted to such a fee. However, it is possible to get a monthly contract from the agency for the same amount of money, which can cover the basic needs of a smaller company.

Ask META for an offer today and write to ann.hiiemaa@metaadvisory.ee

A 3 min read

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

In summer 2020, we started recording the podcast Trend Makers in cooperation with the Kristiine and Rocca al Mare Centers, and the Kõrvauss studio. In Estonia, Kristiine and Rocca al Mare were the first shopping centers to create such an additional channel for themselves.

The podcast is not just a new advertising space for the centers, but their very own program.

The presenters talk to amazing and inspiring people, who may be familiar to the audience already. Trend Makers wants to offer interesting content and, through this, inspire young people. Involving the tenants of the centers helps add an expert view to the topics. And for the tenants, the extra advertising opportunity is a positive side effect.

The tenants of the Rocca al Mare and Kristiine centers value the podcast greatly as an additional output. After recording the first episodes, we also sent them to tenants to listen to, to give them an idea of what the podcast is all about. We also gave them the opportunity to suggest topics for the next episodes. We found that both centers have quite a number of tenants with many exciting topics to cover.

IDEA

The idea for ​​the podcast, Trend Makers, came from the need to reach young people, who are no longer following traditional media. The most popular social media platforms – Instagram, and Facebook, as well as Snapchat and TikTok – are increasingly competitive.

Podcasts allows you to connect the listener to the content for a longer period of time than, for example, short videos or other visual graphics. As already mentioned, it is also a completely new output for tenants of the centers, as the episodes involve their representatives, who can talk about their activities. The best picks from conversations with the guests have also been published in other media – both on the Postimees and Delfi web portals.

STEP ONE

Marketers know that building any new environment is a huge task, so it is always wise to ask yourself, whether the future revenue outweighs the cost, and whether there will be enough people to manage the new format later on.

Making a Podcast is undoubtedly a challenge, but it’s worth it. We have made it very clear to ourselves that building a new environment will take time. It’s a consistent job. Popularity and crowds of listeners don’t come overnight. But the beginning has been promising. With each new episode we see that the number of unique listeners grows. Far away listeners are even located in North and South America, for example.

The podcast, which started in June, already has 10 episodes! Kite surfer and coach Kristiin Oja, actorKristjan Lüüs, make-up artist Gerda Miller, musicians Sander Mölder, Eik Erik Sikk and Maian Lomp, as well as Joel Juht have been among the guests. There is also a live episode with singer Daniel Levi Viinalass.

Photo: Marek Metslaid

“We did a live podcast in front of visitors in the Rocca al Mare Center and linked it to the Father’s Day campaign ‘Super-Paps’. We invited a well-known father figure as a guest to the show, who was also a campaign face in social media. We also videotaped the episode and tested the podcast in video format, ”describes Helina Leif, Marketing and Communications Manager of Citycon’s Estonian centers. “Admittedly, it worked surprisingly well: so far, the video has been watched more than the corresponding episode has been listened to on Spotify. It can’t be hidden, the secret to the video’s success may be that Daniel is such a bright and charismatic personality. The success of the first experiment has given us the courage to do live podcasts in other campaigns as well.”

CHALLENGES AND ADVANTAGES

One of the biggest challenges in making a podcast is finding a suitable time. Since we have three presenters, two guests, and recording takes place in the Kõrvauss studio, finding a time that suites everyone sometimes takes several weeks. For the sake of simplification, we have now taken the path that all three presenters do not have to be present and, if possible, we get two guests at the same time and do a slightly longer episode.

The advantage of a podcast is that it allows people to consume information while they are doing something else – like exercising, driving, walking, or cleaning. Thus, it seemed only right to introduce audio media in addition to all visual channels.

Trend Makers podcasts can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and other popular media. The presenters of the Trend Makers are META Advisory consultants Jonatan Karjus, Helin Naska and the head of marketing and communication of Citycon’s Estonian centers, Helina Leif.

The Podcast can be listened to HERE.

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META joined the global PR network, Convoy

1 min read

META joined the global PR network, Convoy

A 1 min read

Estonia’s leading government relations and PR agency META Advisory joined the global PR network, Convoy, which focuses primarily on the communication of B2B technology companies. Belonging to the network gives META the opportunity to serve international technology sector clients even better than before and to find new clients in addition to their existing ones.

META is the only Estonian agency that belongs to the global IPREX network, which is a network of independent (owned by local partners) communication agencies, with €381 million turnover, across more than 1,600 employees, in 110 offices around the world. Belonging to Convoy and IPREX gives META the most extensive international network of Estonian PR agencies.

“Being part of international networks provides us and our clients with additional opportunities. Going to foreign markets with our clients has become significantly faster and easier, because we are supported by a network of experts,” said Ann Hiiemaa, META’s Business Development Manager.

“Belonging to Convoy gives us access to international B2B technology brands who want to create campaigns with a real impact when entering the Estonian market. Our clients from the technology sector, in turn, receive support when entering foreign markets, as they have access to top-level experts besides us, who know the ins and outs of a specific target market.”

Convoy’s CEO Rob Ettridge added: “As B2B companies continue to need to create targeted and cost-efficient campaigns aimed at raising brand awareness and growing their customer base, access to local experts is essential. We chose META as our partner, because they have an excellent reputation and long-term experience in Estonia.”

META’s partners Andreas Kaju and Ott Lumi, who founded the agency in 2009, have built up two main areas of business during their 11 years of operation: Meta Government, which deals with government relations, and Meta Communications, which provides strategic consulting and communication solutions in media relations, marketing, internal communication and reputation building.

The Green Turn finally reaches everyone

4 min read

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