In our interview, PR expert Vita Savicka explains how the financial crisis influenced PR practices in Latvia. She also explains the evolution of the local media landscape and general local differences in PR practices.
Vita Savicka is CEO of the GlobalCom PR Network partner agency Baltic Communication Partners in Latvia. She started her professional career in public relations in 1993 as a press secretary of the then-President of Latvia, Guntis Ulmanis. After working in the State Chancellery, she has been head of communication for UNDP Latvia, communication consultant for World Bank and Executive Directorate of IIHF World Championship, as well as associate professor in Vidzeme University College. She holds a Master in Communication and Master in Politics.
Are there PR practices in which you think your region differs from PR in other part of the world?
VS: Media avoid writing informative articles about business companies, success stories, management interviews that reveal know-how etc. They focus more on figures, facts, and pro-blematic issues.
It also seems that at least 50% of media pre-fer traditional forms of communication and don’t attend video, online or telephone press conferences.
Can you describe common mistakes foreign companies make?
VS: Common failures are made when companies forget that there are regional and country dif-ferences among various markets. For example, very often international press releases are not effective if they are not translated into the local language.
There are situations when we receive very com-mercial releases from international companies – about new products, company success story etc., but that kind of information works very ra-rely, only in cases when there is really something unique.
What do clients from other markets need to keep in mind when they plan to do PR in your region?
VS: Latvia is not a country that is not interested in international news and trends but the chances a press release or information is picked up increase - just like in most markets – if there is a local angle to it. Instead of just translating an international press announcement, a local PR agency can help companies to make information more attractive for local journalists.
In addition to basic things such as adapting the format and layout of the text based on local prefe-rences this mainly means to add some local touch and find a local angle. Here companies profit from the agencies insights into the local market trends and developments, their knowledge local events, editorial calendars and popular topics currently discussed in the media.