A VIEW FROM FRANCE

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Founder of the Global PR Network, Helen Holland and Natacha Favry, Founder and Managing Director of L’Agence RP in France, talk about the communications market in France.

HH: What’s the biggest opportunity in France at the moment in relation to communications?

NF: Social Media. At the moment all clients, not just those in France, are looking for social media management and strategy as the recent Global PR Network research suggests. French people are becoming more and more connected on social platforms and the biggest opportunity for agencies and clients is developing a good strategy as when brands get it right, the ROI can be really fast.

Content is also extremely important. Good content, delivered on the right channel, that can include social media but isn’t exclusive to it, is the key to success.

HH: What must companies remember when they want to enter the French market?

France is all about good relationships. Therefore, you need to be part of the same community as your customers.

The French market can be slow but is reliable and long lasting. However, you need to have the relationships to last the distance as well, that might be with journalists or customers.

Also, your approach needs to be very local, you can’t address the market without French content and French speakers. Journalists and influencers won’t even have a look at your communications if it is not relevant to the local market and if the message is not delivered by a French speaker.

My big piece of advice is be local, act local and go and meet people!

HH: What are the biggest challenges in the French communications market?

Digital is a big challenge for enterprises. It is a paradox as I said earlier that social and digital are the biggest opportunities in the market. Nevertheless, as people are just starting to see how big this trend is, they still need to be educated and more than anything, convince them that they will have impactful results by having a presence on these platforms.

HH: What are your communication predictions for 2016 in France?

French people will increasingly use sharing platforms such as AirBnB…. if you want to become a brand of influence you will need to incorporate this collaborative trend in your communication, be it with content or another way.

Also, to gain attention from the French market, people within organisations need to be positioned as experts. Opinion pieces, white papers and bylines will be the best way to influence your customers and to create a strong brand awareness. Comes back to having the right content. Business people will have more and more interest in the expertise you can bring them so clients need to place themselves as trusted advisors via expert commentary on the issues that matter locally.

How you present this content, is also incredibly important. Visual content – photos and videos – are becoming increasingly important. Therefore in 2016, it won’t just be about what the content says but about how it is presented and delivered to the market.

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