Regardless of whether you deal with B2B, B2C, product or corporate public relations, your actions must always be adapted to the market in which you direct your message. Often, what works in Great Britain, the USA or Western European countries may prove to be a complete failure on the Polish market. Poles are a specific type of customer who hold to specific values, and are also distrustful of new things. Learn about some of the key elements of PR in Poland that you should be more careful about.
New, unknown products
Advertisers and PR professionals consider Polish clients to be one of the least trusting nationals in the world. There is a lot of truth in this – in the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, Poland took fifth place among the most distrustful consumers among the surveyed countries (it was in second place a year earlier), reaching only 39 points out of 100. This distrust is manifested not only towards the media or policy, but also towards new businesses, services and products that enter the Polish market. When communicating to a Polish client, you need to take slightly more measures to reduce their distrust of new products. How to do this? Good ways are, for example, lists of references, recommendations from influential public figures, the use of case studies (preferably from a local market), industry experts’ opinions, market research results and other evidence of guaranteeing the effectiveness and security of investment in a product or service.
Worldwide lack of trust – 2018 research results
According to Grant Thorton’s report, if salaries in the European Union would maintain their current dynamics, Poland would not be able to achieve average EU earnings in the next 50 years! Unfortunately, average Polish customers have significantly lower incomes than citizens of other European Union countries. Foreign brands that want to reach the Polish market must therefore adapt to the realities prevailing there. When shopping, Poles often are guided by the price – they love to compare products and very often look for the cheapest alternatives (especially for expensive products such as electronics). In your PR messages, it is worth using two ways to arouse the interest of Polish customers: use loyalty cards (with the possibility of converging coupons or points) or very strongly communicate the value of products or services. If a Pole is convinced of the value of what they buy, they will be willing to pay more for it.
Poles are very direct people. Dissatisfied customers from Poland are happy to share their negative brand-related experiences. Social media is a particularly popular platform for writing unfavourable opinions today. This is one of the channels of communication with brands most frequently chosen by Poles (especially in the finance, retail, transport, hotel and automotive industries). According to good PR, the brand should react quickly and specifically to negative feedback from Poles. Polish customers do not like to be ignored as consumers. Definitely not worth sweeping the issues of dissatisfied customers under the rug. Avoiding replies or blocking on Facebook or Instagram will also be a very bad practice.
Controversial topics in Poland
Poland is a very conservative country. According to the 2018 Central Statistical Office report, as many as 81 percent of Poles declare themselves as Catholics. What does this mean for a brand that wants to conquer the Polish market? It is definitely worth analysing the PR strategy. Although Poles (especially the young ) are becoming more open and tolerant, it is still worth being cautious about topics such as LGBT, ethnic or religious minorities. Especially if you target your products or services to a slightly older community (e.g. 50+). However, if your goal is to arouse emotions or to trigger a discussion on social media, it is sometimes worth a little provocaion. However, you have to be aware of the fact that the chance of receiving negative feedback from many customers is considerable.
By knowing the sensitive topics for Polish clients, it is much easier to create an optimal PR strategy for the Polish market. If you need help from a PR agency that has experience in running public relations campaigns for clients from Poland, please contact us. We are eager to hear about your brand.
2. The most important values for Poles and how to use them in PR
Poland is known as a conservative country where the majority of the population are Catholics. When planning PR activities targeted at the Polish market, many brands use this value in their communications. What are other important values for Poles and how to cleverly incorporate them in the PR strategy for your company?
Although not all target groups of Polish customers will respond positively to religion-related PR messages, the data speak for themselves: as many as 81% of Poles declare themselves to be Catholics (CSO report from 2018). This is especially true for older people, who are usually slightly less tolerant and much more conservative than younger generations. By directing your PR messages to older Poles, it is better to avoid controversy (e.g. LGBT related topics) or to show people of a different faith. Of course, this is not about homophobia, but only about creating a relationship with the client and the possibility of their identification with the message.
Family and friendship
According to the results of the CBOS report from 2019 entitled ‘The family – its meaning and understanding’, family and friends were among the most important values for Polish consumers. Every brand directing its PR transmission to Polish customers should skillfully use this knowledge. Therefore, it is worth emphasising these values in press releases, articles, as well as visual communication – infographics, photos and videos, on social media.
Health is almost as important to Poles as their loved ones (data from the CBOS report from 2019). If you plan to start public relations activities in Poland, remember that your messages do not suggest in any way that your product is dangerous to health or life. It is always worth informing Polish consumers about product safety, all approvals and tests. Importantly – Poles care not only for their health, but also for their loved ones. So it’s good to use this in your PR messages.
Along with health, there is also ecology – another value important for many Poles (especially the young). Consumer awareness is growing, as is knowledge about how to care for the planet. Polish customers are curious which brands are environmentally friendly and which companies allow them to reduce the amount of waste in their homes. Many Polish customers today avoid plastic packaging – especially when it can be easily replaced. When creating a PR strategy on the Polish market, it will definitely be good to embody environmental-related messages, showing customers that your brand cares as much for the environment as they do. This is especially important for young Poles.
As soon as a Polish client notices that the behaviour of a given company is even a bit unfair, they usually lose trust in it forever. In Poland, there were many controversial scandals related to dishonesty of producers. One very loud case concerned the Polish blogger Jessica Mercedes, who, after assurances that her products came from the country, bought them from a cheap brand, and then sewed on her own logo price tags. Customers reacted sharply. When entering the Polish market, it is worth remembering that your messages must be transparent. It is better to admit your mistake to Poles, than to be accused of lying.
When creating PR messages, it is wise to create a list of values that coincide with the values of both the brand itself and its customers. A Polish customer does not like to be cheated and when they sense dishonesty, they usually say goodbye to the company once and for all. If you are looking for help from a PR agency that has been involved in planning and implementing public relations activities on the Polish market for years, contact us.
3. PR in Poland – what channels to use and what to look for?
Media relations, press materials, promotion at events or maybe social media? Each company that enters the Polish market faces the same dilemma. Do Polish consumers respond to PR activities in the same way as customers from other European countries? Which channels to reach with your public relations message are worth using in Poland?
Poles are a strongly digitized nation. According to the Digital 2020 report, the average Polish consumer spends over 6 hours a day online! These are mainly social media – Facebook and YouTube (for younger users, also Instagram and Tik Tok), as well as Internet portals . This means that PR publications on portals ensure greater brand exposure among Poles. Thus, they are much more valuable than printed, radio or television publications. One of the least paid channels is the press – the number of printed titles in Poland is falling dramatically (especially during the pandemic). It’s definitely worth focusing on the Internet – social media and public relations publications on major portals. You should definitely research your target groups beforehand. The Polish teenager visits completely different websites than his siblings, parents or grandparents.
Time spent on the web in 2020
Polish customers love innovation in every form! Although they are often reluctant consumers and take a long time to convince themselves of the value of a foreign brand, they are in turn very open to original, creative public relations messages. So if you are planning a PR strategy on the Polish market, do not be afraid of bold actions and the use of creativity – not only on the Internet, but also in ordinary press materials, outdoor campaigns and other unusual actions. The more interesting, the greater the chance that Poles will talk about your brand.
Cooperation with influencers
Polish customers are eager to buy products and use services recommended by influential people – both from Poland and from abroad. Regardless of the type of product you offer, don’t be afraid to invite well-known influencers to your brand’s PR campaign. Poles willingly reach for the opinions of famous actors, athletes and artists. If your budget is smaller or you want to reach a more niche target group, it is worth organising a PR campaign with microinfluencers. Here, however, it will be safer to work with people from Poland – those with whom your potential customers can easily identify and establish a close relationship. A PR campaign with the involvement of influential people is a very good move on the Polish market, but only if it is properly planned and implemented. When you do it without knowing the influencer market, a foreign brand may lose more than it will gain.
Polish PR agencies
Although Brand24 – one of the most popular tools for monitoring online media today comes from Poland, Polish Public Relations agencies are much less experienced in conducting long-term campaigns for foreign clients. Unfortunately, Polish PR companies rarely use large data sets or artificial intelligence in their reports. They also often do not have specialised software for this purpose. In most cases, they only present excerpts from publications in the media, and also use the relatively small potential of modern PR tools. When looking for a PR agency to help with a campaign directed at Polish consumers, it is good to pay attention not only to the knowledge of the market itself, but also to the agency’s tools and experience. Only then can you be sure that the campaign will not only be well planned and optimised, but also implemented correctly.
As you can see, PR targeted at the Polish market is not very different from other Western countries. Poles are more often willing to identify with the values or products from the European Union. However, there are many nuances that are worth exploring before planning a Public Relations strategy directed at Poles. If you are looking for an experienced advertising agency that has been successfully cooperating with foreign brands for many years to enter the Polish market and at the same time uses modern tools, contact us. We will be happy to hear about your needs!
4. Is it worth investing in influencers for PR activities in Poland?
Influencer marketing, despite being increasingly criticised by specialists, remains one of the most used PR tools in the world. Public relations campaigns in cooperation with influential people from the Internet, and not only, are a great way to build customer trust. How does it look on the Polish market? Is it worth investing in influencers for PR campaigns of foreign brands?
The right plan is the basis
Foreign companies‘ PR campaigns targeted at Polish clients are very popular. No wonder – currently on Instagram (i.e. the most commonly used medium for cooperation with influencers) there are as many as 6 million Poles. Although many people use this actively for hours (that is, add their own photos or videos), many people mainly observe the actions of their favourite stars on the Internet. However, it is not enough to choose the largest influencers in Poland and observe the activities. The most important strategy is the right one – it’s best created by someone who knows the Polish market and Polish clients perfectly. Otherwise, such PR activities will only be shooting blindly at potential consumers.
Big influencer or microinfluencer – Polish realities
Large, foreign corporations are eager to spend huge budgets on cooperation with the largest influencers in Poland. Take for example, Coca-Cola, who used images of the most popular Youtubers in the country for their high-profile campaign. However, it is increasingly said in Poland that brands should turn towards small influencers. People with smaller ranges are « closer » to their customers and they have a real impact on their purchasing decisions. How to look for them? Although there are tools that automate the search for microfluencers, we still recommend the traditional method and putting the PR campaign into the hands of people experienced on the Polish influencer market – for example a specialised agency.
Polish or foreign influencers?
If your public relations campaign is to be directed primarily at the Polish market – definitely cooperate with Polish influencers. They will be more credible to Polish consumers and they will identify with them faster than with even the biggest foreign star. In turn, if your PR campaign is to be targeted more generally (e.g. to eastern countries), invite also foreign influencers – but those known in Poland. Give up transmissions containing images of influencers, e.g. from Ukraine or Hungary – although the countries are close together, Poles will certainly not associate with them!
Popular influencer marketing niches in Poland
Parenting influencers – mainly mothers – are among the most popular influencer marketing niches in Poland. The cost of such a campaign is usually much higher than for other industries. Other popular subjects are influencers associated with healthy nutrition and fitness (here, Instagram stars such as Ewa Chodakowska and Ania Lewandowska lead the way). Gaming is also one of the most dynamically developing niches of influencer marketing.
How many influencers to collaborate with at the same time?
Unfortunately, in Polish PR there is a tendency to focus on quantity instead of quality. The effects of this can be seen not only in the results of the campaigns themselves, but also in the perception of the brand by potential customers. An example of bad PR on Polish Instagram are brands that produce protein drinks. The logo of one of the companies has appeared on so many profiles that consumers quickly began to have enough of the company. If you have a large budget, it would be better to organise a joint comprehensive campaign with several selected influencers who best match your brand profile. It’s not worth working with anyone who fits your niche.
The Polish market for influencer marketing recipients is quite specific. Poles, although they love to follow the stars in social media, are more and more conscious consumers. When planning a PR campaign with influencers on the Polish market, remember first of all about the proper selection of influencers – on the Polish Internet there are many celebrities that Poles love … hate! If you are looking for influencer experts in Poland, please contact us. For years, we have been helping foreign brands to take their first steps on the Polish market.