Are you planning to expand your brand into the Polish market? To gain favor with Polish customers and establish good media relations, your PR efforts need to align with the local realities. How does Polish PR differ from that in the USA and the UK? Get insights from a Polish public relations agency that specializes in working with foreign brands!

Table of contents:

  • Market Characteristics
  • The Role of Public Relations for Companies
  • PR Budgets
  • Media Relations
  • Research Scope
  • Audience Characteristics

Market characteristics

The first difference is quite evident and illustrates the scale of disparities. In 2019, the Polish public relations sector exceeded 1 billion Polish zlotys, which is over 200 million dollars. Seems like a lot? The British PR market is currently valued at 4.2 billion dollars, and the American market at nearly… 17.5 billion dollars. These differences can be attributed to factors like country size and population, but understanding the historical background is essential. While businesses and the marketing and communication sectors in the USA and the UK have had decades to develop freely, in Poland, the concept of a free market and PR is relatively new. Poles had limited time to catch up with Western trends.

The PR sector in Poland has only been developing since the 1990s (with more substantial growth over the past 15 years). In 2021, there were officially 934 PR agencies operating in Poland. About 40 of them are large agencies that generate millions of zlotys in revenue, but the vast majority are medium-sized or small firms, with every fourth agency being a one-person business. The total revenue of the top 20 PR firms in Poland ranges from 47.5 to 58 million USD. According to recent reports, there are nearly 55,000 PR agencies in the United States (an increase of nearly 5% compared to 2021), and in the UK, there are just under 4,000. It’s evident that competition among agencies in Poland is lower, but for clients, this means limited options when searching for an agency to manage their brand’s image.

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Public relations agency sector market in Poland

The role of public relations for companies

In the United States and the United Kingdom, PR plays an integral role closely integrated with the overall marketing strategy of a company. PR experts actively engage in creating the brand’s strategy and adapting it to changing market conditions. PR specialists are not just brand spokespersons; they are also responsible for actively shaping it. In Poland, this looks somewhat different. Polish companies typically do not have internal PR departments. Public relations is often combined with marketing, and the communication machinery is usually handled by a small team or even a single person.

This difference is most noticeable when comparing PR approaches in Poland and the USA. American PR agencies more frequently collaborate with external research firms to conduct studies on behalf of clients. In Poland, commissioning research (e.g., market, competition, customer needs, shopping habits) is still not as common. Fortunately, this trend is slowly changing, primarily in larger companies.

PR budgets

Despite the fact that rates for Polish PR agencies have almost caught up with those in most Western European countries (including the UK), they are still lower compared to American PR. Yes, PR actions in the USA involve substantial budgets, a fact acknowledged by European experts and brand owners who have worked with American agencies. Monthly fees for US agencies typically start at an average of $10,000.

Most agencies in Poland offer packages ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 per month. Until recently, the gap between the costs of working with a Polish PR agency and those in the UK, Germany, Sweden, or France (previously considered the most expensive markets) was significant. Currently, these differences are diminishing, and Polish and British public relations are associated with similar rates. Of course, as in any market, the final costs depend on various factors such as agency recognition, experience, and the scope of activities that interest a particular company.

Media relations

The mechanics of media relations in Poland, the UK, and the USA are essentially the same. Good relationships, storytelling around the brand, and providing journalists with materials containing all the necessary data for creating press information are essential everywhere. However, there are a few subtle differences, especially when comparing the Polish media landscape to the American one. In Poland, there are significantly fewer media titles (and, consequently, fewer journalists). In the American market, numerous niche media outlets provide excellent communication opportunities for brands looking to reach a narrow audience. In Poland, it is more cost-effective to reach nationwide media, both online and traditional.

Another significant difference arises from the size of the media market. American and British journalists receive press releases from companies on a much larger scale than in Poland. Moreover, the number of editorial staff is decreasing, and those who remain are forced to work even faster. Therefore, if you want your press release to appear in a specific publication, it is necessary to provide journalists with comprehensive press materials (including statistics, graphics, images, videos, and other data that can expedite their work). In the USA, this is considered an absolute obligation for a company representative, while in Poland, it is still more of a best practice.

Research scope

The USA has a population of nearly 332 million people, the UK has 67 million, and Poland has just under 38 million. American and British demographics are also more diverse. In the USA, there are currently 45 million immigrants (particularly Latinos and Asians), accounting for almost 14% of the country’s population. In Poland, in 2021, there were 2 million foreigners (with additional Ukrainian immigrants arriving in 2022, planning to settle permanently), most of whom come from neighboring countries like Ukraine and Belarus. The differences, both in population size and diversity, are significant.

If you plan to commission market research in Poland, it will likely not be as extensive, labor-intensive, or costly as it can be in the USA. This is good news because, with a similar budget and time investment, you can conduct more precise research on your target group, their needs, expectations, problems, and purchasing habits.

Audience characteristics

Regardless of whether you are involved in PR in the B2B or B2C sector, your communication efforts must be tailored to the market to which you are directing your message. Poles are a unique type of audience, and it’s essential to understand the nuances. First and foremost, they are highly skeptical—a sentiment acknowledged by PR professionals and brand owners worldwide who have had the opportunity to operate in this market. Gaining their favor can require some effort, especially if you are planning to enter Poland with your brand. Effective methods to include in your PR strategy in Poland are recommendations from respected public figures and industry experts, along with the use of case studies from the local market, especially in the B2C sector.

Furthermore, it’s crucial not to overlook taboo topics and cultural differences between Polish society and British or American societies. Although Poles are somewhat divided in terms of worldviews, the majority identify as Catholics (over 32.4 million in 2021, although only 36% attend church). Concerning values, Poles prioritize family happiness, health, peace, and honest living. Faith and religion rank fifth. Other important values include patriotism, respect for others, professional work, and the freedom to express their views. Therefore, when aiming to effectively reach Poles with your PR messages, it’s essential to get to know them well before taking any steps in this market.

While the specifics of PR activities, tools, and research methods applied worldwide are generally similar, it’s essential to be aware of the nuances in individual countries. If you are looking for a Polish PR agency that can plan your brand’s communication from A to Z in Poland, contact us today.

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