– One of my acquaintances from London has opened a company in a transport sector. He wasn’t able to answer the question why clients should use his services. He hadn’t thought much about the name of the company or about the logo. Or another situation – a Polish shop with a sloppy piece of paper on the door – "New supply of fresh vegetables today". Do such situations belong to exceptions?
– According to my observations they are rather common. Poles here are very venturesome – a recent report on economic activity of emigrants published by the Centre for Entrepreneurs and DueDil proves that Poles are on the sixth position, just after Irishmen, Indians, Germans, Americans and Chinese people. However, apart from a good level of activity they still lack willingness to invest in their brand.
– What is the reason of such negligence: Poles do not know why they should do it or they rather don’t know how?
– Both. When I sometimes talk to Polish entrepreneurs, I hear: "We have so many orders that we do not need advertising" or "We cannot afford advertising". The reason is that many people who manage their businesses are not fully aware of the fact how important brand is. Instead of planning and shaping it they just blindly follow their competitors.
– What does it mean?
That we will have plenty of Polish shops "U Moniki" or "U Basi" or loads of "quick" or "cheap" parcel delivery companies. Consequently, a client who can choose from plenty of similar products or services will choose based on prices only. If in the eyes of customers the products are the same, they usually choose the cheaper ones. On the other hand, price cuts have their limits. Besides, not many Poles are aware what tools may help them to get a good position on the market.
– What may be the reasons of this fact?
– I think it’s because knowledge about basic issues related to marketing communications, even these very practical ones, is low. People are convinced that everyone can become a marketing specialist so a logo may be designed by an acquaintance, text may be written by the businessman’s wife who is good at Polish while leaflets may be copied with the use of a photocopier. And Poles often come to the UK with such type of thinking.
– According to the result of a survey done by College of Promotion almost 60% of Poles do not know what is PR…
– It’s true that they often do not see the difference between ‘marketing’, ‘advertising’ and ‘promotion’, use those terms alternatively which proves that they do not understand their meaning.
– Let’s compare – what does it look like in case of the British people and other nations? Are such terms as ‘marketing’, ‘promotion’ and ‘public relations’ more familiar to them? Or – will the Brit willingly look for an agency which will take care of marketing comms of his or her brand?
– British people are more aware of the issues of marketing communications. Besides, the market of these services is more mature here. Co-operation with agencies is a natural thing for companies. The proof of maturity of the UK market is the fact that agencies in Britain are more specialised. In Poland most agencies are active in mainstream, while here there are agencies of marketing communications targeted at women, specializing in NGO or those that specialize in LGBT groups. In Poland this market is not so diversified.
– But there are Polish companies in the UK that take advantage of experience of the British agencies and willingly make use of outsourcing of marketing services?
– These companies understand that professional communications demands knowledge and at the same time they appreciate outsourcing. These are usually big and medium-sized companies, but I also see that start-ups do it more often here than in Poland.
– Why is it more difficult to convince smaller companies?
– Smaller businesses prefer to take care of such activities on their own. In case of Polish companies in the UK the common attitude is: "If I know the language, I can write the text of the advert myself. I am also able to rent a stall during the event myself and save some money. However, these are only pseudo savings. This is due to the fact that exhibiting does not only involve identification of the event and booking the stall while for a preparation of the advert copy good knowledge of Polish is not enough. Such an attitude proves a very trivial perception of marketing communication.
– How to influence compatriots in such a way that will boost their marketing awareness?
They should be taught that considered investments in the brand bring profits as they give measurable, though not immediate, pecuniary advantages. One of the potential customers of the agency told me during our meeting that if she spends one pound on marketing comms, she would like to get two pounds back. This is a very trivial perception of marketing communications. It doesn’t take into account non-financial effects of marketing campaigns or so called life-time value of customers. She did not understand that marketing is about trying and testing. Certainly such companies as ours, that is agencies offering various marketing communications services, should take to heart these issues and put effort into popularizing professional, not random, marketing communications.