Prime, the world number one ranked PR agency on both the 2010 and 12 Cannes Report List, has snagged 20 Cannes Lions, 18, SABRE awards, 15 Eurobest and six CLIOs since 2010. So it’s fair to say they’re on a roll. And now its co-founder and partner, Anders Hult, shares his insights with B&T and gives a few pointers that could save Trump’s campaign.
Hult will appear at PRIA’s upcoming Communication Innovation Conference on November 14-15, where you can catch him in the flesh talking about creating his agency from the ground up.
You’ve got 48 hours to change Donald Trump’s campaign strategy: what would you do?
I would probably force him to make the bold move of becoming friends with Paul Ryan, have a joint press conference, beg the entire Republican base to turn up on election day, and do it for their country. I think this would at least increase his chances of winning.
From a strategic point of view, he should probably do it within three days of the election day, so there isn’t enough time for follow ups and what the consequences would be. Then they would own the media for the last 48 hours, and there might be a chance for people to switch sides.
Otherwise I would say… he has a challenge.
Why should local PR pros be interested in what a Swede has to say?
The not so humble answer I think – it could be interesting to hear how you can build a PR firm to 160 people in Sweden which is a really, really small market, and during the last ten years be the most awarded PR agency in the world.
What are you looking to learn about the Australian PR industry when you come to Sydney?
The only news that we get in Sweden about Australia is the immigration question. I’m really curious how or if the discussion is changing in a similar way that it has in Europe in the last 18 months.
I’m curious to find out where the people in the industry and where the man on the street is. How has the conversation changed in Australia, in relation to the rest of the world, but also the internal climate of the society.
How do you see Australian PR and creative communications on the global stage?
I know that when we’re at Cannes, and talking about creative work and creative development, both Australia and New Zealand are seen as countries that you always look to with respect, and there’s a lot of things that come from these countries that you like.
How the Australian agencies and clients create narratives is more similar to how we do it than if you compare some of the countries in Europe and the Americas.
How do you approach Sustainability as part of PR?
One example – if you’re a big company, like Volvo, IKEA or Electrolux, you already have a solid sustainability program – but one thing you might not have, is a way to dramatize that. We help with that.
Some companies also lack a long-term strategy in the way they communicate what they do in their business, and also lack expertise within the legislative area, which is in constant flux in Sweden and the EU, so we must from time to time also help with their public affairs.
You have to keep up with the pace of legislative change. Otherwise you end up just doing a sustainability stunt that won’t cover what’s coming in 12, 24, 48 months.
The entire discussion of sustainability is growing so much that, in five to seven years there won’t be a sustainability group at Prime – because it will be completely integrated into everything we do.
What do you attribute your growth to?
When we started, there was a lot of traditional PR work, but we were able to invest in strong ideas and insight work.
The ideas we delivered to our clients always came with some kind of context, with some kind of discussion or trend that’s going on outside the company, inside society as a whole.
My advice – don’t just put the product out there, connect it with a trend, connect it with a conversation that is going on out there.
How do you approach your work for global clients? Do you localise every segment, or go with a wider, one-size-fits all model?
When we do global work for global Swedish clients, we try to find a global narrative, otherwise it becomes too hard. Of course there is some adaptation of tone within local markets, but we must find a global discussion to tap into, otherwise it’s too expensive, too hard, and it’s not worth it. Then you have to do it the old fashioned local way.
Of course it’s hard to find one conversation to tap into, but it happens.
What is it that keeps you engaged with PR, and keeps you excited about what you do?
It’s the ability to understand what people like to talk about. It’s even more exciting now than when we founded Prime. I learn so much about what people like to talk about, how they talk about it. It’s impossible to leave the business, because then I won’t know what all the conversations are about.
When we started, we focused on Sweden, but now we have to understand what people are talking about across the entire world, and that’s a pretty cool job to have.
Communication Innovation PRIA’s National Conference, November 14-15, Sheraton Four Points, Sydney. Check out the full details here.
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