Entering new markets: PR focus on the UK

How to successfully communicate your brand when scaling up in a new country? Enterie PR experts share their hints from their home markets. Today: Focus on Sweden by Martin Ruist from FourPR.


For many reasons – just to mention the language, bonds with the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world and a long tradition of trade – the UK market is perceived as a gate to global markets. UK companies are used to trade and cooperate with foreign Partners, also multicultural environment seems to be inviting to those who want to enter. It is less about where you are from, more about what is your value for money. Therefore, the market in the UK is perceived as relatively easy open.

However, this openness has its downsides. The tech startup scene in the UK is thriving, which also means it is very crowded. The struggle for audiences’ attention is the most challenging part of today’s marketers’ job, and it is more demanding than ever.

culture factor

The days of ‘the empire on which the sun never sets’ are long gone. Nevertheless, British language and British culture still have unquestionable influence to the rest of the world.

While the British economy and business culture are relatively open for foreign cooperation and partnerships, Brits themselves, as well as British media, tend to be a bit UK-centric.

Being a foreign start-up who wants to be recognised in the UK, you have to have a UK presence, and ideally either UK funding or UK customers. It is important to have someone on the ground in the UK who can talk to media, investors or analysts – not just about your product, but about what you stand for, what you believe in, and the market in which you operate.

Communicate your driver for launching in the UK. Is there an interesting market opportunity, for example, or are you seeking investment here? Demonstrating that you understand the UK market is critical.

media landscape

Media really want to see the use and benefits of your product or service, not just how it works. There are opportunities to pitch opinion articles and to comment on the market, and if you have a really interesting view, you can cut through some of the background noise. They will always want exclusive content – like everyone else, they are competing for readers, viewers and listeners, and for rankings on Google, or on social media.

We’re seeing more stories being distributed on social media, with media companies competing for shares and engagement. If you can help them achieve that, then you’ll do well!

what works

Those who can create a great story – a strong product, interesting backstory and a clear market – can become visible.

UK media are usually more interested in the application of your product or service to business, than in the product or service itself. The UK media will want to see evidence to back up what you say to them, so being able to talk about the clients you work with is useful, and being able to refer to market research to identify the opportunity here helps, too.

Be clear about your USPs. What sets you apart from the competition? Who are the interesting people in your business that can bring your story to life?

Press releases, although they have their place for announcing big news, should be approached with caution. There are just too many releases out there that don’t have much to say. Only ever approach media with a really strong story or pitch. Think about why they might want to talk to you. A good way to do this is to think about what you’d like to read, watch or listen too. It probably isn’t a product pitch for a company!

social media

Since Facebook’s algorithm change, Facebook is almost entirely a paid channel for brands (including media) so engagement and organic shares are critical for media. Unfortunately for brands, negative stories gain tractions much easier than corporate bragging. Social media are a perfect environment for crisis development.

It’s critical for horizon scanning (seeing what issues are looming, to avoid a crisis) and also for communicating openly and transparently with customers, prospects, the public and stakeholders.

PR services

The UK PR market is very crowded. Look for membership of professional bodies such as the PRCA to make sure your agency is well-run, and specialist expertise.

Monthly fees in return for a set programme is normal in the UK. You can start with a trial period (usually three months) on the understanding that if both parties are happy, that will continue to an annual contract. Success fees are fraught with problems – they don’t take into account strategic input, crisis management etc and they can mean the agency chases coverage at the expense of real results. We recommend clear KPIs and targets instead.


A sensible minimum budget would be around the £3000 a month mark. This will give you enough agency time to be able to develop a good strategy, and some strong visibility.

Andrzej Jędrzejczak
Andrzej Jędrzejczak

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