Hill+Knowlton Strategies' announcement this week that it is expanding its communications footprint in Africa would not be a big surprise to any business leader with an international outlook. The agency is simply tapping a potentially lucrative market—going where its clients will need to be.
H+K already has a presence in East Africa, but soon it will open offices in four markets: Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ghana—and eventually offices in Nigeria and South Africa. “The Pan-African strategy culminates years of successful research by H+K in emerging markets, particularly in Africa, where we see the potential for exponential growth for current and prospective clients.
Investing in Africa is a key pillar of H+K’s global strategy as we are committed to the continent’s tremendous development potential and diverse cultures across the region,” said Jack Martin, global chairman and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies in a statement.
Some type of global communications footprint should be on the plate of any PR executive whose organization shows potential for expansion and has the resources to do so, yet you must have solid reasons for international growth, says Erin Gentry, H+K Strategies’ global co-chair of client service. Here are three pieces of advice from Gentry on global PR related to the Africa initiative:
Be where your clients will need to be. Being a trusted partner and strategic advisor to our clients requires that we stay ahead of their needs, in a position to help their business grow and succeed. Africa is an exciting marketplace, and one with tremendous growth potential for businesses in all sectors. We need to be there to advise and counsel our clients through that growth and excitement.
Assemble a strong, multifaceted team. Sustained growth of businesses in a region can best be supported by a combination of experienced, local talent, with a deep understanding of the culture and business landscape, and world-class talent from outside the region to ensure the best strategic counsel, insights and creativity from across the globe are brought to bear locally.
Align expansion with your vision. Expanding for the sake of expanding is not good business. Our decision to expand in Africa is based on years of our research into emerging markets, and is aligned with our objective of ever-strengthening our global network.
Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01