Overseeing brand and internal communications for a global company is markedly different than running comms for a regional organisation. Just ask Alan Duerden, head of PR and communications at Paysend, which is on a mission to change how money is moved around the world.
Based in London, Alan’s responsible for defining overall external communications, internal communications and content strategy for the high-growth FinTech brand. Here’s our conversation about how he adapts to the nuances and idiosyncrasies involved in coordinating multi-country marketing programs.
Question: Paysend has employees in 5 continents and supports users in more than 150 countries. When your role was first created in November 2021, how did you dive into the information gathering process in order to learn all the existing regional-specific communications programs and nuances?
Answer: Part of my role coming into Paysend was to take that global view and apply processes around a few components – content, PR and communications and social media. As I put together phases for these components, we kicked off with an exploration phase which went deep into data and research. I went around to all of the key functions at Paysend and conducted a SWOT analysis that explored perception of PR, what had been done previously and what needs and likes each team had.
Following the initial research, the second second phase consisted of planning and using our findings to then build a plan to execute on with both short term and long term deliverables.
The final phase focused on what we wanted to achieve. With that phase, we ran across a dual track of 1) getting stuff done as quickly as possible alongside a more strategic approach where 2) we figured out what we need for all these key functions to be efficient. The overall objective was to shape our long term content plans and create that cohesive relationship between PR and marketing.
Question: What advice do you have for marketing leaders who must balance global corporate message consistency with country-specific communication campaigns?
Answer: Relationships. It really just all comes down to relationships. And I found in my previous job that the quicker and stronger you build those relationships with people across the organisation, the easier it is to get your job done. If you are trying to enforce a more global message, we all know that individual countries and regions each have their own priorities and leadership. It can be very easy to be that kind of global corporate blanket. But if you take that approach, you tend to get resistance.
Whereas if you build relationships with people, you bring them along on the journey with you, you check in with them on a regular basis and you feel out their needs as a country or region. So, it really is a two-way relationship.
Question: When measuring the efficacy of a global PR and content marketing strategy – how do you determine country-specific goals and ensure they ladder up to your overall KPIs?
Answer: With Paysend, that’s quite an easy equation to solve because we have a lot of data that we use around customer acquisition, such as website metrics. When we define key countries with our marketing team to prioritise over the coming months, we can then gear our communications to serve those markets and communities – whether it’s through language translation or targeting on social channels. As a result of that activity, we can then analyse the measurements we have in place and see, for example, an uptick in monthly viewing figures on the global site or specific sites like the Polish or Spanish iterations. Overall, it is important to focus not only on global metrics but regional as well to get a holistic picture.
Question: What qualities must a global tech marketing agency partner have, and how does that differ from regional agency partners (if at all)?
Answer: One major quality that is key, especially when working with a startup or a scale up client, is that an agency needs to have flexibility…and probably a bit of patience. Oftentimes, one minute you’re sprinting at 1,000 miles per hour and the next you’re going at a snail’s pace, waiting to get content or strategy approved. There also needs to be a certain level of understanding that comes along with that – knowing that levels of urgency can change.
Similarly, an agency needs to be agile knowing that priorities can shift and our decision making and partnership needs to reflect that. Finally, providing a wide range of services is important, which Alloy is quite experienced at, because evolving priorities is inherent in startups and scale-up companies – leading to changing scope and needs.
Question: From a pandemic to social justice movements to war – the past two years have provided internal communications leaders with no shortage of challenges and opportunities. What are the top considerations internal comms leaders must keep in mind when engaging and educating a globally dispersed employee base?
Answer: First, you have to be super sympathetic to what’s going on in the world. At Paysend, we have an international presence with employees and customers in many countries so we have to keep that in mind. I think no matter what communications you are handling, whether those be external or internal, you need to be sympathetic to situations going on around you from a global perspective.
It’s important to remember in any situation, there are two parties impacted and two sides to the story. Keeping that in mind, you have to be gracious but not overly emotional especially with internal communications because the likelihood is you might offend some people. No matter your personal beliefs, you have to tread that line of supporting as many people as possible within your organisation. I also think a common misconception is that internal communication doesn’t require as much strategy, but especially in situations such as these, taking the time to strategise and plan and think through these complexities is key.
Alloy has served as Paysend’s U.S. Agency of Record dating back to when we debuted the brand in the States during 2020.