Opinion: Engaging the UK’s Polish Community
Ewelina Krzysztofik, MD at 2Sisters PR, talks about the unique challenge and opportunity that communicating with the Polish community in the UK offers.
With most Poles declaring their willingness to stay in the United Kingdom despite Brexit, they remain an attractive target for British businesses.
However, as with every minority group, they need to be approached in an appropriate manner, requiring high levels of cultural awareness. This task may prove difficult to those who are not familiar with Polish immigrants and who they are as people and customers.
At 2Sisters PR, we have seen numerous campaign fail for this very reason, and the same mistakes reoccur. Therefore, we have developed guidelines businesses looking to engage with the Polish community:
Know your allies
The UK is home to nearly one million Poland-born citizens. This impressive number is reflected in the wide availability of Polish-speaking media, as there are 60 different titles operating on British soil. Naturally, they vary in terms of reach, with the top three, namely Londynek, Cooltura and Goniec, demonstrably standing out from the rest.
Due to their online presence, they encompass the entire territory of Great Britain, making them a safe choice when you target the Polish community as a whole, rather than by specific regions.
Combine your sources
However, these media have target audiences of their own, and chances are they exclude many customers who are potentially valuable to your business.
Poles do not constitute a homogeneous group, and not all of them read news portals, therefore consider combining this tool with another. An entirely digital campaign has the highest chances of providing the intended ROI, as it evades the typical boundaries of traditional channels, and blogs pose an excellent supplementary choice to support your cause.
There is a large number of UK-based Polish bloggers to select from. Many with a substantial viewers base that includes not only Poles living in Great Britain, but also their friends and families back in Poland, as well as a similar community based in Germany. With some 175,000 subscribers and 60 million individual views, they can maximise your reach in ways that traditional media cannot.
Embrace your audience’s perspective
Regardless of your final choice, bear in mind that the PR angles you are preparing for your clients have to be crafted in a manner that will attract the attention of Polish journalists. If they do not consider your news meaningful and relevant to their specific audience, they will simply refuse to publish it. Reflect on whether your piece concerns the Polish community in particular, and make your argument as convincing as possible.
Carefully craft your execution
Once you have finalised your strategy, it is time to prepare the launch of your campaign. This part will be challenging at best, and chances are it will prove far more difficult than the previous steps. Avoid these five common mistakes.
1. Never send English press releases to Polish journalists
English is merely a secondary language to the vast majority of Poles, and Polish journalists do not wish to double their workload by translating the materials they receive. Given the number of messages they get each day, seeing one that is overtly English, they may not even click on the attachment, let alone consider using it. To maximise your chance of success, use their native language for both your email conversations and the actual press releases.
2. Check the spelling on online banners and adverts – thrice!
Polish is considered one of the most difficult languages there are, and online translators are still far from a reliable source to refer to. A bad translation can completely distort, or even ridicule your intended meaning: protect your brand assets and your budget by ensuring that the copy on your ads is in proper Polish.
3. Do not release a Polish language version of your website until it is proofread by a professional
Same rule applies to your website – after all, it is an official showcase of your business. Even if the messages you include there are fairly simple, you may stumble upon words and terms that do not have a straightforward equivalent in Polish. In such cases, even the data from most renowned dictionaries will prove misleading. Consult a professional translator before you launch your website, so that once it goes live, it will serve its intended purpose of converting Polish viewers into customers.
4. Do not write in English when crafting posts for Polish social media users
Poles simply prefer to exchange messages in their native language, and social media marketing is all about reciprocal communications. Stay close to your audience by speaking their language, and allow them to talk to you in the same way.
5. Do not submit English ads to the Polish media
Adjust your promotional materials to the tastes and needs of the Polish audience on all levels, including the linguistics! Members of the Polish community differ in terms of their familiarity with English, therefore do translate your ads; otherwise you are running a risk of being misunderstood, or worse – completely overlooked.
- Authored by Ewelina Krzysztofik, MD and Aleksandra Paprot, PR assistant at 2SistersPR. The agency is a London-based communications agency focused on planning and managing campaigns targeted at Poles for leading brands in the UK and Europe