Ukraine definitely declares a course to improve the investment climate. Government supports investment companies by the newly adopted “Investment nanny” Law and a five-year tax delay for investors. Therefore, the number of investors willing to work, develop their assets and entire industries in Ukraine will grow. This will directly affect the competition for promising facilities in the country, which will benefit companies with effective communications and a strong and transparent reputation.
It is challenging to talk about the results and efficiency of what it is difficult to measure. At first glance, KPIs in Public Relations may be unclear for companies. Such indicators as construction of reputation and trust, communication establishment, the formation of a loyal audience are not instantaneous and short-term, but are achieved by playing the long game. However, the key role of PR can be seen in the activities of investment companies. After all, in their case, effective communications affect the obtaining permissive documentation for the implementation of projects, support from local and central authorities, cooperation with the community and stakeholders. All these factors directly affect the success of the investor in the country. In other words, the ultimate goal of PR for investors is the realization of its own investment tasks. Particularly, the communication of investment companies demonstrates a clear differentiation between Public Relations and advertising, because the communications of investors are not targeted to promote themselves, their services, or products, but to build a reputation of an open, transparent company that plans long-term activities in the country.
What investors should consider in communications?
The investor should implement Public relations in its activity at the stage of announcement, from the time of the investor's entry into the project. This is the only way to control how the company is positioned in the media and among the main groups of the target audience. In addition, it is important that the company is a newsmaker and speaker of its own news from the very launch. Otherwise, other interested groups can arrogate successful company projects and initiatives at the public level.
Different groups of target audiences are different business tasks
The investor should understand which groups of the target audience company need to communicate with. Communication with different audiences solves different needs and business tasks of the company:
- well-established communication with local and central authorities gives the investor unhindered work in the region and the country;
- communication with the local population provides support for the company's activities at the local level and support for local employees in the state;
- public relations with the business community give cooperation with stakeholders etc.
Each of the target audience groups needs its own relevant message box for communication that meets the needs and pains of the audience. For example, the message that the company is an employer in the region and that the investor initiates and implements CSR projects will be effective for the local population. The message about improving the economic development of the region would be effective for local authorities. It is important for stakeholders to be a reliable and stable company. And investors should use different communication channels and formats to convey each message. These include press briefings, production tours, native and analytical materials in the media, the company's participation in industry events, etc.
Only regular and systematic communication with all groups of audiences makes them loyal to the investor. It has a preventive anti-crisis effect. Before a communication campaign’s launch, it is also important to assess reputational risks and possible crises (and, accordingly, ways to solve them) with different groups.
Win-win cooperation with the community
When it comes to the work of an investor in a particular region, the community plays an important role in decision making, for example, in the question of obtaining the permits and, accordingly, the company's activities in the region. And it is a question both for local government, and the population. The most effective principle of the company's communication with the local community is win-win tactics and cooperation on the principle of partnership. What does the community get from investor activity in the region? Taxes to the local budget, additional jobs, international practices and the possibility of cooperation for Ukrainian specialists with foreign experts, corporate social responsibility projects at the local level. For example, thanks to the activities of the German company Kromberg&Schubert Gmbh, a company that manufactures electrical cable networks the Volyn region, labor migration of the local population abroad has decreased significantly. Another example of effective investor communication with the community is the British oil & gas company Cadogan Petroleum, which operates in the Lviv region and regularly implements and supports social projects and initiatives in the region. The result of these activities is trust to the investor and interest in its activities in the region and the country. The company, in turn, should convey to the local population and government its own mission, vision, responsible approach to production. If it is not done at the level of communications, the opinion of the community can be easily manipulated, and thus sabotage the activities of the company by interested groups of people.
Our country is attractive from an investment point of view due to its own raw material base, geographical location and intellectual potential. And while there are still barriers that deter foreign investors, such as low confidence in the judiciary, the reliability of their investments and their long-term nature, and growing competition, a well-established communication strategy is a key investment that will help them win.