Five things we learnt… at the ECCO International Communications Network Conference, Lisbon

Five things we learnt… at the ECCO International Communications Network Conference, Lisbon

Louise Fernley

As the UK representative consultancy of the ECCO International Communications Network last week, we decamped to (not-so-sunny) Lisbon for the biannual ECCO Conference.

With sixteen countries attending the two-day meeting to share knowledge and best practice from around the world, here are just five of the lessons we gleaned.


  1. The fast-changing media landscape across markets

In the spirit of sharing industry insights across markets, ECCO Network members collaborate on regular surveys on subjects affecting the communications world. Our most recent survey on the future of journalism garnered some fascinating results, with 1,396 journalists working across a broad range of media types in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, South Africa, India and Australia taking part.

Confirming trends about the pace at which the media and news industry is transforming, online video was seen as one of the fastest growing media types, while declines were expected in daily and weekly newspapers. Nearly 60% of journalists across markets believe press trips are becoming less relevant in today’s world of instant news, while 88% think personal contacts have become more important. Perhaps more worryingly, 59% of journalists surveyed agreed that the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between editorial and advertorial content and 67% think that current time pressures lead to less accurate research.

  1. Passion projects pay off

Our Australian ECCO partner, Victoria O’Neill from IMPACT gave a moving case study of the agency’s work for the McGrath Foundation. McGrath is one of Australia’s most respected and recognised charities, which raises money to place McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across the country and increase awareness of the disease among young people and women.

To celebrate the Foundation’s 10-year anniversary, promote a report on the gap in funding for breast cancer care and build further awareness and support for the issue, IMPACT embarked on a high-energy, high-impact campaign, which saw the whole team get involved in the run-up to the big day. From serving pink cocktails to stakeholders at the Sydney Opera House (also turned pink for the occasion) to selling in interviews, video news releases and case studies of Breast Care Nurses to a hundreds of media contacts in the weeks leading up to the anniversary, IMPACT ensured widespread coverage for the Foundation on its decennial, driving huge spikes in visitors to the McGrath website.

What shone through most brightly from Victoria’s presentation was the passion the team felt for the cause – no doubt a main driver in their success.

  1. Grassroots engagement, fashion style

We may specialise in corporate and stakeholder engagement, but that doesn’t mean we can’t glean great tips from outside of the industry. We were lucky enough to hear from Susana Coerver, Global Marketing and Communications Director for the fashion and accessories brand Parfois on how she engages Instagram and fashion blogger influencers across the globe. By going for quality over quantity and inviting just a few opinion leaders to beautifully curated, bespoke dinner parties, Parfois has built a network of loyal brand followers, proving that a tailored approach always yields the best results, irrespective of audience.

  1. Rebrand yourself by branding others

Sharing top tips from their recent rebranding exercise, our Spanish agency partner Canela PR found a novel way to mark their anniversary and promote their fresh logo, redesigned website and blog: by creating a (temporary!) tattoo which, when scanned with a smartphone, took you conveniently straight through to the new website. Talk about living the brand.

  1. The power of physical presence

Finally, our main outtake from the conference simply has to be the importance of face-to-face contact in doing business. In today’s world of instant communication, Skype and Google Hangouts it may be much easier to stay in touch across different borders and time zones but when it comes to collaborating on large projects, there really is no substitute for looking someone in the eye and breaking bread together.

Thanks to all of our partners for an inspiring couple of days and we look forward to seeing everyone in Warsaw later this year.

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