Expert tips: Daniel Charron, Managing Partner and Annie-Claude Bélisle Denis, Project Manager at Octane

April 12, 2016

Communicating Effectively with Montrealers: A Key Element in Positioning Your Business

Companies looking to penetrate foreign markets need to be clever, ambitious and innovative in order to overcome the many unpredictable challenges and obstacles involved. Fortunately, organizations such as Montréal International (MI) facilitate their market integration. A driving force in Greater Montréal’s economy for 20 years now, MI attracts wealth from abroad and accelerates the success of its partners and clients. Of all the challenges that foreign companies face when setting up operations in our beautiful city, the interdependence of communications and public relations with Montréal’s unique culture and specifics, translates into a strong need for local support. Regardless of the industries in which they are involved, all companies can gain considerable benefit from consulting a local firm for assistance with business market entry strategies.

To better understand the role of communications, social acceptance, public and government relations in the integration of your organization in the Greater Montréal market, rely on experts to show you how everything works.

Understanding the social and business culture

To develop strategies in line with a new market, it’s important to understand the market’s quirks and subtleties. Knowledge of doing business in the United States is not enough to understand Canada’s market and different cultures. Fluency in one or even both of our official languages does not suffice to establish a dialogue.

An organization that exports its activities needs support to learn how to communicate effectively in new markets, so that it can highlight its special characteristics while avoiding any pitfalls that could impede its business and commercial development.

Communicating with public officials

Communicating with political decision makers, public servants and elected officials calls for an in-depth understanding of the established rules and practices in order to be heard by public institutions at all levels of government. Our three-tier government system can present a challenge to foreigners trying to understand the roles of the different levels of government and how to communicate with each of them effectively.

Speaking to the media

Understanding foreign media takes time, resources and research. Companies rarely make public relations a top priority, which is unfortunate because public relations are an accessible, affordable and effective way to make one’s mark. In order to understand the local media, one needs to be familiar with the language, political affiliations, publishing niches, target audiences, etc.

Moreover, contacts with the media generally grow out of interpersonal relationships built over time, allowing for building trust and a truly beneficial dialogue between journalists and directors, managers and other key stakeholders. It is important to know how to establish relations with partners, influencers, experts, journalists, columnists, editors and bloggers as the channels of information and opinion that could get your message across effectively.

Engaging with the community

In order to develop successful proposals in relation to certain projects and the issues they raise, detailed knowledge of the public consultation process is required. The arrival of a foreign company can raise questions or even lead to resistance.

The importance of addressing the public authorities and creating links with the local media can be a priority for any entrepreneur who wants to get settled into the Montréal market. Although forming these relationships is of crucial importance, engaging with the urban community as well and including it in your business plan will contribute to the success of your long-term establishment. Given the current trend favoring local products, support from Montrealers will give your business a significant boost.

Developing a corporate identity

Whether they come from near or far, whether they share the local language or not, foreign organizations can always benefit from the services of a communications and public relations firm to facilitate their market integration. Such an external service would also shed light on the important topics and unique characteristics of the country, its business environment and, by extension, of customers and potential partners. To succeed internationally, companies must comply with local rules, and focus on building long-term relationships in their new market in order to become rooted in the community.

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