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SkypeSabiedrisko attieclbu kampa a LatvijāSkype. Visa pasaule var runāt par brlvu.SkypePublic relations campaign in LatviaSkype kick-off for a fresh start in LatviaHill and Knowlton Latvia2006. gada 1. marts - 31. decembris1st March - 31st December, 2006
I. Description of situationGlobal Internet communications company Skype was founded by Swede Niklas Zennström and Dane JanusFriis in 2003. Estonia comes into play because the founders had already worked with Estonianprogrammers to create Kazaa and in cooperation with them the founders developed also Skype, a littlepiece of program. Skype is headquartered in Luxembourg with offices in Europe, Asia and the UnitedSates. Skype Operations center is located in Estonia, making Estonia central to Skype success. Skype wasacquired by eBay for 2.6 billion dollars on October 14, 2005.Skype is the world’s fastest-growing Internet communication offering, allowing unlimited free voice, videoand instant-messaging communication between users of Skype software. Skype generates revenue throughits premium offerings such as SkypeOut (call from Skype to landlines and mobiles), Skype Voicemail,SkypeIn (a phone number that lets user receive calls from landline/mobile phones on Skype).After successful cooperation and effective public relations (PR) program realization in Estonia by Hill andKnowlton Estonia and overall Skype penetration in new markets globally, Skype decided to expand its PRpresence in other Baltic countries in early spring 2006. Hill and Knowlton offices in Latvia and Lithuaniawith a leading office in Estonia were appointed as Skype PR agencies.II. Implementation of public relations campaignResearchWhen Skype entered the market, there were already strong well-known global players as MSN Messenger,Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk, AOL Instant Messenger. Hill and Knowlton Latvia (H&K Latvia)conducted research Quantiative audit of Internet telephonies usage in general public in Latvia thatshowed that MSN Messenger was a clear leader between Internet telephony offerings however at largeLatvians seldom used Internet telephony.To get an insight of Skype image in Latvia, current position and messages in media, H&K Latviaconducted Skype’s message monitoring in Latvian mass media for period 2003 till early 2006.Monitoring results evidenced that Skype reputation was dual – on one hand Estonian success story in ITinnovations was always mentioned as an example for Latvians but on the other hand the image of Skypewasn’t positive and media’s attitude towards the company was more negative than neutral (Skype is not anopen company; Skype very rarely answers media inquiries; Skype is arrogant etc.). Message research alsoindicated that imprecise information or its lack, myths about Skype and its offers as well as wrongmessages promote irrelevant image of Skype. Furthermore, the results showed that the new Internettelephony – new Internet communications option – was not on the media agenda.Strategical and tactical solutions, objectives, messagesSkype communication process is complex as it consists of two communication angles – perception ofSkype as a company and as a program (company’s offering). Moreover, generally Skype has two maintarget audiences – general public (potential private Skype users) and business users that use Skype inbusiness as Skype has special offering – version of its program Skype for business.Based on Skype’s message monitoring and Skype specification, H&K Latvia set as a main strategy toraise awareness and create preference of Skype.In accordance with perception of Skype and target audiences, H&K Latvia determined the main objectiveof strategy: to help Skype win leading position in market by showing positive differences and aheadin innovations from competitors. In order to reach main objective, H&K Latvia determined two sub-objectives:- To start with an informative and promotional campaign focusing on building company’s image and raising awareness of company, spokespersons, its offers in mass media and general public. Monitoring also indicated that media had little knowledge about Internet telephony. Therefore H&K Latvia had two main challenges – to change perception of Skype and educate media representatives and general public about Internet telephony. Expected results: adequate image of Skype, increase of user registration and use of Skype payment offerings; knowledgeable media representatives and general public; positive attitude towards Skype.- To raise awareness, make relevance and address business audience in order to bring Skype into the workplace and accelerate revenue of Skype.-The success of the campaign was determined by H&K expertise in delivering messages about Skype as acompany and as a program (separating them) to appropriate target publics: in-depth selection of target
media (print & online media, radio, TV, blogs) and tools & tactics to reach separate narrow publics (women, men, business and consumer users, IT professionals, etc.) as well as general audience. The following PR tactical solutions show the highest expertise of delivering messages to appropriate target audiences, input of H&K Latvia work, and drive of the business value for Skype. Target audience: business- Direct marketing campaign: preparation of the list of carefully selected target companies, NGOs, public sector organizations, media and reaching them with friendly letters that ware followed by individual meetings. H&K Latvia provided significant educational work for use of Skype in business.- Organization of participation of Sten Tamkivi, Global Operations director, Skype, in Lattelecom International Conference (held by Lattelecom Group, leading provider of electronic communication services in Latvia). Successful public launch of message Skype is a useful communication tool in Business reached 300 CEOs, GMs, opinion leaders, etc., and media.- Integration of Skype in the most popular and influential TV discussion program on sociopolitical issues Kas notiek Latvijā - Skype was used to involve expert from Brussels in discussion Selecting and organization of meetings in Latvia for Skype representative with target business and private users, media representatives- Promotion of Skype as employer targeting Latvian employees as a success story using the first Latvian as employee at Skype Target audience: General public and specific target audiences- Organization of interview in leading IT broadcast Nākotnes Parks on LTV1 and media trip resulted in 4-page publication in leading lifestyle supplement Sestdiena of national newspaper Diena - successful introduction of Skype and launch of message Skype is an open company- Raising awareness of phones for internet calls (media reviews) and interesting Skype features in order to promote cool and easy of use factor of Skype and to deliver message Skype goes beyond the PC- Two-page article in the largest women magazine Ieva explaining & shoving Skype usage with a help of real women case studies - example of special approaches in addressing particular target audiences- Careful selection of blogs as separate media channel & targeting with regular information about Skype. III. Results of PR campaign In order to evaluate the campaign success, H&K Latvia used a media monitoring which included analyses of messages, references of users and reach of target audiences. H&K Latvia demonstrated successful integration of all communication means and media expertise covering all target media channels (print, online, TV, radio, blogs) and delivering messages to appropriate target publics - Skype received extensive regular media coverage (very high corporate and program visibility) that has tripled since beginning of Skype PR activities in Latvia. In accordance with the results of media monitoring, H&K Latvia PR activities significantly raised awareness and knowledge about Skype as a company and a program in media and target audiences and Skype is well ahead of its competitors in terms of awareness, appeal and loyalty. The quote of Sten Tamkivi, Global Operations Manager, Skype (national newspaper Diena, September 25, 2006) “In proportion to the amount of population Skype is the most popular in Latvia” serves as the best illustration of the results of PR campaign after 7 months. Message about Skype for business has reached target audience because companies by themselves announce publicly that audiences can reach them using Skype (internet shops, restaurants - food ordering using Skype, public sector organizations, English learning using Skype etc.) as well as Skype is being mentioned as the newest tool of business communication. The other important aspect that could be an evidence of success of Skype PR campaign in Latvia is the fact that Skype is being treated and used as synonym and example in the industry for Internet telephony by media representatives, opinion leaders, and celebrities. Besides, word ‘skype’ in Latvian is used as a verb (‘skaipot’) to describe actions (chatting, calling using internet, getting/staying in touch), skype as “place” where to meet. Skype is widely known as a new way of spending time and gaining business value (time and money save for companies that uses Skype in business). Seeking original solutions, H&K Latvia continues to enhance brand loyalty and promote Skype offerings in Latvia in 2007. There are currently 171 million registered Skype users worldwide.