Austria is among the world’s most stable and prospering economies, but its media landscape is comparatively small. If you can’t convince a handful of relevant journalists to tell your story to their audiences, you’re lost because you don’t have many alternative ways to go. So when you are trying to use traditional media channels for PR in Austria for propel issues, products or brands, get professional tactical advice like these hints collected below.

Differentiate your message

Although sharing one language, the three German speaking countries vary significantly in their culture, media structure, and communication habits. A press release that works well in Germany will probably fail in Austria if just sent out without any changes (the same applies to Switzerland). Try to find a genuinely local angle for any message you want to send out, and prepare for questions like, “What is the meaning and use of that story for local audiences?”

Look at Vienna

In PR (and many other aspects), Vienna IS Austria. Almost a quarter of the country’s population live and work here. Also, the main media outlets are headquartered in the city. Local newspapers in other parts of the country have very limited reach. If there is a story to tell to all Austrians, go straight to the capital. No need to waste energy on local media heroes.

Get personal

Vienna has always been a city of personal networks, long before “networking” became a buzzword. It is no surprise that the same applies today to media relationship management and PR in Austria. Don’t think of doing a press conference unless you have a really really big story to tell. More promising are one-on-one interviews with a few key journalists. Winning them over to act as your issue ambassador is much easier in this informal setting. Maintain these relationships that you have built. There is no need to have news to tell every month. A breakfast with a Vienna-based journalist doesn’t need a scoop. It just needs a good “Kaffeehaus” (Viennese coffee house) which are abundant in this city – for the reason check the first sentence of this paragraph.

Avoid clichés

Austria is the country of Mozart, Lipizzaner horses and yodeling farmers – but that’s not the whole truth. So when trying to tell stories to Austrian audiences, avoid coming back to those more folklorist facts. For successful PR in Austria, rely on facts! And add some local flavour, e.g. figures relating to the country and its position in Europe.

Don’t mention history, focus on the future

During the last 100 years, Austria has gone through a multifaceted and sometimes very painful history. Do not raise historical aspects in articles, releases, interviews, or other pieces of content. Instead, focus on the future! Austrian audiences are always eager to learn about upcoming developments, changes, and trends. Give them the feeling that you bring them to the most recent status of things. They will be grateful – as sometimes Austrians tend to feel a bit left behind by the big trends and changes.

 

About the author: Robert Bauer is managing partner at asoluto, one of Austria’s leading PR companies and local affiliate of PRGN. Asoluto’s 20 communications specialists provide a unique combination of traditional and digital skills and experience since the foundation in 2011. (www.asoluto.com/en)

3 thoughts on “Doing PR in Austria – some hints to maximise success in a special Central European market

  1. Robert, thanks for contributing. What I love about this blog is not just what makes doing PR special in Austria (where we just visited – gorgeous country!), but how many of these tenets are the same around the globe. Great job! Cheers, David Landis, LCI, San Francisco

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