Polish Distributors Promo, Case study POLISH EXPORT MARKET by Partner Of Promotion

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Industry Retail, Distribution & Rental companies
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Poland
Agency Partner Of Promotion
Client Service Director Anna Hahn-Lesniewska
Released March 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Public Affairs
Client Service Director: Anna Hahn-Leśniewska (Partner Of Promotion)
Account Director: Paweł Czermak (Partner Of Promotion)
Media placement: PR activities - Online - 01.03.2011

Summary of the Campaign
Russia is a key market for Polish fruits and vegetables. In 2011 the largest entrepreneurs were barred from trading by the Russian Trade authorities. The grounds? Chemicals allegedly found in fruits. The sanction? Ban on export. The solution? Paid, private certificates. The outcome? Impending monopolisation of the European Union market.

In fact, few Polish private producers plotted with Russian trade authorities in an attempt to monopolise the Polish export of fruits and vegetables by selling the suspicious certificates against the law.

The public affairs campaign prompted the Polish authorities, European Commission and the whole industry to intervene. Consequently the association selling the certificates in question was targeted by the Polish Internal Security Agency. The public affairs campaign successfully stopped monopolistic market practices and secured the competitiveness of the European Union market.

The Situation
In 2011, a small group of private producers informed about their newly established cooperation with Russian trade authorities and offered certificates to exporters ensuring immunity at the border, at a price of €300 per package.

Poland has a troubled history of commercial relations with Russia; however, it was for the first time that the obstruction in the flow of goods was supported by a small group of Polish entrepreneurs in an attempt to attain personal benefits. Most importantly, as Poland's eastern border comprise the external EU border with Russia, the attempt to monopolise the export threatens to the whole EU.

The Goal
The overarching objective was to protect free market rules in the export of Polish fruits to Russia and to work out favourable solutions facilitating free and lawful trade in plant and animal products in the future.

Short-term objective:
• Influencing the Polish delegation during their negotiations with the Russian authorities in Berlin to block monopolistic practices in the European Union market.

Long-term objectives:
• Inspiring interest of law enforcement agencies with the attempts to monopolise the market
• Initiating joint works of: exporters, manufacturers and authorities over long-term solutions regulating the export of European Union fruit and vegetables.

The Strategy
Considering the time constraints, the campaign was divided into 2 stages:

• Immediate communication of the threat to influence groups and abolishing the limitations imposed by Russia
• Persuading the authorities to adopt a programme stabilising the rules of export to Russia and eliminate the potential threat of monopolizing EU export.

The strategy assumed exerting intense pressure on the Polish authorities without attacking them.The first step involved adopting a common stance of the majority of exporters by defining key messages and immediately ensuring media attention to the issues.

To win additional support from groups of influence, agency communicated with potential allies organising a series of meetings to present the difficult situation of exporters.

Stage 2 assumed working out long-term solutions for export, based on a transparent System of Integrated Production of Fruits and Vegetables. We had to convince the authorities to promptly implement the system and inform the producers accordingly.

Stage 1 - information:

- Organising a press conference. Invitations were sent to a select group of journalists from key Polish national media
- Creating a website which became a communication platform and a source of information for journalists, industry associations, exporters and producers of agricultural products
- Organizing meetings with representatives of competent authorities, including, among others: the Minister of Rural Development, Deputy Minister for Agriculture and the Chief Inspector for Plant Health and Seed Inspection

Stage 2 - actions:

- Ensuring the participation of the representative of the exporters in consultations regarding the projects of Integrated Production
- Launching an information campaign regarding Integrated Production to ensure transparent trading in goods
- Reporting the practice of attempted breach of free competition principles to the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

Documented Results
The high effectiveness of the actions undertaken was attested by:

• Intervention of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and the Internal Security Agency regarding the illegal practices

• Preparation and implementation of the principles of Integrated Production for the producers who sell produce on the Russian market

• Consolidation of the fruit farming sector around the information campaign regarding the integrated policy organised by (among others): the Polish Association of Producers and Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables, the Association of Polish Fruit Growers, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Plant Health and Seed Inspection

• Presentation of the problem of exporters to the general public through the leading media

The public affairs campaign successfully stopped monopolistic market practices and secured the competitiveness of the European Union market.