Category B01. Corporate Image, Communication & Reputation Management
Entrant SLAVA Moscow, RUSSIA
Idea Creation SLAVA Moscow, RUSSIA
Name Company Position
Denis Lapshinov SLAVA Creative director
Anna Kirisyuk SLAVA Art-director
Anton Senatorov SLAVA Copywriter
Dasha Shnipko SLAVA Account supervisor
Katya Konovalova SLAVA Client service director

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Earned media was an essential and primary channel to harness the support of influential bloggers, key government authorities, and Russia’s most respected news media behind Google’s “Beyond the Capitals” campaign – a sweeping 2017 initiative that significantly drove the usage, credibility and popularity of Google Search and Maps products throughout the country, far beyond Russia’s most populated media centers. And importantly, the campaign helped Google earn the increased familiarity and trust of the Russian people, and broadly demonstrate its commitment to the success of the modern-day Russian economy and culture.


Worldwide, Google is king of search, with 92% market share. In contrast, Yandex is virtually unknown, with less than 1%–except in Russia where it’s long been a favorite local search engine. While Google market share has grown in the nation’s largest capital cities, gaining awareness and loyalty of people throughout Russia’s vast territories has been a difficult. Existing geopolitical challenges and Russia's subsequent focus on protectionism with regard to domestic industry also make it harder for foreign companies to attract media and policy stakeholder attention. Google needed a grassroots campaign to gain the awareness, trust and engagement of Russians “Beyond the Capitals,” and throughout its European and Asian territories. Our goals: Increase Google share of search, and popularity of Google Map and Search features; attract new users to Google outside the large media centers, and create a platform around which to continue to improve relations with government authorities.

Describe the creative idea

Russians long to feel national pride—and yearn for fresh new sources of it, especially since the classical works of Russian music, literature and ballet that once united Russians are from bygone eras. We believed a new source of pride could come from the entrepreneurial and creative spirit of their own country persons defining modern-day Russia outside of the capitals. Google would be the vehicle to help Russians discover and engage with this newest generation of leaders. The campaign would strengthen Google’s presence and foster newfound appreciation of its services. PR would motivate Russians to nominate and “pin” stories of community business heroes to Google Maps. We’d activate national and grassroots media to seek thousands of nominations. To enhance participation, we’d gain project support from Russian authorities. Then we’d invite the people to vote for the most inspiring new visionaries, and create dedicated project pages on them on Google Maps.

Describe the strategy

We saw Google’s opportunity to show it had both the power and the tools — Maps and Search — to illuminate the thousands of talented, skilled, and creative people with diverse –even radical – artistic and entrepreneurial ideas worth supporting. If we could find them all through Google products, we’d be on our way to winning the hearts and minds of Russians no matter where they lived.

Describe the execution

We conceived “Beyond the Capitals” and set out to identify, map and celebrate Russia’s most fascinating unknown doers and thinkers. Then invited the Russian people to discover them on Google Maps via Google Search. Earned digital media was an essential and primary channel to harness the support of influential bloggers, key government authorities, and Russia’s most respected news media behind Google’s “Beyond the Capitals” campaign.

List the results

BUSINESS OUTCOME Significant market share growth for Google from April-November, 2017. 24 million+ non-Google users reached and engaged through the campaign. IMPROVED IMAGE AND PERCEPTION Two key regional governments officially supported the project. MEDIA OUTCOMES 2,000+ citizens applied and 600 “pinned” on Google Maps from 600+ Russian cities and villages. 1,100+ positive earned media articles generated, including 40+ TV news stories, and 65+ positive radio spots, resulting in a total reach of 3.4 billion people. 30+ influencers and bloggers posts reached 13 million+ combined followers.