The world seems to be getting smaller than ever. Events on one side of the planet are posted on social media, featured in video and trending on all seven continents in minutes. From undergrads to CEOs, everyone is being told to think “global” as brands, products and ideas are no longer constricted by geography. But what does this mean for public relations professionals and PR programs?
Indeed, the globalization of PR programs presents professionals with new challenges including different cultures, messaging concerns and coordinating communication across many time zones. It can seem a bit daunting. However, such as with any PR launch, campaign or announcement, as long as clear goals are defined that match back to the client’s growth strategy, the chances of success skyrocket.
What has worked successfully in one region will not work in every market
Of course it makes perfect sense not to start from scratch and base a campaign on what has worked in the past. However, just because a client has been successful in The States and other markets does not mean that it is going to rock the world of every foreign market at face value. Each region comes with its own specific challenges and it is important the PR lead understands the differentiators, or partners with someone who does. In fact, the “we are a really successful US company with a proven track record and finally are bringing our services to this region” approach often backfires and is a common line that the foreign media hear time and time again. It is crucial to tailor a program for every market and to enter a region with knowledge.
We have identified our target market and have feet on the ground. We are ready to launch, right?
Not necessarily. Launching into new markets is exciting and it is sometimes crucial for a company to be first. Remember this formula though before you launch: excitement + too fast = disappointing results. It is important to make sure that the PR team has the tools it needs to be successful. Remember, this is the first impression a company will have to tell its story. Does the client really have a strong enough presence? Are there regional customers that can help tell the story? Are there regional spokespeople that are ready to facilitate interviews?
Messaging, messaging, messaging
Now that the team is in place, has done its research and has its target market(s), it is time to finalize the messaging. This can require multiple releases in several languages where nuances can be important. For example, and timely with “the holidays” right around the corner, “Christmas” is the accepted term in the UK. If “holidays” appeared in a press release meant for the UK it would clearly stick out. Also, it is just as important to understand what messaging different regions are looking for when reaching out to the media. For instance, many European regions are hungry for tailored content they can quickly integrate directly into stories without interviews. In Germany, technology product releases still secure a fair amount of attention, even without a customer.
Coordination on a global scale
When doing a global or regional release, it is important to build in time. Think ahead of what translations may be needed, who needs to review them and how much time that will all take. Keep in mind that certain items, such as high tech jargon, may not translate over well, and that Spanish in one country is not necessarily the same in another. Also, think about time zones, spokesperson availability and if different financial/IR laws may play a factor if working with a public company. Regulations met in London may not meet those of Hong Kong.
What the world needs now
This only scratches the surface and is but a starting point of what is needed to conduct a globally coordinated PR program. In the coming weeks and months, check back for more detailed information as we delve into specific regions and anecdotes of conducting successful global PR.
By Scott Love
Posted by Wait A Minute on October 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM