Perspectives on International PR

Wednesday, 11 February 2015, 17:12 | Category : General
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We did a quick tally up last month of the campaigns we’d done in 2014 and to our own surprise found that we’d been working in 24 countries around the world at any given time last year for clients as diverse as MyFitnessPal, Viagogo and Deloitte. As our network has grown to include over 1000 associates globally, international PR now makes up a large proportion of daily business. Whether we’re advising smaller enterprises looking to dip their toe into other markets with minimal risk, or looking at the requirements of a blue-chip wanting to scale cost-effectively, the international PR playing field is definitely leveling out. Here are some perspectives on how we see the international PR landscape.

Content still remains king…wherever you are in the world

In a 24/7 world where we are bombarded with numerous marketing messages (some say it’s more than 3000 given TV, radio, Internet interactions), it’s now even harder for brands to stand out from the crowd. But if one rule does apply when doing international PR, it’s that content will always remain king and the principles of authenticity, context, relevance and personality still apply. Bland corporate messaging that takes no account of localised nuances is set to fail from the start and can burn PR resources if you never adapt your strategy. What may work in France may not work in Japan given the cultural differences, so it’s worth taking the guidance from your teams on the ground.

Social media is diverse, but consumers still rule

A social media strategy in India will differ greatly to that adopted in China. Even regionally you can’t assume that two markets are the same even if they share a geographical border. Reports from Business Insider state that Qzone is China’s third biggest social network, whilst one quarter of LinkedIn’s global members are based in India – so different trends drive different PR programmes. Equally how people access social media across the world is important. Mobile and tablet access is on the increase meaning consumers want a seamless experience. Building a social media strategy that is bite-size for Twitter and visual for Vine comes into its own when you feed the content out at in the right way and even at the right time of day. Twitter Analytics and other third party analysis tools can help you decipher what is the right time for your client’s message to go out on each platform, and a bit of trial and error will generate valuable insights here.

Never ever make any assumptions

In all the years we’ve been operating internationally, we have learned it’s safest never to make any assumptions based on what works in your home market. Things do really get lost in translation. Language and culture barriers certainly make the working day more eventful, but even when it comes down to the basics of an article, a spokesperson, or what is deemed ‘off the record’, cultural nuances do mean things can be taken literally. With 6,500 languages around the world and English deemed the language of business, specifying exactly what you need in a solid written brief will set you up for success.

Measurement matters more than ever

The $64,000 question of how to measure PR is not going away. The number of clippings and a ‘gut instinct’ that PR has gone well in several markets just won’t cut the mustard these days. That said measuring share of voice and brand recognition in numerous markets can be costly. Evolving your PR strategy to follow principles according to AMEC (let’s ditch the AVE!) are important and it’s worth looking at a range of new emerging tools out there to see if you can make sense of everything internationally, the likes of Meltwater as well as Buzzsumo can help and are multilingual to boot, whilst also being cost effective.

This is just a taster of what we’ve experienced, but we’re actually in the processing of gathering insights and anecdotes from our global associate network and client base from the last ten years. If you’re keen to get involved or simply want to take a look at the findings, let us know on Watch this space!

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