PR For a Small World: Strategies for International PR

Is your B2B public relations strategy global, local or someplace in between? An investment banking client once told me, “If a company doesn’t have a ‘China strategy’ then it has a going out of business strategy.” While I don’t think the same thing necessarily applies to all companies’ PR strategy, the logic got me thinking. The world is getting smaller and a company’s customer base, regardless of industry, most likely can be global. Which means, no matter the size of the company, their PR strategy should have global appeal.

According to David Ritchey, in the August 2009 issue of O’Dwyers PR Report, “globalization has become one of the most used word in American business and many on the corporate side have made a commitment to international work…changing public relations as we know it.”

International corporate communication strategies are best when they are country specific:

Who are the main audiences for the company? Where are they located?  If the company currently does not have target audiences abroad, could it? When putting together a PR strategy it is best to look at each country individually instead of by region. U.S. businesses tend to lump their marketing strategy into regions, which is often disastrous.

From a practical standpoint, the number of regional news outlets is limited and reporters for major news organizations often cover one specific country or city. Because cultures and news media vary widely from country to country, reporters and local publications want to know that you have a message that speaks directly to their readers, not a diluted regional message.

Create Your Cultural Profiles:

Understand the culture where you wish to do business, as well as how news is digested by your target audiences. Create a cultural profile for each country on your target list. Identify the most reputable news sources and their audiences and remember to include local blogs and other social media outlets. Query any savvy business connections you have in the market. Begin to populate your network of trusted business columnists and local trade organizations and familiarize yourself with their work.

Match the PR strategy with the news culture of the international target market:

When implementing PR strategy, make sure your methods of outreach complement the way media relations is conducted in those countries. For example, according to Angelica Consiglio of PR firm Planin Worldcom in Sao Paulo, if a US company wants to implement a PR strategy in Brazil it is important to have a local executive give interviews in Portuguese. They are also expected to share information about their company’s long term commitment to conducting business in Brazil. Click here to read a Q&A with Angelica Consiglio on implementing international PR strategies in Brazil.

If you are after an international customer base and lack a cogent international PR strategy chances are your competition will beat you to it. How are you preparing to do PR in a small world?

(Photo by Karlstads Universitet)

To reach Cortney:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Twitter: @cortneyr
LinkedIn: Cortney Rhoads Stapleton