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Around the World of PR in 40 Weeks

Our first international PR Series has come to an end. Within our series “Global PR Perspectives”, we ‘visited’ one of our 50 GlobalCom PR Network partner agencies each thursday to ask our colleagues all over the world about current trends and changes but also about regional differences in their PR practices in general.

After more than ten months, we reached the end of our PR journey. During this time, we learned a lot about the different media landscapes, communication habits, PR strategies and possibilities in the most diverse countries.

In some countries like Vietnam or Bulgaria, PR is a rather new industry.  A lot of domestic companies underestimate the role of PR in their industry, and even many large companies don’t even have a local PR or communications department. In smaller countries, budget for PR activities are often very limited compared to other regions.

Anyone who wants to do successful PR abroad ought to respect local cultures. This begins with the choice of the right language – if Flemish or French in Belgium or the Cyrillic alphabet in Bulgaria…

But also the individual culture of each country affects communication strategies. This is the reason for our partners to recommend working with a local established partner who knows the market and already has the necessary contacts.

This also applies to media representatives: Scandinavian journalists react quite sensitively when it comes to attempts of influence which is often viewed as bribery. Therefore, one should better not try to invite Scandinavian editors to lunch. Whereas Japanese journalists appreciate personal contact and might not be reluctant to accept an invitation to a karaoke bar.

So, PR is not the same in any country. As we learned PR strategies can cause very different results in different regions.  In some countries, PR is e.g. more about events or is important to gain a VIP for testimonial in other regions it is very fact based.

According to this, we got many helpful advices from our agency partners  – some with twinkle:

  • Never provide ‘off the record’ information to Italian journalists; you will find it in the news immediately
  • German journalists are are said to be ‘brutally honest’ and love data and facts; but thereby they mostly give helpful feedback
  • Punctuality is a very ‘elastic’ concept in many countries
  • Writing company names in capitals is not appreciated by Skandinavia media, even if it’s a known brand like IKEA
  • In some countries, e.g. Russia, titles and positions are very important for spokes persons presented to the media; in other countries, technical staff is more popular than management or marketing speakers
  • ‘Saving face’ is an important aspect in communications in China – discussing things directly is therefore a sensitive issue and exposing somebody by criticizing him is inacceptable
  • And last but not least: In France, our colleagues claim, you simply have to ‘think French’

Despite crucial cultural diversities, some main trends can be identified: online communication and social media gain more and more influence. In almost every interview, we were told that PR and media are undergoing heavy changes. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube contribute to the changes. For example, in Bulgaria, 2 out of 7 million habitants use Facebook.  Besides Facebook, bloggers gain more importance in many countries. Another popular trend are online news room which provide information as well as graphics and photos for download.

We would like to thank all our colleagues from the GlobalCom PR Network who shared their experience with us!

After a short summer break, we will be back with a brand new series. Stay tuned.

The GlobalCom team

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