As part of AKHIA’s efforts to bring globalization to clients, I recently traveled to London to take part in a conference hosted by the International Public Relations Network (IPRN), one of the largest international networks of agency firms in the world. AKHIA has been a member for a little more than two years, and that membership has already proven invaluable.
Held in London, the meeting was attended by PR agency owners from Japan, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Romania, Italy, Spain, Denmark and more. The personal connections forged there are beneficial in helping clients communicate business goals and build brand consistency to employees and customers throughout the world.
Aside from soaking in the sights and sounds of London during my stay, here are three key lessons I brought back to AKHIA from the conference:
Global Thought, Local Action. A public relations strategy is the driving force behind companies thinking globally and acting locally. Acting locally doesn’t mean changing your brand’s core position abroad, but it does mean adapting your messaging to the culture, language and preferences of the region. Adapting the message shows an understanding and respect for the communities in which you operate, and makes your communications more effective. Without this kind of understanding, mistakes are easy to make. For instance, while the color white signals purity in the U.K., it’s a symbol of mourning in China.
Skilled writers and strategists trained in public relations are well-suited to these cross-cultural challenges, adapting messages to various audiences. Additionally, many organizations begin their globalization initiatives by repurposing current assets—think already-written case studies and articles. The PR strategist is often the original author who is most familiar with the existing content.
Beyond Google. A grasp on these kinds of cultural differences requires more than a Google search. To be truly effective, it takes an embedded person in the market to talk, in depth, about the values, customs, language and attributes of the region. Within many regions are various cultures, dialects and meanings based on specific geography—meeting and talking personally with the in-market people who will execute your plan is a critical step in achieving success.
News of the World. Working with the media in different parts of the globe can be particularly tricky, requiring not only in-market knowledge, but also media relationships and contacts. At the IPRN conference, we learned the nuances of working with government-sponsored media, for example—and ironically, we learned this from a Russian agency that was unable to obtain a travel visa due to the situation in the Ukraine.
AKHIA is committed to helping clients take their message worldwide. In addition to our membership in IPRN we have cultivated a strong partnership with a translation firm with extensive in-market resources as well as a highly advanced database that keeps track of client and industry-specific nomenclature for the best possible representation. Contact us if we can help your organization with its globalization efforts.