Preparing for a Global PR Battle: Understand Cultures, Influencers

Global PR launches like LinkedIn’s Global Professional Buzzwords campaign are fraught with logistical, cultural, creative and communications challenges. Here are some global media outreach guidelines from Brian Regan, senior VP, and GM, New York, at Access Communications, to be aware of:

  • Location, location, location: PR pros must take the time to learn and understand who the key influencers are in each market or region. Have a keen understanding of the unique attributes within each market, with location and business culture being the primary drivers.

  • Borrow from the Pentagon playbook: Prioritize your attack strategy—there’s a reason why the U.S. will only to go to war in a select number of theatres simultaneously. Unless you have unlimited budget, you cannot successfully engage with the entire world in phase one, so map out a strategy.

  • Remember the Pinto: Pay particular attention to the importance of meanings and cross-cultural references in the translation of documents, literature and pitches. When Ford debuted the Pinto in Brazil, sales were dead on arrival. Why? The locals did not want to be seen driving a car meaning “small male genitals.”

  • Explicit vs. implicit: PR content should be prepared with cross-cultural sensitivity. Remember that American and British styles are “explicit”—messages are conveyed solely through words, background information is openly divulged, ambiguity is avoided. In Asia and many other cultures communication is “implicit” —how messages are interpreted are frequently driven by who is speaking, what non-verbal cues are used and in what context the message is being delivered. 

PR News subscribers can read more about LinkedIn's global PR initiative in the case study: "
Mining its Database for Bad Buzzwords, LinkedIn Rases its Profile with a Seamless Global Media Relations Effort."