Think globally, act locally

This blog post is by Louise Watson from the Brands2Life Global team.

Even though you may be working in PR in the UK, the world of PR is a truly global one. When faced with a global brief, you can’t expect to know how it works on the ground in these countries unless you have the experience (and speaking multiple languages is only part of the solution). Taking a global approach to any strategic PR campaign is crucial in our industry as prospects and clients are based all over the world, yet each country may require a slightly different tactic.

Here we outline the three reasons behind why having a global mindset and thinking internationally is so important in the world of comms today:

1. Collaboration is key
In the world of PR, you have to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the world – especially keeping an eye on the political news agenda. This helps to form news stories and helps you ‘news hijack’ where appropriate in order to help plan and create campaigns. At the same time, travelling around the world to different events and meeting interesting people from different backgrounds helps to provoke new innovative ideas for PR and marketing campaigns. This is precisely why we developed a network of global partners and we’ve had their colleagues come over to visit and vice versa to understand how PR works differently on the ground in different countries. Behind any good PR campaign is a global understanding of how it could roll out into other countries – and this can only be achieved through sharing insight with our teams from around the world and working together to execute and deliver these campaigns.

2. Understanding cultural nuances
It’s important to know the social customs and etiquette in other countries outside of the UK when dealing with journalists and clients from across the pond. For example, in Germany you must address someone by their title and surname to show respect. Whereas in Japan, bowing is a very important sign of respect – so much so that you must be aware of how to execute bows correctly depending on who you are bowing to. In the UK, we build relationships by taking journalists out for lunch and drinks, however, one of our German global partners, Adel & Link, says that this is not necessarily the norm over in Germany. Approach campaign planning with awareness and understanding of differences globally and you’ll more likely find global success.

3. Diversity leads to creativity
Being in a fast-past environment means that sometimes things need to be turned around quickly, and knowing the different time zones across the world is vital to be able to plan ahead. Building a diverse global network, like we have at Brands2Life, means you can gather different thoughts and opinions from all different backgrounds and weave them into your ideas, breaking the boundaries of creativity for our clients. We have Russians, Poles, Zimbabweans, French, Lebanese and more among us in our London office. The important thing to remember is that not every idea will work in every country. For example, American humour isn’t always understood by other countries and in China, for example, they don’t have access to social platforms like Facebook – they primarily use WeChat. Creativity involves thinking about how you can approach a campaign, deliver it and make it successful worldwide.

Only by talking to people, in different languages, cultures and across time zones, can we inject creativity and that global understanding in order to resonate a story in multiple countries. Taking advantage of our partners’ insights from across the world, for example at our Brands2Life Global Summit, is so important for communications, creativity and success. This is why we have considered our partners so carefully, making sure they align with our global approach, demonstrating international thinking and knowledge. By having the right partners and networks are in place – having best of the breed instead of one size fits all – allows us to be so successful when executing PR campaigns locally.

Read about some of our great international campaigns here.

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