Are there any differences when putting together an international PR campaign compared with a national campaign? Well yes ... and no! The starting point is pretty similar. International PR, just like a national campaign, requires thorough research of your target market. But for an integrated international campaign, finding an insight or a brand truth which translates across markets is also crucial.
Grayling’s international managing director James Acheson Gray adds that one of the most important elements of a successful international PR campaign is to make sure you “develop a programme which is culturally relevant and appropriate to local conditions”.
Who needs international PR?It goes without saying that most international PR is undertaken by multinational companies, although any brand that requires a consistent approach is likely to plan its PR on an international level. There is an argument that because of the the internet and social media, all PR is now cross-border and therefore international. This issue is discussed in another PRmoment article here.
How expensive is an international PR campaign?In many ways, for an international brand, rather than adding a layer of complication, an international PR campaign can save both time and money because it prevents duplication of effort across multiple markets. International PR means that the campaign’s planning, the messaging, the creative and the implementation, can be used across international markets.
How to implement international PR?
One significant question that international communicators face is whether they are best placed to use one international agency or a range of specialists who operate in the relevant geographical markets. If resources allow, most experts believe that it is better to be able to position communications staff in the country where the campaign is taking place. While this is likely to be the best option, a virtual PR presence can work well in some circumstances. For example, if you were launching a new product in Germany and had a PRO who was fluent in German, knew all the media and understood the German consumer, then they would be able to run a successful campaign from London. It would not be ideal, but it could be done.
Grayling’s Acheson-Gray says there are advantages to both methods. Although he believes a “wholly owned structure ensures strict management and quality control.” And he adds that as Grayling has grown through acquisition, “this ensures each company is best-of-breed with its roots in the local market. We think this gives us the best of both worlds”.
A further advantage of using one agency for an international campaign is that it may result in more effective communications between the client and the agency. For example, to ensure real-time and simple communications between agency and client, Grayling has invested in ClientZone - an extranet resource available to all their clients. In addition, all Grayling staff have access to a unique desktop monitoring tool which gives them the ability to track everything that is being said about their clients at the click of a button. If you are dealing with large numbers of employees across different time zones, this type of infrastructure can make a difference.
Finally, in terms of employee skill and organisational culture, an international firm is more likely to standardise its training and structures so that a client is more quickly able effectively manage its PR agency.
About PRmoment Learning Zones: This is a promotional feature that we are running in partnership with Grayling