Brexit, Yellow Jackets, mass migration. It’s an interesting time in the international market, to say the least. These times of uncertainty are ideal for reviewing your company’s global communication strategy.
Take Brexit for example. According to a recent CIPR survey of PR agencies, less than a quarter (22%) of respondents feel that most of their clients are prepared for Brexit. Fewer than that (21%) don’t believe that even some of their clients are prepared at all. 31% are helping or have helped clients prepare for Brexit, and nearly half (46%) agree that clients have mentioned Brexit.
Experts agree that communication across all verticals will be somehow affected by the UK’s departure from the EU, but most aren’t prepared for it from a communications standpoint. And generally most probably don’t have a “cross-border” communication strategy, which is becoming more and more important in our ever-shrinking world. And even though the ways in which we communicate are myriad in 2019, public relations in every country is done differently. Uniquely.
This is why you need an international approach that is efficient, effective, and engaging.
So, what does cross-border communications mean today?
There’s a tendency for start-ups and SMBs to focus most of their efforts on the US market, which is understandable as many prominent tech, business, and entertainment media outlets and influencers are based here. But both the EU and Asian markets are rising, with China expected to surpass the US GDP in 2020 to become the world’s top economy. These areas are becoming essential markets for authentically communicating your company’s value proposition. Companies need to be better prepared to handle (and benefit from) PR on a global scale, which might sound daunting and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you find the right PR partners.
You might be thinking, “Well, we can just blast out press releases on international wires and be done with it.” And you could! But that wouldn’t be a very effective strategy. There are nuances to executing your PR strategy in every country. Media and the native population have ways they like being talked to, and it’s imperative you take that into account by hiring professionals who are “on the ground” in your target markets.
For example, PR in Italy is hyper-local, with newspapers and broadcast outlets being the ideal choice for spreading the word. In Germany, reporters value their privacy and it’s customary to get their permission before sending any press releases or pitches. Here in the US and in the U.K., earned media is just that - earned by overcoming the naturally skeptical press. The point is: the way PR is done internationally must respect the local rules and customs of the country in which it's being done. If you want to gain any traction, that is.
Big Agency or Boutique Networker?
Global agencies might seem to be the easiest answer way to tackle international comms, but they’re expensive and might not be the ideal solution for scrappy startups and SMBs. There are benefits to finding local boutique agencies and/or freelancers that work on your behalf. For one, these entities are more motivated to keep your business and much less expensive than their larger counterparts. Smaller agencies are also nimbler and can react to situations quickly, relying less on bureaucratic processes and more on their know-how in local markets.
The flip side to this is that it’s tough to manage so many local entities yourself. You should consider partnering with an agency like OXYGEN, who can tap into their boutique network and manage it on your behalf. That way you’re getting the benefit of a truly global network with the ease of a single player managing strategy.