How PR Differs on a Global Level

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A career in public relations requires critical thinking skills, creative thinking, and above all, phenomenal communication skills. The level of effort that is put into public relations on the local level is far less than the effort required at the global level. Public relations success in the United States does not mean automatic success in the global sphere. There are many reasons for this, but most boil down to cultural and linguistic communication and a difference in ideals.

Cultural Considerations

It is ethnocentric of public relations officers to think effective U.S. communication methods and cultural norms would serve just as well internationally. Every country has its own customs, traditions and way of communicating. A public relations officer that only works within the realm of one country need not worry about effectively communicating with another country across the globe. This is perhaps the clearest distinction between public relations locally and internationally. The sayings of Americans often do not translate well in other countries, and a good international public relations officer knows this. Still, global public relations mistakes have been made, exemplifying just how challenging it is to pull off good public relations on the international level.

Black and white photo of suite PR men

Part of a public relations officer’s job is to influence public opinion and behavior. A PR officer working locally should have far less difficulty manipulating and swaying the public’s behavior, given the extensive knowledge that he or she should have of their local population. Influencing the public’s behavior globally is far more labor intensive and complex. Extensive research must be done, careful translation of foreign languages, and assiduous translation of foreign sayings are all part of managing successful international public relations. A poster of a model wearing shorts in America is nothing controversial; however, in some other countries such an image is scandalous and unacceptable. It is paramount for a public relations officer to know how to localize content. Everything in a global public relations campaign, big or small, must be carefully thought out and implemented in order to avoid a public relations disaster.

Success Abroad

An American company may enjoy excellent public relations locally, but struggle to achieve the same success internationally. Wise public relations teams understand that international success with the public takes time and nurturing. Whoever they are representing may not have a well-known reputation internationally, and a favorable reputation is not built overnight. It takes time to get to know the target audience of a foreign country and to successfully predict what they will respond positively to.
Internal communication and budget management vary greatly from local to global public relations as well. Everything on the local level operates far more quickly and efficiently than on the global level. This is because locally, public relations is far more manageable. Once a person or company goes global, the budget expands and bureaucracy often takes over. This means greater efforts must be exerted in order to establish effective public relations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in public relations are expected to grow 6% from 2014 to 2024. Visit the George Washington University online to learn about what a career in public relations can do for you.

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