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November 26, 2018

Taylor Murphy


Marketing & Sales Operations Director

Public relations has evolved into a multi-function industry. Clients expect agencies to be experts not just in traditional PR tactics, such as media relations, but to be able to provide strategic counsel on SEO, marketing, advertising and more. Add in the interconnected nature of today’s global communications, and agencies must also understand how to reach audiences in different markets around the world. As such, to #MakeNews on a global scale, modern PR pros must understand the nuances of communications in different regions, and must tailor strategies and messages in order to make a true impact.

U.S.A.: Unlimited Scope Agencies

In the United States, public relations is still very much geared towards media relations, supplemented by other marketing services. Clients primarily hire agencies in the U.S. to manage press, social media and content. Many Americans continue to look to publications and news organizations for information and agencies know to place messaging where the appropriate audiences are.

Reaching American audiences where they gather information often requires a multi-channel campaign. It’s common for social media to be used in conjunction with a targeted media blitz in order to amplify news as much as possible. When done strategically, a multi-pronged approach can help a brand achieve a dominant share of voice, increase engagement and even contribute to lead gen success.

What’s unique to public relations in the U.S. are the diverse methods used to reach specific audiences. Thought leadership bylines in trade publications are ideal in B2B campaigns, social media is great to engage with consumers, influencers are great for providing authority – all have their place in U.S. public relations. That’s not the case in other parts of the world.

Europe: A Nuanced Approach

In European markets, agencies must leverage knowledge of individual cultures and languages of the diverse countries that formulate the region. Unlike the U.S., which is largely homogenous compared to other areas of the world, Europe requires more nuance in public relations.

In Europe, agencies and PR professionals are less focused on media relations. This is in part to the fact that the media in Europe is less focused on brand news and more focused on macro-trends, foreign relations and government news. Good old-fashioned print newspapers are also still very popular amongst Europeans. However, that doesn’t mean they are the best places to get your clients’ messages within. That means that PR agencies must leverage other tactics to reach audiences. In fact, many brands like to leverage experiential activations when it comes to large campaigns.

Location-based experiential activations meet Europeans where many tend to be, which is in their city centers and high foot-traffic areas. These activations are very successful and important because it allows brands and agencies to tailor experience to specific tastes and cultures in each city or region.

Asia: A Mobile Collective

In Asian countries, public relations needs to shed some of its more intricate targeting. Asian culture emphasizes the collective over the individual, so campaigns and messaging need to focus on how the product or service benefits society as a whole rather than the person.

Also, in many Asian countries, mobile adoption is much higher than traditional media sources. Agencies and PR professionals need to craft messaging that is succinct and effective on mobile devices. For instance, while a long-form byline may work to promote a brand’s messaging to a targeted B2B audience in the U.S., the same messaging would need to be pared down into more concise content that can be read easily by workers reading news on smartphones during their daily train commutes in Japan.

Know the differences to drive the conversation

Regardless of where you plan to have your campaign take place or what audience you are trying to reach, it is imperative that PR professionals know how to make their messages resonate and stick. In our interconnected world, understanding the subtle differences between audiences in different regions can make all the difference when it comes to securing a lead or landing a great media hit.

So, I challenge you, the PR industry, dive into your data, use the resources available to you and become as detailed as possible with your campaigns and projects. Not sure where to begin? Check out a few of our case studies where our focus on details landed our client in front of the right buyers.