Bridging the Gap: Travel the World with Your PR Career

This post is part of our PRSSA 2012 National Conference series, where members of our Executive Board will be sharing tips from various breakout sessions.

How amazing does it sound to be based in California or New York, but to only live there half the year because your job needs you in London, Spain, India, China, Australia, and so on? Shabnam Asthana and Morgan Mclintic are two awesome public relations professionals who have mastered the art of global PR.

Asthana is from India, and she founded Empowered Solutions, which provides all sorts of communications services. Her panel partner Mclintic is from London, and is the EVP of Lewis PR and lives in San Francisco. Both have traveled the globe with their public relations careers, and here is how.

The main concept is to think locally, but act globally. Because you are based in one place, you have to think about the needs and wants of that specific area, but on the other hand, you must base your actions on what a global community is interested in.

The hardest part of global public relations is adaptability. You must be able to adapt to all cultures and accept cross-cultural challenges. For instance, the media asks different types of questions in different countries. So you need to understand each market individually and anticipate what kind of feedback you will get from the different cultures.

In global PR, there is a paradox of simplicity and complexity—you want your message to be simple and get across to everyone, but it is complex to do this across cultures. In order to do this, the PR pro must integrate trends into global fashions. What hashtags will people see in this part of the world versus that part of the world? What social media platform is better here than there? Because of these differences, there is a shift from content creation to relationship management. Rather than trying to create content for each market, if your relationship is strong with someone from each area, then you can convey your message to him/her and that person can share it strongly with their market.

Global public relations introduces a new way of thinking. Not only do you have to consider the behavior of your audience in your home, but also in other cultures that might not be as familiar to you. While this seems a bit overwhelming and entails some research, Asthana and Mclintic really emphasized how great the travelling experience is.

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