In part 1 of the interview PR expert Martin Jones talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the changing media landscape in the US and its influence on PR practices. Today he reports on general differences companies and organizations should watch out for when doing PR in the USA.
1. Are there PR practices in which you think your region differs from PR in other parts of the world?
The media landscape is obviously very different across the globe, from the way it’s read to the way it’s pitched by PR professionals, to the relationship between editorial and advertising.
Our U.S. and European clients see a lot of value in online coverage, whereas in Asia there is much more prominence given to print coverage. So while there are blogs and online titles that perfectly strike the target audience, there is a lot of education and justification required to demonstrate their value.
Similarly, in the U.S., telephone or web-based meetings are very common whereas in some parts of Europe and again, in Asia, they are seen as somehow sub-par with face to face much preferred.
You also have different protocols – for example in the Netherlands is it very normal for clients to get the chance to review copy after a briefing before it is published to ‘fact check.’ That suggestion or request doesn’t always go down so well with U.S. media.
So, there are many subtle differences which come into play if a U.S. company is undertaking activity overseas or if an overseas company is doing a campaign in the U.S.
The impact is usually in the time and effort it takes to explain, educate and demonstrate these differences.
2. Can you describe common mistakes foreign companies make?
The biggest common mistake is when they try to apply clients‘ local cultures and protocols outside their territory. For example, just because the company is Dutch doesn‘t mean it should have the right to review coverage in a U.S. publication. Or just because the client is South Korean doesn‘t mean we will be able to pay the journalist to fly to Seoul for a face-to-face interview. For many clients, it‘s simply a question of education, which needs to be factored into the new business or initial planning process.
3. What do clients from other markets need to keep in mind when they plan to do PR in your region?
It’s really important for clients to clearly demonstrate a commitment to the U.S. market, whether that means investment in people, office space, or setting out their strategic goals.
PR pros must work closely with clients to weed out U.S. relevant stories and angles, and align messaging with U.S. relevant issues and trends.
Because of the differences in the English language between Europe and the U.S., clients should also consider the format and language of collateral and website copy.
Learn how the financial crisis influenced PR practices in Portugal, how to intelligently integrate Social Media and classical press release distribution to fulfill the needs of today’s media professionals.
Martin Jones, managing partner and co-founder of March Communications, has nearly 20 years of experience driving and executing global B2B and B2C public relations campaigns. He co-founded March to provide both clients and agency teams with a service and environment that is open, innovative and inspiring. March’s approach to social media is driven by his firm belief that all media is social and a good campaign isn’t about separating traditional media from social media, it’s about integrating them. Martin launched one of the first dedicated online PR agencies, iJack Communications, back in early 1999 and is extremely well versed in the transformational effect online has had on communications.
Martin began his career at London-based public relations agency, Band & Brown, where he led PR and marketing campaigns for BT, Cisco Systems, Encyclopedia Britannica, Disney, HSBC, LogicaCMG, McAfee, Sky Digital, Sony Ericsson and Vodafone.