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The PR challenges of communicating internationally

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When expanding your business into new international markets, the need for greater PR and market research becomes critical. However, the challenges associated with PR can also become far more significant.

For UK-based companies expanding into new markets, PR and marketing goes from a localised enterprise to a global industry where there are a variety of economic and political situations, cultures, values and levels of development of which you have to be aware.

It is imperative, therefore, that an international business understands the cultural differences and builds relationships with members of the media in the other countries.

One of the key challenges in international communications can be understanding that the person sending out the release/feature etc. (i.e. the UK-based business) and the person receiving the release (a member of the foreign media) are from different cultural backgrounds and the message may have very different meanings when transmitted to different cultures. It is important to work with PR professionals that understand the market that you are selling to, so as not to have mixed messages.

It is also important to consider whether the tactics used in the UK will translate effectively to the rest of the world. For example, when working for a UK-based company that is leading the way in its respective field, there is a key selling point of a ‘British company has done good’…..However, when trying to appeal to an international audience, this angle is less relevant and the PR strategy has to be more creative in its approach.

Selling into the media and building relationships also provides its own set of challenges. Due to time differences it is essential to understand the foreign media inside out i.e. at what time they go to print and when they have their morning conferences, as you may only have one or two hours every day to get in contact.

With the Budget outlining the government’s support for UK companies expanding abroad and the Treasury seeking to reach a self-imposed objective of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020, UK companies have more opportunities than ever to take advantage of foreign markets. The only caveat is that you must be prepared and align yourself with the right partner!

At Prova, we have experience working with clients operating throughout Europe, Asia and the US. That experience is vital when it comes to international PR. To find out more about how Prova can help, contact Gill Holtom.

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