Public Relations Practice Beyond Borders

Organizations need to look at the world as if they were standing on the moon,” is a quote from a U.S. student participant in the 2010 IBM Future Leaders Study suggesting globalization is a vital part of the current global economic environment.

According to an April 2010 article in The New York Times, the term “corporate America” no longer exists. Instead there is a new breed of business enterprise — the post-multinational global corporation. Companies are no longer defined by their headquarters but by their global operations and strategy. The most successful companies have a global view and understand the need for global diversity.

How do public relations practitioners engage global audiences and implement a global public relations strategy?

Social media are integral parts of a global public relations campaign. New professionals should have a keen understanding of how social media are utilized throughout the world and not subscribe to the “Well, this is how we do it in the United States” mentality.

Many of the social networking platforms (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn) were founded in the United States but are wildly popular in other areas and continue to grow at an exponential rate. In this new communications landscape, “glocal” (think global, act local) is the new motto.

For public relations practitioners to succeed in the global marketplace, they should have a basic understanding of national, regional and global communications practices. In some countries, one social media tool may be more popular or resonate better with business decision-makers than another.

The digital era we live in provides real-time communications with news and information always available online. This provides an excellent opportunity for new professionals to make an impact on global public relations, discussing effective global collaboration for both internal and external audiences and delivering strategic messaging through new media.

Brandi Boatner was the PRSSA 2008–2009 national president. Currently, Boatner works at IBM in New York, where she is a member of the Global Business Services communications/PR team. Her roles and responsibilities include media relations, social media strategies for IBM’s C-suite thought leadership study series and working with IBM’s Institute for Business Value.

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