8 worst practices in international PR

Taking your outreach efforts to the global stage poses particular, often hidden, hazards. Doing your homework and carefully crafting your messaging to local markets are just part of the deal.

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As more and more companies’ communications go global, more and more pitfalls emerge.

For me in Tokyo in 1994, it was an overhead projector that unexpectedly cut off 20 percent of the image of my client’s nifty new MPEG-2 chip. Journalists gasped, my client fumed, I got fired.

A quarter-century later, more is at stake and international terrains are even harder to traverse.

Here are unwise practices and attitudes that can undermine global communications:

1. “Americanitis” or “fill in the name of the country-itis.” Executives often mistakenly expect that the reputation they’ve spent years building will magically translate to local societies, adapt to prevailing market nuances and reach their targeted constituencies. Such an attitude suggests, erroneously, that the same PR tactics and strategies that work in the home market can be used abroad. It can also lead to impatience and unrealistic expectations. Like any “new kid on the block,” the company must build its reputation through hard work and establishing new relationships.

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