You’re the owner of a widget factory and you think that your products are perfect for the people of Canada, Central America, the Amazon Basin, Sub-Saharan Africa or perhaps the entire Indian subcontinent. You’re ready to take on the world, but how do you make sure the world doesn’t take you out? Here are some tips for launching an international PR campaign:
1.) Do Your Homework – In large companies, market researchers will test market your product, but if you’re a small business owner, you probably don’t have the luxury of a dedicated team of market researchers. Still, it would be even worse to prepare an international launch only to find out afterward that the people you targeted maintain an intense hatred for rain galoshes, and besides, it only rains three days out of the year there.
2.) Go Deep – Not all Russians love vodka, not all South Americans like Shakira and salsa music, and not all Africans have dark skin and live in poverty. All three are stereotypes based on either ignorance or simply a failure to delve beneath the surface. When researching how to approach a new market, leave preconceptions at the door and get the real story. Often times, international public relations campaigns must win the hearts and minds of their target audience before they can start to sell products. Only by thoroughly analyzing the market (with its many segments, vodka-loving and otherwise) can a PR strategy accomplish that mission.
3.) Use the Services of a Professional Translator – We’ve all seen sites like Engrish.com that highlight terrible translations into English. Well, you don’t want your PR communications to be the Hindi, Mandarin or Russian equivalent to something found on Engrish, do you? Do not snag that second generation American assistant from HR or your brother-in-law’s grandmother to translate your PR communications. To ensure that your PR communications use the correct terminology, everything should be translated into the native language by someone who lives and works in the country or area. Literal translations of PR communications allow for all kinds of embarrassing – and reputation damaging – problems.
4.) Hire a Cultural Consultant – Your PR tour featuring various attractive young people flashing the “Ok” sign was a hit in Middle America, so why on earth has the Brazilian diplomat just called you about the international incident your spokesteenagers started in Sao Paulo? That’s because in Brazil, the “ok” sign – made by fashioning the thumb and forefinger together into a zero – is actually an obscene gesture. It’s always vital to check for cultural miscommunications before deciding on an international PR strategy.
There are certainly more than four tips but this is a good start. Can you think of some additional tips for an international PR campaign? Share your tips below.
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download a free copy of the PR Checklist – a 24 point list of Press Release Dos and Don’ts here: http://www.ereleases.com/prchecklist.html