Think global, act local….

February 5, 2010 at 11:33 pm (Public Relations) (, , , )

The in class debate this week about Global PR versus a Culturally Adapted, PR practice was interesting.  Although the two need to work together it is very important that companies and organizations really learn about the nuances of the different cultures they want to operate within.

Ledingham wrote a very interesting article about cross cultural PR. He argued that not taking the cultural differences in account can lead to many problems in PR. It is important that already from the strategic decision making level the cultural differences are considered.
He also emphasized the importance of mutual benefit, as PR is about creating and maintaining good relationships with other stakeholders.  For this a common ground is needed and problems should be solved within a cooperative effort.  In order to to this one needs to look at both the perceptions about the culture s/he has and also study/experience/observe it.

Ledingham, John A. (2008),-Cultural Public Relations: A Review of Existing Models With Suggestions for a Post-Industrial Public Relations Pyramid.
Journal of Promotion Management; 2008, Vol. 14 Issue 3/4, p225-241,

The culturally adaptive approach to PR of course should be more about the how, not about the what.  This understanding will make Global PR more effective, but the motives  and the goals should stay global. In other words global outlook on PR should characterize the beginning and the end of any PR project and the middle part (tactics, messages channels) should be tailored to fit the culture. This can be achieved by working together with local practitioners, take time to observe day to day business there and ultimately learn from these experiences.

Making this effort is a long-term investment and it is even possible that the combination of knowledge that comes from the various cultural contexts can create an even more efficient PR globally.   For example, if a trend starts up in China or Japan or India, like a new media gadget that can affect PR, it can help to inspire ideas about how it will affect the U.K..

Image: Flickr.com

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