Maybe it is the roaring outbursts of emotion seen everywhere we turn due to the results of the US election, or it may be my ongoing obsession with the latest international trends of Twitter (currently, Leonard Cohen and #AHS6NoFX), or simply because this is my desired profession… But as of late, I have put a lot of thought into the globalisation of the public relations industry. Before delving into this topic, let the key staff of Edelman Public Relations explain how to propel this evolution forward:
The 21st century is characterised by globalisation, which undeniably has personified the need for international public relations. Cross-national communication has become the new means of connecting in a modern society. Whether it is for interacting with publics outside of your country, political coalitions, social networking or even trade purposes, this type of communication is vital for an organisations success – and the sole reason we can do this? The introduction of Web 2.0. The introduction of such a communication tool has allowed for a consistent flow of information to and from citizens all around the globe (Flew, 2011). This alone meant that the world of public relations had an entirely new platform, beholding an abundance of new publics to take into consideration. Two noteworthy public relations practitioners, Creedon and Al-Khaja, voiced their opinions regarding the globalisation of their industry:
‘Globalisation coupled with advanced telecommunications technology has broadened the scope of news thereby increasing the need of viewers to cope with more concepts, issues, names, places and processes well beyond those traditionally presented in the national or local context,’ (Creedon & Al-Khaja, 2005).
Because of this, public relations specialists have the responsibility to take into account multiple culturally diverse publics, which in turn created a need update to ensure that the industry was moving forward in a globalised progression (Diamond, 2006). Understandably, this meant that practitioners would continuously have to adapt to varying cultures, to ensure constant skill development. In doing this, it would allow for the overall industry to develop and become more globalised as a whole. Specifically, it is said that a practitioner should be able to persuade individuals through personally taking action and devising only creative ways to solve problems (Molleda, 2009). Furthermore, these individuals, in a globalised sense, must be able to speak local languages (even dialects) and be able to manage their way through the targeted culture without help. It is essential to learn the culture you are going to interact with, or there is no hope of establishing a personal connection (Johnson, 2009). Alexis Bridenbaugh, trained public relations professional, further explains the importance of specific public targeting in a globalised manner:
As an industry, public relations must create and further implement global standards across the board. The best consultancies work to the most renowned ethical and professional standards that have been put in place by national associations. This is understandable when working within your national demographic – however, clients should hire agencies that abide to the standards set by their trade associations. Simply, what I believe should be done, is agencies joining national associations wherever they operate. If you are doing work in China, abide to their code of ethics, and vice versa. In doing this, consultancies will be able to create more secure connections with the specific targeted public, therefore allowing the most successful outcome to be reached.
Another factor to help keep the public relations sector globalised is ensuring that the global talent pool is continually full. At the current point of time, there are simply not enough qualified, hard-working individuals to be put where the demand is. In order to fix this, we need to immediately begin filling the talent pool with two kinds of specialists: those capable of viewing the world from a global perspective while implementing local expertise, and local experts who will work to the highest of international standards (Gallagher, 2012). Unfortunately, these types of specialists are not found everywhere as they are specifically trained to work to these standards. However, the introduction of specific activities and/or events much like worldwide conferences, whether it is in a prominent city or across a social platform such as a Skype, could be utilised to train and inform industry members. In doing this, practitioners will be taught how to evolve the public relations industry while also generating more professionals who fall into the above categories (Ni, 2006). In addition to this, it is crucial that we begin training the future generation of practitioners with literature that is more culturally diverse (Creedon & Al-Khaja, 2005). This change is important due to the fact that the vast majority of public relations material is westernised, which ultimately can lead to creating bias within companies and/or campaigns, causing no connection to be established with a global audience.
With the implementation of Web 2.0, it is much easier to utilise all of the previously listed factors through our capability of instantaneous communication. Through the means of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, practitioners are able to keep up to date on techniques that work to aid the continual development and globalisation of the public relations sector. It is crucial that these professional abide to these standards, to ensure that the progression of public relations continues to rise.
Bridenbaugh, A. (2012). International Public Relations [Video File]. Retrieved: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Txpkf3ssw
Creedon, P & Al-Khaja, M. (2005). Public Relations and Globalization: Building a Case for Cultural Competency in Public Relations Education. Public Relations Review, 31(3).
Diamond, H. (2006). The Globalisation of PR: Myth or Reality. Retrieved 15 November, 2016, from: http://www.globalbydesign.com/2006/11/13/the-globalization-of-pr-myth-or-reality/
Edelman. (2013). Edelman: PR’s Next Generation [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz2MFLZj5X4
Gallagher, D. (2012). Is PR a Globalized Business? Retrieved 15 November, 2016, from: http://blog.ketchum.com/is-pr-a-globalised-business/
Flew, T. (2011). New Media: An Introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
Johnson, K. (2009). Globalization Considerations in PR Campaigns. Retrieved 15 November, 2016, from http://smallbussiness.chron.com/globalization-considerations-pr-campaigns-64877.html
Molleda, J. (2009). Global Public Relations. Retrieved 15 November, 2016, from: http://www.instituteofpr.org/global-public-relations/
Ni, L. (2006). Exploring The Value of Public Relations in Strategy Implementation: Employee Relations in the Globalisation Process. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1(1).