ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
October 28, 2008

Catching the Tailwind: Charting A Course to Global PR Success


Helen Wagner, manager of public relations for 3M, in Minnesota, talks about how 3M executes campaigns on a global scale.

Some of the takeaways from this session:

  • Truly global launches are rare
  • Regional and country launches, grown organically, are more common
  • Give your staff in other countries the creative freedom to innovate, give up some of the control, not all of the programs should be US centric or controlled
  • Think more about long-range programs that build over time. One example is 3Ms Most Gifted Wrapper program for Scotch tape
  • Take a program and replicate (not duplicate) a campaign started in one country to another country
  • You can fund a global launch by reallocating existing PR budgets

Constraints in Global Marketing

When considering public relations programs in multiple markets, the communication team needs to consider three realities:

  • Political: Type of government, political ideologies, activism
  • Economic: Class structure, poverty, literacy rates, legal system
  • Social: Value system, cultural influences, gender based roles, respect to authority

One of the most interesting part of the session concerned the freedom of the press around the world and how that impacts the public relations function in global companies.  She shared some resources offered by Freedom House, an organization dedicated to freedom around the world.  According its statistics of freedom of the press around the world:

  • Not Free: 17%
  • Partly Free: 43%
  • Free: 40%

Social Media

One of the ways that 3M is starting to get around these constraints on freedom is through social media channels, which allows a more direct connection with customers.  For instance, social media has become a driving force behind access of information in the Middle East and North Africa.

She also mentioned that Asian markets are leading the charge in the creation of blog content and that Brazil has the  the most active users, with 56 percent managing their social network profiles each day.

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By Kami Watson Huyse, APR, principal of My PR Pro, is an Ad Age “Power 150” blogger who writes about public relations and communications at Communication Overtones. She has an extensive background in crisis communication and reputation management, executing social media campaigns, focus group research and media relations. She has garnered coverage for her clients in media outlets such as the Washington Post, theWall Street Journal, the CBS’ “The Early Show” and the San Antonio Express News, among others.

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