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Amanda Hassall, director of PR agency Six Degrees, discusses how to communicate to local markets, no matter where in the world they are

Much has been said about the impact the Internet and social media are having on our methods of communicating with industry stakeholders, such as customers, prospects, partners, and even employees. While many brands need to be convinced of its power, what brands cannot ignore is that people are going online more than ever to get their information. 

The proliferation of broadband networks is changing the way people communicate. So, in this connected world, it makes sense to re-evaluate how we create and execute successful communications plans.

Today’s communication tools enable PR practitioners to create extremely targeted, localised, one-to-one dialogue with their audiences. However, they expose companies to the risk of appearing uncoordinated and inconsistent if they are unable to communicate with local relevance in a way that makes sense globally.

Previously well-defined media barriers are crumbling, and with the increase in peer-to-peer communication, companies need to reconsider a siloed, country-specific approach to communications. It may seem simple, but implementing a truly global communications strategy is easier said than done.

So here are my tips for those running multi-country PR campaigns:

1. Provide clear strategic direction. It is critical to have a central focus for any campaign. This is where the strategic vision is set and goals are outlined. To make a campaign work, all players must have a clear view of what the goal is before they aim for it locally.

2. Get the process right. Ensuring global teams communicate well and regularly is essential. It’s considered best practice to share relevant information equally among dispersed teams, instead of broadcasting’ from the centre.

3. Technology is your friend. Investing in shared platforms, wikis, collaboration software and document sharing will streamline communication and make cross-market knowledge-sharing much more efficient.

4.Content is king. There has never been a more pressing need for good quality content that informs rather than sells. Well-written, topical content will quickly help establish you as industry experts. Produce something at least once a month. It could be a blog post, a customer newsletter, a contributed article … opportunities are endless.

5. Question everything. This relates primarily to reporting. Spend time to set up solid measurement criteria that are consistently used in every market you operate in. Strip-down reporting to the bare essentials so that time can be spent generating results rather than justifying activity.

6. Use the right people. Whether you are using in-house resources, a large global agency, or a network of independent specialists, don’t be afraid to test the strength of the team you will be using. If using external support, you should expect a first-rate team in every country you are operating in, and ensure that you are aware how much of your fee is covering administrative overheads.

7. This should go without saying, but applying a successful global strategy needs to take into account cultural considerations, language, the sophistication of different media markets, Internet penetration, legislation and your own local presence.

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