Fat-headed though it might sound I’ve always regarded myself as being pretty ‘international’. I’m well-traveled, with friends and relatives in Europe, experience of working with international clients, and speak a few languages at a low level. Hell, even my partner is Canadian-Chinese.
One of the things that attracted me to EML Wildfire was the opportunity to oversee large international PR campaigns. This is a particular strength of EML Wildfire’s.
As part of my ongoing interest in international PR I recently attended another seminar concerning PR in emerging markets such as the BRIC nations; Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The general consensus confirmed something I already knew: ‘We’ (for which read ‘the whole business world’) are all going to have to get a hell of a lot *more* international in our outlook if we are to continue to thrive.
That applies to everyday life, by the way, not just business. I genuinely wandered away wondering, (not for the first time), whether I should be learning Brazilian-Portuguese for the sake of both my business and social interactions. After all, it seems that Brazil will virtually own the world by 2050, along with China and India.
Perhaps this sounds a bit trite? After all, the importance of an international standpoint in PR and business generally has been understood for years. But now we seem to have reached an inflection point. I feel that businesses now recognise, in some more visceral way, that a fundamental transition of power and wealth, from North to South and East to West, is taking place.
This ain’t the same as yuppie New York businessmen in the 80s learning Japanese. Well it kind’ve is. But it isn’t.
As a PR it’s hard not to be interested in how different international business cultures react to media, meeting-etiquette, formality, dress, money, deal-making, socialising, time keeping, etc. It’s always good to get fresh perspectives on these matters, and for any newbie, invaluable.
Can I give you specifics? Japanese deference? African timekeeping? Well, in truth, I’d rather avoid it. Somehow, when set down in writing, observations about international business cultures can devolve into cliche, like a blog-revival of 70s sitcom ‘Mind Your Language’.
However, over the next few weeks it would be valuable to trot out a few blogs outlining how international PR can best be handled.
Watch this space.