At this time of year most of us are creating annual PR plans for our clients. We've brainstormed, scratched ideas, and started to vet our favorites: “Can we really get Angelina to herd 100 goats up a mountain to raise awareness of the benefits of goat milk?”
We show up at the client's office with our finest ideas, happy the planning process is nearing an end. And then we hear: “By the way, we need to execute these ideas in 10 countries and eight languages.” It sounds perfectly doable until you discover that goats are not universally liked, and then, it's back to the drawing board.
At Red we are lucky enough to work daily with our European colleagues, and they've been happy to educate us on the drawbacks of simply translating US content and distributing it locally. Here are some ways we've been able to create genuinely global campaigns:
- Involve your international colleagues from the get-go. Share the global brief and the local market objectives.
- Run parallel brainstorms on different continents and then compare ideas to select the best.
- Ensure there is country-specific data and content for all regions participating in the campaign.
- Avoid having the US PR team own and execute the bulk of the ideas. Allowing the team that generated the idea to manage that campaign is motivating and can increase the output of the global PR team by not over-burdening one geography.
- Visit the regions you work with the most. You'll pick up on the regional vibes and, by getting to know your colleagues, virtual brainstorming and planning will be easier.
- Be realistic about cultural differences. Humor is particularly hard to translate.
It's truly rewarding to see an international campaign echo around the globe. Remember, it's not where ideas generate from that matters, it's making them work well.
Alice Chan, SVP and GM, Red Consultancy