My agency, Brodeur Partners, recently announced a new European partnership with Grant Butler Coomber (GBC Group), a leading independent EMEA-based public relations firm, reflecting the growing importance of true cross-border cooperation that is more than just “dots on the map.”
As clients are increasingly demanding global solutions, cross-Atlantic teams are becoming more common, yet multiregional campaigns have to overcome more than just time zones.
As a Brit working in New York for many years, the question I get most from PR colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic is “How can you work there, how do you get anything done!” Stereotypes on both sides exist. My American friends seem to think those in London and Europe are in the pub every lunchtime, leave at the stroke of 5pm and are constantly on a “Bank Holiday.” For their part, my British counterparts often discount their American brethren as overenthusiastic, non-creative corporate types that spend all day in meetings. For the record, some of the hardest working PR pros I've worked with are London-based, and some of the most creative have been here in the US.
Close-working relationships overcome these stereotypes, yet real differences remain. For example, European broadcast legislation prevents unbalanced branded segments from appearing on commercial stations and is banned completely from the BBC. Controlled media such as matte releases and SMTs do not exist and socialized medicine means the phrase “Ask your doctor about” is unheard of. The biggest complaint I hear from European teams is the American assumption that one tactic and one budget can be applied across the continent. From the other side, UK teams often underestimate the size and diversity of the American media market, where irreverent campaigns have more propensity to backfire and the traditional “PR stunt” is not the vehicle to achieve widespread national coverage.
Despite our differences, as an industry, we are rising to meet clients' increased demands for global and cross-discipline integration. In addition, smart agencies are responding globally to the growth and prevalence of social media which has no geographic borders. This is at the heart of the Brodeur Partners, GBC Group collaboration.
In a social media world where a middle-aged woman from Scotland can go from obscurity to appearing on CNN, Good Morning America, and Today Show in less than a week, and a blog in Germany can spark an article in The New York Times, agencies and clients need to understand the global village.
As PR professionals there is more that unites us then divides us. As I look forward to working with GBC Group, I would like to recognize the great work being carried out on both sides of the Atlantic. So keep up the good work and God Bless America, and God Save The Queen!
Ian Twinn is director of new business and creative development at Brodeur Partners.