Jennie Scott, Fleishman-Hillard: Big ideas go global in a flash

In the digital age, news of innovative ideas or products travels faster and further than ever before

Jennie Scott, Fleishman-Hillard
Jennie Scott, Fleishman-Hillard

It is estimated that between 50 and 60 per cent of the world's population now own a mobile phone.

This is a great opportunity for mobile marketing and, coupled with the uber growth of web 2.0, means it has never been easier to talk to international audiences directly - whether they are in Mumbai, Madrid or Manila.

What it also shows is that at least half the people across the globe want the same thing, believe they have the same need and have something in common. The idea of being in touch any time, anywhere has successfully travelled the world.

And it is not alone. Nor is it simply a case of bad news travels fast any more. Good PR concepts are flying faster and further than ever before. So is PR becoming increasingly globalised as a result?

It is no surprise savvy international brands that want one powerful voice, combined with the efficiencies of global PR reach, have been taking advantage of this for some time and more companies are joining in.

We are certainly seeing an increasing trend towards a more global approach and we are working more closely with our network around the world.

Tourism Queensland's The Best Job in the World campaign is a perfect illustration of the globalisation of marcoms.

When you're sitting in a French hotel room, watching a story on CNN about an Australian island while news alerts from the Daily Mail about the winner buzz through to your BlackBerry at the same time as your colleague forwards a SmartBrief about how the campaign was fuelled by social media across the world, you know that this is PR with bags of international mileage.

There's no denying that the advent of digital means ideas aren't just confined to geographical regions.

But it is the power of the idea and whether it captures people's imagination that turns it into a globe trotter - the shift in the media landscape simply means it is easier for the news to travel than before.

When an idea or product meets consumer need and taps into the human psyche, geography simply doesn't matter. If it is an interesting concept, people will talk about it, whether they are media professionals, consumers or influencers.

And that's why The Best Job in the World worked. The consumer was at the core. It tapped into an age-old dream - the chance to live in your own tropical island paradise.

Kraft's iFood Assistant application for iPhone is another example of how a good idea travels. The innovation that brings a portable menu planner to your phone hails from the US, yet the lack of geographical borders on our communication landscape means we have all heard about it.

But while the explosion of internet and social media has opened up the world communication stage, given us greater access to our consumers than ever before - and given the people we want to talk to the power and opportunity to talk back - this doesn't mean there is less need for localisation.

On-the-ground local market knowledge and execution remains critical to the delivery. Even when the idea or central theme is the same the world over, the way we need to engage our audiences, together with the messages we deliver to them, needs to be tailored - and that's where good global networks are critical.

So, as we become increasingly globalised, how can PR be successful?

Our approach is simple - think big, start with the consumer and gain global input. Once you have that silver bullet, then you need to get down to the nitty gritty of local markets.

Views in brief

If your agency was a food or drink brand, which would it be? Ben & Jerry's
ice cream. It's recognised and appreciated around the world and adapts to
changing trends, needs and tastes.

Which brand has best caught the public mood in its communications over the past six months? In an economic downturn we long to bring back the good times. There are a lot of brands that are successfully tapping into our desire for nostalgia, but Marks & Spencer really stands out. With its celebration of 125 years including the penny bazaar and retro collections, M&S is not simply evoking good memories but, crucially, getting people into its stores.

Jennie Scott is director of consumer at Fleishman-Hillard

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