Most businesses today either aim to operate on an international scale or are already doing so. Going international has become almost effortless now thanks to the many digital tools at our fingertips. This means that businesses reach customers from varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds. But does this have a significant impact on PR strategy? The short answer is definitely.
Cultural Awareness Matters
Some brands have learnt the hard way that cultural awareness matters. There are numerous examples of cultural blunders in PR that have left entrepreneurs, CEOs and PR professionals with egg on their faces and scrambling to get crisis control teams on the job. These blunders range from failing to acknowledge and recognize cultural norms to language issues and also serve as reminders to others that culture is important in public relations, marketing and branding.
A brand that reflects a culturally aware persona sends a powerful message to their existing and prospective international partners and customers. That message is essentially ‘we understand, appreciate and value you’. And when a message such as this resonates with the recipients, business is poised to thrive.
Inclusion is Important for the Modern Business. When your target market sees that a brand values them, they will gravitate to that brand rather than the competitors especially when the competition’s cultural awareness is weak or nonexistent. Culturally inclusive PR is therefore key to international expansion and successful global operations.
In strategizing sessions PR teams need to consider the culture pools from which their prospective customers come. This research should include norms and language use as well as religious practices. Doing this helps to ensure that the company and its affiliates don’t offend the target market inadvertently. Of course this means that the market research used by the company or brand needs to reflect the culture of the target market.
PR content should be adapted to suit the target market. In the world of corporate content creation and management this is called localization. It goes beyond translation (and of course it is important for PR content to be translated to the languages of the target markets) and focuses on making the message appealing to the target audience. This means switching out measurement systems and ensuring that culturally appropriate phrases and vocabulary is infused into the material. Naturally therefore localization typically follows translation and requires the input of experts in the target language.
Transcreation is another element that must feature prominently in the culturally inclusive PR strategy. Transcreation experts recreate content in the language of the target audience and ensuring that it is culturally appropriate. This results in a complete overhaul of the content but retention of the salient message. Both transcreation and localization require the input of linguistic experts. Some activities that take place during the transcreation process include; replacing voiceover artists with those that demonstrate the local accent and replacing images with more culturally appropriate ones.
A PR team that is equipped with the requisite resources and expertise will be adept at producing culturally appropriate content. This means a brand that seeks to improve its relationship with diverse cultures will need to ensure that its PR team whether internal or external is equipped to handle the task. And since cultures evolve continuous research is also paramount. This means that a department or team member must be tasked with keeping up with the evolution of cultures around the world.
It is undeniable, culture issues must inform the PR strategies used by companies operating in the current global economic climate. PR teams and companies that plan to stay ahead of the game must adapt and evolve.