Going Global

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David Landis, intrepid LCI honcho here with some musings following the spring gathering of our 42 public relations affiliates worldwide, all members of Public Relations Global Network (www.prgn.com).

For most of my professional life, I’ve heard the mantra: “PR is at its heart, local.” And yet, after meeting my PR global affiliates in Brussels recently, it’s evident to me that in today’s economy, if you’re not global, you can’t compete.

So which is it? Global or local?

Kind of both.

PR still has to know and understand its audiences, its goals and its targeted communications channels. To do that, I’ve learned from my worldwide PR colleagues, you need an expert who knows and understands the local landscape. Frank Cullen, of Cullen Communications in Ireland, said something that has stuck with me for many years: “I would never think that I could do a great campaign in the United Kingdom.” At the time, being the boastful American I am, I wondered why not. Well, mainly because even though both the Irish and the English speak the same language, they have completely different cultures.

And yet, technology has created a borderless world in which communication happens instantaneously. So to stay competitive, a PR professional is has to offer clients the ability – with hands-on integrity – to infiltrate international markets successfully.

One example is LCI client Lotus Bakeries, based in Belgium. We are helping them launch new products here in the U.S., but we’re also introducing them to our PR affiliate, Francine Robbens of PRP in Belgium to help them in Europe.

Marc Destito, of our new member agency in Switzerland (Cabinet Prive de Conseils (CPC)), has conceived a program tentatively called “Gateway to Europe.” It’s really about helping clients on both sides of the pond know and understand how to do business in respective markets. Great idea, Marc. We’ll be helping you launch it on the West Coast in the U.S.

partricia-and-francine-at-prgn-2011Since our last spring meeting, PRGN has a new President (Francine Robbens, Brussels) and a new President-elect (Mark Paterson, Melbourne, Australia). To continue to be competitive, we have added three new agencies: Cabinet Prive de Conseils in Geneva, YESwecan in Paris and LVBA in Sao Paulo.

I’m proud that LCI has for five years now been part of PRGN, an august group of PR professionals whose work is among the best in the business. Being a part of PRGN has helped LCI win business. But it’s also a network populated by people I know and call my friends. I’m humbled by the expertise as well as the hospitality of our members. Some examples? My daily “please help me” calls to the ever-smart Anne Buchanan of Philadelphia-based Buchanan Public Relations. Or our team-mark-patersonrecent pitch – and win – to represent Cartridge World with Boston’s The Castle Group. My favorite though was on this recent trip to Europe. Uwe Schmidt of Industrie-Contact in Germany took me on a personal tour of the Reichstag in Berlin (his business partner is in the Parliament) and then opened his home to my partner and me so we could share a homemade cake with his wife and sons.

Now that’s global – gone local. And let me tell you, that cake was delicious!

Email me your thoughts, please: [email protected]

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8 Comments

  1. Jordana Reply

    David, thanks for sharing. It sounds like when you’ve got PRGN on your side, global PR is local PR! –Jordana

  2. Elizabeth Reply

    Such a good analysis of PRGN could only be done by a global thinker !

  3. Anne Buchanan Reply

    Couldn’t agree with you more, David.

    As we help our clients navigate this increasingly global marketplace, the ability to tap locally-knowledgeable and sensitive PR partners becomes increasingly important. I know that I have 40+ friends who stand ready to help our clients in any part of the globe.

    And I also have friends who share “best practices” and trade war stories and key learnings — a benefit of our Network that I cannot put a price on. Running a PR firm is hard work. Knowing I have an extended team around the globe makes it easier for me to do my job well and to serve our clients well.

    Thank you for being part of our extraordinary Network — an organization of outstanding PR partners who also have become some of my closest friends.

    Anne

  4. John Reply

    David,
    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip, with a great group of colleagues. Your experiences demonstrate that, regardless whether PR is thought to be ‘global’ or ‘local’, like any good business, it must be personal to be effective.

  5. Patricia Perez Reply

    You just proved that there is such a thing as globally local. Nice having the capability to do both local and global outreach. Thanks for adding my photo where I’m toasting with PRGN president Francine Robbens. Much appreciated. http://www.vpepr.com

  6. Gisele Lorenzetti Reply

    David,
    What a delight to post (and certainly, cake too)! Congratulations!
    I enjoyed attending my first PRGN’s meeting. I was very impressed with the competence of all those businessmen who were there and, as I mentioned yesterday to our great friend Ze, is a great honor be part of this team!
    Happy Easter to you and to all friends of PRGN!

  7. david Reply

    Patricia – thanks for identifying yourself. We tried to put in a caption but it got convoluted and was un-readable. The other photo is Mark Paterson, PRGN’s President Elect. We’ll figure out the caption thing by the next blog. Thanks again for commenting.

  8. Claudia d'Amato Reply

    David, your post is perfect in translating what we felt at PRGN’s Meeting. Here at LVBA, our Brazilian team is very excited about being a part of PRGN. We truly believe that a strong network of local specialists makes PRGN a strong global player, with a very unique and very human touch.