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Does Global PR dominate the world?

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Good PR is always context and culture specific. The idea of a global PR is anathema.

I started off believing that actually, global PR is not culture specific, and does not have the cultural sensitive aspects that a local PR company would, when say dealing with a campaign targeting a small audience.

The moto is, think local act Global. All PR should read local in order to connect with the specific audience. But what about when recruiting for a new audience? Or, gaining widely sought publicity for a cause considered “local”?

The debates on this team argued whether Global PR is just an anathema and that all pr should be cultural specific.
In the debate, Viola and Filippo argued for Global PR, highlighting the way certain aspects of the global pr practices can be introduced to local pr, to gain a wider audience. Sarah and Stephanie argued that cultural specific PR should always be practised as it mirrors certain aspects of the stakeholders’ interests and views thus not overwhelming them with unfamiliar messages.
In the end both teams agreed that a combination of the two practises should be used.

Hill & Knowlton dominating the world with Global PR

Leaders in the Gloabl PR game, Hill and Knowlton have 43 offices in 79 countries, and over 50 associated offices worldwide. However when scrutinised, it is evident to see that the dominating countries are that of which H& K are able to practise PR in a ‘western’ environment. There are 52 H&K Offices in Europe, United States and Canada combined and 14 associates. In the rest of the world there are 27 H & K offices, and 35 associates. So it goes without saying that however locally H&K act in countries where their brand is not familiar, they cannot act locally without the assistance of an associate company.

In Grunig’s recent article on the paradigms of Global public Relations in a age of digitisation, he attempts to make this point highlighting his four models of public relations: ‘our global theory is a normative theory that argues that public relations will be most effective throughout most parts of the world when it follows the generic principles and applies them with appropriate variations for local cultural, political, social, and economic conditions. Its absence in a country, however, does not serve as evidence that it could not be practiced there.’ Before this, Grunig also highlights that the most used of his models, worldwide, is the least effective: the press agentry model. Perhaps some countries are not responsive to what Grunig would call the Press agentry model, because they’ve been exposed to it far too much, and audiences in these countries are searching for a more interactive PR strategy – that they can respond to?

Google blames China for blocking searches

For example, let’s take China – a country the debate team also used to exemplify politics vs PR. China’s political circumstances are such that the internet and interactive PR has becomes virtually redundant. The China vs Google war continues, and only yesterday (30th march) The Guardian reported that Google’s searches were being blocked by China’s “great firewall”, so how can a country with restrictions of what some people would even argue as being a basic need in the contemporary life be responsive to global pr strategies when they can’t even access the internet?

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The Venus vs Mars PR Quandry…

Will there always be more male managers than female in the PR Industry?

So the mission for this debate was “Women will always work in PR but never run it”.

Perhaps one of the most heated and passionate debates so far… I was against the mission. Why?

Luisa’s group argued that women will never be able to run PR, due to the primary role of a woman in culture and the constraints of society.

 A recent article Grunig wrote in relation to Public relations and the paradigms of PR (I also made reference to this in my previous post), stresses the effectiveness of diversity in the PR industry, “effective organisations tend to increase the diversity in the public relations function when the diversity in their environment increases…’ However Grunig makes a point – the diversity increases only when the diversity of their environment has.

Relating this back to the motion, that ‘women will only work in PR but never run it’, is this purely dependant on the reflection of society and other industries being led by women?

Leading the way for the ladies. Lorraine Heggessey, CEO of Talkback Thames

For example – Leading Independent production company, Talkback Thames is headed by Lorraine Heggessey who also used to be Controller of BBC. The head of communications at Talkback Thames is Mary O’Reilly. In fact Talkback Thames’ whole inhouse publicity team is made up of women. So what does this say about the broadcast industry? What must also be factored is the content produced by Talkback Thames. Reality television such as Britains Got Talent and The X-factor, tends to be more of a human interest viewing, usually associated with a female audience.

So is it fair to say that women in Entertainment PR will dominate the industry because they can relate to their target audience? Perhaps this is the case but then will men run other PR sectors?

Either way, yes, women will always work in PR, as will men. And surely, gender issues aside, the main point should be that either man or woman should be equally fit  to perform the tasks. If they can relate to an audience and are delivering effective PR campaigns, then honestly – what does it matter. Can’t society be content with equality based on performance rather than equality for equalities sake?