Recently, I was lucky enough to be speaker at The PRCA’s first international event, entitled “PR and Communications in a Shrinking World – How to Make Best Practice Work Across Borders.” This one-day conference focused on topics relevant to communicators in the increasingly-globalized business environment, with discussions on diversity, cross-cultural communications, and, of course, Brexit.
My panel, “Going Global,” had myself and several other international agency executives sharing our personal experiences and advice on how to successfully work on international business. When asked for the secret to running global campaigns, it occurred to me that, while it’s very easy to focus on what makes communications around the world different, the real trick is to focus on what makes us the same.
Yes. There are cultural nuances you have to respect, the media works in very different ways, budgets fluctuate significantly, there are varying time zones and languages to navigate, but there are also people. And people are really far more similar than they are different. Also, people are what take a campaign from OK to awesome.
That’s why, when working with an international company, you need to focus on getting the right people on board. The key qualities I look for in a candidate are those that make us most human, such as an innate level of kindness and consideration that will make them a good team player as well as a genuine love for the work, the client and for doing an incredible job. A great sense of humor is also very important, because, while working on global campaigns can be a ton of fun and very exciting, it can also be one of the toughest jobs in an agency. When you have to go straight into a series of media briefings with a demanding CEO after an 8 hour flight next to a screaming child, it’s easy to forget that you’re meant to be enjoying it.
But if you pick people who understand what an incredible opportunity it is to be part of a global team, you’ll find they get over those tough times much quicker. It’s very hard to retrofit that kind of global outlook, so, at Clarity, we invest in bringing in people who are naturally curious about the wider world around them. We look for people who travel, speak languages, have studied or lived in other countries or who have family around the world. Even an interest in global food is a bonus! Global isn’t a set of offices, it’s a state of mind. Global comms doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right team, the campaign will look after itself.