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How to leverage local PR tactics for global impact

by | Jun 6, 2024 | Public Relations

PR strategies are ever-changing and constantly required to adjust to the latest local insights and cultural sensitivities. This forces PR professionals to stay flexible and conduct constant research to stay ahead of the curve. Building winning global campaigns has become an art form—perfectly blending local tastes with worldwide trends. 

Hence, we intended this guide as a means to zero in on how local PR tactics can be applied to campaigns to create a global impact. It will explore how connections can be made with a diverse, global audience to how PR strategies can integrate localized storytelling and cultural nuances for a wider reach.  

Local PR vs. global PR

Local PR focuses on implementing public relations on a smaller, usually regional scale to target a specific audience. 

This involves building a strong reputation within a certain community by launching targeted marketing campaigns that are perfectly designed for a particular group (i.e., a city or province). This can also include activities such as sponsoring a small business or promoting local events and community-led programs. 

On the other hand, global PR strategies work on an international scale and involve creating robust strategies that apply to a wide range of people across global markets. 

This type of strategy is important for larger organizations that need to increase brand awareness, sales, and trust among consumers. Upon establishing precise goals and an outline of the strategy, any global PR effort can be easily tweaked for different regions and countries without deviating from the key messaging. 

Local PR fundamentals

Although local PR strategies can vary in complexity, most will likely follow a similar format that incorporates three standard activities to gain regional exposure

  • Establishing a local angle: Getting to know the ins and outs of the local market. What do businesses need? What kind of message do they want to convey to the public? What’s preventing them from doing so? 
  • Attending local events: While knowledge gained from observing is undeniably useful, the key to successful local PR campaigns is embedding oneself in the scene. Just like everywhere, a bit of networking goes a long way. 
  • Building a brand image: Once you have all the info and connections, it’s time to apply that information, convert it to tangible data and implement necessary changes to the brand as a whole. 

Most of the time, unfortunately, PR experts and companies don’t seem to want to know their target audience, which is one of the cardinal sins of PR. The effort is certainly cumbersome, but it saves immense time and provides flexibility in decision-making in the long run. 

Combining local PR and global PR

Combining local PR and global PR successfully is no easy task but with careful planning, a solid foundation, and a strong network it is possible to achieve amazing results. Let’s consider the key steps in working towards a global PR strategy.

1. Connect with local media

Small-to-medium-sized businesses will have an obvious focus on local PR as budgets are likely unable to stretch to a full-fledged global campaign. However, specific locales can often be more difficult to target, hence the need for a higher degree of precision in campaign planning. 

For bigger, more established businesses, taking things to the next level can help achieve significant growth and increase profits but it is never a good idea to run before you can walk. By starting small and launching a series of successful local campaigns, businesses can build strong foundations that can be applied to future PR campaigns that are on a much bigger scale.

2. Approach trade outlets and regional partners

Local PR campaigns can be elevated by targeting regional media outlets and relevant trade publications to increase brand awareness across a wider geographical location. Going beyond just the local newspaper or radio station, businesses featured in regional news channels are typically looked upon more favorably by the general public. Plus, this puts employees (especially executives) in the best position to make a direct impact. 

This could involve writing articles for trade publications, regional newspapers, or regional media websites, focusing on specific areas to develop a reputation as a thought leader and reliable source of information. Cementing these building blocks on a regional level will provide the necessary platform for initiating more ambitious PR campaigns in the future. 

Let’s consider a cybersecurity business, for example. This sector focuses on many complex topics that require expert knowledge to create credibility in the field. Instead of writing a standard article on the theoretical ins and outs of page manipulation in modern web apps, consider connecting with a local expert to create a collaborative piece to boost your brand’s authority. 

3. National coverage

The next step is to gain attention on a national scale before committing to a global effort. By establishing a regional reputation, upgrading to national media will be relatively straightforward. Many useful connections will likely have been made at regional media outlets that can help to point you in the right direction.

If the articles created by executives within the company gained a decent amount of traction then these publications could possibly be repurposed and strengthened for a national campaign. 

Think about current market trends and how your brand can fit in with the latest craze. Social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are powerful tools for creating viral PR campaigns, especially if you manage to find relevant influencers and brand advocates who can offer their promotional services. 

A PR strategy that is perhaps underrated, especially in the digital realm, is humanizing mundane processes and thereby controlling the narrative. 

Why just create a quick social media post about your organization implementing Workday staff augmentation or using a new collaboration platform when you can turn it into an effective PR piece? This could involve creating a video review that discusses the pros and cons of using the software to help other businesses within the sector. 

4. Launching a global campaign

For businesses that have never created campaigns beyond a national level, this can be a daunting undertaking that presents significant risk and requires a considerable budget. This is why every factor needs to be considered to ensure the success of the PR strategy. 

  • Conduct country-specific research: Each country has a different cultural, political, and economic landscape that needs to be navigated. This means that every country that your campaign will target needs to be thoroughly researched and analyzed to avoid any negative messaging.
    This is where the experience of creating local PR campaigns can be invaluable, allowing you to tailor campaigns to focus on specific communities that respond to a certain type of messaging. 
  • Use the latest technology: The advent of AI solutions has empowered PR teams by automating basic tasks, streamlining processes, and providing accurate market predictions. Even global organizations are now dependent on data science to get results, and to boost the effectiveness of PR campaigns your business should leverage the power of AI tools
  • Networking: Relationships that have been established at national media outlets can help to point you in the right direction in terms of global PR. Key stakeholders in a specific industry or news organization can help to set up introductory meetings and provide contact details for the global players that can put things in motion. 

Conclusion

The leap from local PR to global PR is big but many of the activities and insights gleaned from running local PR campaigns can be applied on a bigger scale. 

By gradually increasing the size of campaigns, from local, regional, national, and then international, businesses can build a strong network within media circles, form strong collaborations and partnerships, and increase and protect their reputation across various audiences. 

This can make it much easier to transition from a local business to one that garners international recognition. 

Nahla Davies
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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