During Ragan’s Communications Week conference last week, leaders from global PR and communication network IPREX offered a State of Global Marketing and Communications panel that examined trends and issues that PR and comms pros are facing around the world. Here’s a summary overview of some of the key takeaways from the firm’s presentation.
The panelists for the event were:
- Julie Russo Exner, Senior Vice President, Fahlgren Mortine, Columbus, Ohio, USA
- Harri Kammonen, Owner, PR Agency Manifesto, Helsinki, Finland
- Horacio Loyo Gris, Partner/Director and Co-Founder at Dextera Comunicación, Mexico City, Mexico
- Anu Gupta, Director, APRW, Singapore
Stakeholder engagement is an outsize challenge in Asia
This is due to the diversity of the region; it is very fragmented. There are two major superpowers in China and India, with global hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong, and large economies like Japan and Korea for any organization looking at Asia—and there is no one approach that will ever work in each country. Just in India, there are over 200 languages spoken. In Hong Kong, the South China Post has more than 70 nationalities working at the paper.
EMEA is more inclined to do giving and charitable contributions locally vs. regionally
All communications need to be local because of the variety of languages and how media works across the continent—and each culture will have expectations on how media and promotions operate. This differs from the US, where more regional efforts are accepted.
AI is changing the way agencies are handling language translations
In Mexico, every year a significant amount of a communications budget would consist of translation services moving copy back and forth between English and Spanish. Now, it has been almost two years since our partner firm has used a translation agency. They have switched to a translation platform, DeepL, resulting in a savings of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work annually, although they still review the translation before sending it to a client. As a distinction, the agency does not use AI to generate content for clients, only to replace a traditional translation service.
DEI&B programs are prominent in every region; less than 10 percent of respondents do not have a program. However, the issues are different within world regions.
In Mexico, diversit6y, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) has more to do with gender and sexual identities than it does with race. Mexican companies are not as proactive in communicating their policies, even though they have them.
In Singapore, the focus is on diversity, inclusiveness, and equality—it is an extremely diverse country. People move there from all over the world, and children see that as they grow up; even people raised in Singapore have different races. As a multiracial society, diversity is invited into the organization. Singapore coexists as a society, celebrating all kinds of festivals, respecting cultural attire at work. That’s the most important part of DEI: not so much gender and sex, more that each race is given equal respect.
In Northern Europe, DEI is more about gender and age. The youth are a global generation with media access, they have global values about gender, age and opportunities, and are challenging older generations with these values. Ethnicity and race are important in a lot of countries in Europe as immigration is growing.
Programs and KPIs do not translate across countries—everything must be customized
KPIs are often set in corporate headquarters far from the regions where the programs will be implemented, and smaller countries are often given KPIs that are a better fit for larger countries. Clients also ask to duplicate a program that worked in one country in another, not understanding it may not apply. Saying “just do the same thing in the next country” is bound to have less fruitful results.