Globalisation of Public Relations

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Public Relations is an industry that is constantly changing and expanding. It is an industry that has a lack of core structure due to the fact that it’s still considered a very localised practice. However, with the introduction of Web 2.0, subsequent social media platforms and its new publics, public relations has recently undergone a significant change in the way it operates. This change has resulted in the industry coming together to swap and exchange information to further evolve its practices to cater to the needs of the new generation of publics. The way this information is exchanged is also changing the way practitioners are communicating, essentially creating a structure to globalise the industry.

With the introduction of Web 2.0 and it’s corresponding flow of information to and from citizens all over the world, Public Relations suddenly had a new platform and subsequently new publics to take into consideration. Creedon and Al-Khaja, two PR practitioners comment on some of the effects globalisation had on the industry:

‘Globalisation coupled with advanced telecommunications technology has broadened the scope of news thereby increasing the need of viewers to cope with more concepts, issues, names, places and processes well beyond those traditionally presented in the national or local context,’ (Creedon & Al-Khaja, 2005)

Practitioners suddenly had the challenge and responsibility to take these new culturally diverse publics into account, creating a need to update and globalise the industry to make it relevant to today’s societies. This introduced an unquestionable need to fully understand and adapt to different cultures to improve skills and the public relations industry as a whole, a factor that will ultimately help the industry become more globalised (Gallagher, 2012). With this huge selection of publics, there were many potential problems the industry faced such as a range of diverse opinions and the potential of cross-cultural differences between publics (Valin, Gregory & Likely, 2014). Another factor to keep public relations globalized and consistently in tune with publics, was the realisation that the industry needed a solid structure to refer to and therefore reinforce cultural understanding to better the industry and create unity within all facets of Public Relations across a global scale. John Paulszek discusses the impact of Global Public Relations in this video and how it can help to bridge the cultural divide through the sharing and passing on of different information within the industry:

 

 

Another factor that can help globalise the industry is the creation of a global talent pool (Diamond, 2006). The introduction of certain activities and events such as worldwide conferences, either in a major city or across a technological platform such as Skype could be used to train and inform other members within the industry of methods and ideas that could potentially be utilized to evolve the public relations sector. Another contributing factor that would determine effective globalisation is the introduction of more culturally diverse literature when training future practitioners, due to the fact that a majority of Public Relations literature and information is westernised which can hinder practitioners and create bias within their companies, and subsequent campaigns (Sriramesh, 2008). There is also a need to create more effective representation from public relations firms as only half the word has adequate representation from major international public relations firm, which indicates there is still a long way to go in terms of globalization (Sriramesh, 2009).

Certain social platforms introduced by Web 2.0 can help implement all of these factors and potential activities through the ability to instantly communicate. This consistent communication through social media platforms such as Facebook is essential in creating an effective global structure to the industry as it helps practitioners keep up to date on techniques and innovations that can contribute to the effective globalisation of the industry (Lanre o, 2007). This ability to instantly communicate can only help evolve the industry and help it to become not only more culturally diverse but in tune with the world in an effortless and more convenient manner

In this video, Harold Burson and Mark Penn, two leading practitioners within the industry talk about the future of public relations, particularly on how instant communication is vital to keep the industry evolving and satisfy the growing number of publics due to globalisation

With the introduction of Web 2.0 and social media platforms, public relations has faced lots of challenges to evolve the industry on a global scale. With the suggestion of certain factors and activities and implementing these to the industry regardless of location, public relations has a chance at becoming an effective globalised practice. With constant communication between different national and international firms and the willingness to readily contribute only then can public relations have an innovative and lasting impact on globalisation.

 

References:
Burson Marsteller (2007, October 19). The Future of Public Relations [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjuO53VwRPU
Creedon, P & Al-khaja, M. (2005). Public Relations and Globalization: Building a Case for Cultural Competency in Public Relations Eduation. Public Relations Review, 31(1), 344-354.
Diamond, H. (2006, 13th November). The Globalization of PR: Myth or Reality?. [Weblog]. Retrieved 20 March 2016, from http://www.globalbydesign.com/2006/11/13/the-globalization-of-pr-myth-or-reality/
Flew, T. (2011). New Media: An Introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
Gallagher, D. (2012, July 30th). Is PR A Globalized Business?. [Weblog]. Retrieved 20 March 2016, from http://blog.ketchum.com/is-pr-a-globalized-business/
Lanre o, A. (2007). Globalization: The Challenges of Public Relations in a Contracting World. International Journal of Communication, 6(1), 175-183.
PR Society of America (2010, December 6). John Paluszek on Global Public Relations [Video File]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rYWv8W2BeY
Sriramesh, K. (2008). Globalization and Public Relations. Public Relations Research, 5(1), 409-425.
Sriramesh, K. (2009). Globalisation and public relations: An overview looking into the future. PRism, 6(2), 1-11.
Sriramesh, K & Verčič, D. (2007). The Impact of Globalization on Public Relations. Public Relations Review, 33(1), 355-359.
Valin, J, Gregory, A & Likely, F. (2014). The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management: Origins, influences, issues and prospects. Public Relations Review, 40(1), 639-653.
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Public Relations & Participatory Culture: The People’s Revolution

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Participatory culture and citizen audiences are only furthering the Public Relations Industry by refining messages and furthering campaigns due to the fact that there is now instant communication toward targeted audiences. The introduction of Web 2.0 created a new medium to receive instant feedback and therefore to produce and refine campaigns depending on the target publics’ needs. While this idea of instant feedback can be daunting toward some practitioners, in truth it can only be seen as a positive as it creates further opportunities for higher quality work and expectations.

The introduction of Web 2.0 has revolutionised Public Relations, resulting in positive changes for the industry as a whole. Before the introduction of Web 2.0, the Internet was a one-way system designed to simply broadcast information with little to no feedback (Kelleher, 2009). Web 2.0 is defined by Terry Flew as a movement in Internet software that developed from content based, limited connectability and interactivity to a platform that involves participation and collaboration among internet users to generate content with instant feedback. This results in limited control and a greater platform for users to express themselves (Flew, 2011, pg. 35). With this revolution came a new approach to Public Relations, with practitioners having to use other channels that were previously limited in Web 1.0 to gain feedback. Another factor that has further revolutionised Public Relations is Participatory Culture, which is defined by Henry Jenkins as,

“a culture with relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).” (Jenkins, 2006, pg.3).

Participatory culture plays a huge part in the new format of the Public Relations Industry, with this phenomenon creating a new, innovative approach to the industry as a whole. Before it’s introduction, practitioners were in danger of becoming too reliant and stuck in old habits that were damaging to the industry, as there was no reliable, instant feedback regarding the needs of the target publics, only educated assumptions (Johnson, 2014). Tom Kelleher, a leading scholar in the field of Public Relations highlights the value of Web 2.0 and Participatory Culture by arguing that the introduction of Participatory Media only improves the relationship between publics and organisations by strengthening four core foundations in the industry; trust, satisfaction, commitment, and control mutuality (Kelleher, 2009, pg. 173). In this video, Kelleher goes into more detail in an interview with the Oxford University, highlighting how important Participatory Culture and Web 2.0 are:


While Web 2.0 can be seen as a positive for up and coming public relations practitioners, it must be noted as highlighted by Tom Kelleher in the previous video, that there are still skills and knowledge needed to really enhance the PR industry (Kelleher, 2009). While the publics may be getting on board with input and ideas, to be a successful practitioner in the digital age, targeted PR knowledge as well as digital skill is needed to really create and become a successful practitioner (Breakenridge & Solis, 2009). With all of these elements, practitioners become skilled in the language of Participatory Media and culture, being able to fully immerse themselves in the digital age and use this instant feedback to their advantage. All of these aspects only build more successful practitioners and therefore campaigns that are now becoming more and more specific due to the nature of Participatory culture. The idea of a ‘trust revolution’ is created and creates a more exciting and fulfilling situation for target publics as well as practitioners, as highlighted in this video by Publically Related, an online industry media tool that helps develop future practitioners hoping to break into the industry:


There is no question that Participatory Culture and the introduction of Web 2.0 has greatly improved the Public Relations industry but increasing interactivity with target publics, as well as improving campaigns due to instant feedback and connectivity. While the introduction of media and these new platforms may intimidate some practitioners, it is only proven to help and refine campaigns and tactics, resulting in more knowledgeable and skilful practitioners for the industries future, making it an exciting time to be involved in the Public Relations Industry.

 

 

References:

Breakenridge, D. & Solis, B. (2009) Putting the Public Back into Public Relations. New Jersey: Pearson Education

Bree Goldstein (2013, April 12). Social Media Public Relations: Publically Related[Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMS5Iu0psDY

Flew, T. (2011). New Media: An Introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press

Jenkins, H. (2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, The MacArthur Foundation, Accessed 01/03/2016 from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED536086.pdf

Johnson, J. & Sheehan, M. (2014). Public Relations: Theory and Practice, 4th ed. New South Wales: Allen & Unwin

Kelleher, T. (2009) Conversational Voice, Communicated Commitment, and Public Relations Outcomes in Interactive Online Communication. Journal of Communication, 59, pp. 172-188.

Oxford Academic (2015, November 5). Tom Kelleher discusses the future of Public Relations [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbOYDvG3MmI