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.