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Excessive PR focus on global digital media adversely affects brand storytelling

Reprinted from Berkeley 360

From on-demand bite-sized news on your mobile, to the global dominance of a few social networks, the unifying impact of digital technology risks drawing PR attention away from effective storytelling, according to a new report by international PR group, Berkeley 360.

The report, Stories without borders – international PR in an evolving media world, reviews recent research and trends to show how the global media landscape is changing and what this means for international PR. Berkeley360 has published the report to coincide with the UK’s National Export Week 2014.

The findings reveal that while boundaries are disappearing between print and digital media, between online, social and mobile channels, and between brands and their customers, the world remains a culturally, linguistically and geographically heterogeneous place - and brands and PR professionals forget this at their peril.

In-country social media networks can be far better at building and engaging local communities.  Local culture and language mean that localised stories about local firms, tailored to the local news agenda and supported by local spokespeople remain an essential ingredient for successful PR.

Similarly, research shows that over half the world’s population reads a daily newspaper, and trade publications remain the best for influencing senior decision makers.

“We live in a world transformed by technology that has changed forever the way people consume news and engage with brands,” said Chris Hewitt, CEO of Berkeley PR, Berkeley 360’s managing partner. “However, our study also highlights the vital importance of local market landscapes and traditional media. This blended rapidly-evolving world is giving rise to a new set of rules for PR.

“One of these rules is that PR campaigns must think global but act local.  Another one is the need to acknowledge that consumers everywhere want to build genuine relationships with brands.  So don’t just tell them how wonderful you are; tell them a good story and listen to what they have to say.  Your story should be relevant, topical and full of human interest, and strong enough to adapt easily to local market needs and different channels. Thirdly, more than ever PR must establish mutually supportive relationships with the media and with the brands it represents. We are all in this together.”

The whitepaper includes a high level trends overview, a summary of the implications for PR, advice for businesses looking to introduce or expand their international PR activities and a series of informative country media snapshots. Copies of the report can be downloaded free of charge: www.internationalpr.info/stories-without-borders


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