Saturday, April 7, 2012

GlobalMedia: International Advertising & PR (U6-P1)

Advertising and public relations are playing an increasing role in international communication.  They've certainly gone global.

Let's start with some basic dictionary definitions.

Advertising: “The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media” (The American Heritage Dictionary).

Public Relations (P.R.): “The methods and activities employed to establish and promote a favorable relationship with the public” (The American Heritage Dictionary).

The basic dictionary definitions need a little modifying.
  • Add to the advertising definition the key purpose of advertising: to persuade people to purchase.  "Attraction public attention" is a good first step, but not the ultimate goal.
  • Add to the P.R. definition the idea of establishing, promoting and maintaining a relationship.  Secondly, add an "s" to the end of public.  What are the key publics that a company needs to have a good relationship with?  Externally: the government/law makers, other companies, customers, the media, etc. Internally: investors, employees, etc.
If you are curious, checkout some more online definitions of advertising and public relations.

With some basics out of the way, let's go global with advertising and P.R.

In his book, Global Communication: Theories, Stakeholders, and Trends, Thomas McPhail offers three key reasons why there has been a growth in international advertising and P.R.  Why has advertising and public relations gone global?

"1. Corporations themselves are going increasingly global and taking their advertising agencies with them.  This includes communication corporations as well as other sectors such as transportation, food, beverages, natural resources, credit cards, etc.
2. As multimedia outlets -- from privatized radio and television networks in Europe to new media and print outlets in Latin America -- expand, they require successful advertising campaigns in order to generate the revenues and attract new customers necessary to succeed as viable commercial enterprises.
3. The growth of satellite-delivered broadcasting channels, along with a rapid expansion of cable systems and networks, have in turn generated demand for increased use of advertising agencies in order to develop a sufficient customer base for either the new services themselves, or the problems they advertise."

Note that the first reason focuses on general companies, the second reason focuses on media companies that provide content and the third reason focuses on the media hardware companies.

In their book, Global Journalism: Topical Issues and Media Systems (4th Edition), de Beer and Merrill offer their own explanation for the expansion of international advertising and public relations.

Why the expansion?

  • Financial businesses, etc.
    • Economically connected
    • In short, business is global
  • Issues management & crisis management
    • Crises spread quickly on the ‘Net nowadays.
    • Some crises, like environmental and financial crises, easily cross borders.
    • In short, many issues/crises are global

In short, P.R. and advertising have to go global.

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