Multinational communications – cross border not cross purposes
Multinational communications represents one of the biggest issues faced by large companies.
- Corporate messaging can become diluted the further it moves from head office
- Different countries may not understand the nuance of the strategy
- A stream of different PR agencies or even in-house professionals can be difficult to manage
- Reporting and approval processes can get muddled, long-winded and inefficient
Our experience of working with companies who work across borders has shown at least six key factors to bear in mind to ensure effective multi-national communications. These factors apply to both internal and external communications.
Six tops for better multinational communications
- The central communications strategy and key messaging needs to be very clear and direct
- Local, plant- or office-level communications have to be in the local language, so the company’s proposition must not allow ambiguity and should translate easily into all the different languages required
- For internal corporate and customer communications, a common language should be the starting point. We recommend working with a common copywriter or integrated team to ensure that all nations’ contributions are prepared to the same style and with a view to objectives. This core copy can then be translated locally if necessary.
- Hold regular meetings (conference calls, videos are fine) with your communications network representatives. These should be places in which everyone shares opportunities and ideas and is encouraged to raise issues with colleagues – what works, what is harder for them
- You need a fine ear to national difference, especially when priorities may be different. For example, operations in one country may need to address a particular market opportunity not applicable elsewhere, while another nation may find it hard to recruit the levels of staff they need. Your campaign goals must reflect this diversity
- External relations and placement of stories is best handled by specialists in each country, who understand the differing needs of their own mainstream, digital and social media.
When we work with multinationals, we provide a coordination service to bring all this together, without hindering the work of the client’s local PR agencies and in-house communications teams.
- Agency oversight – we chair agency meetings, vet all stories to ensure message alignment, smooth the core English versions of each story so they can be shared around the company, provide a sounding board for agency questions they don’t want to ask the client directly
- Media report collation and analysis – we draw together the individual coverage reports and analysis from each agency to provide a single summary report for company headquarters
- Story Pool – we craft and distribute centrally generated stories to the agencies and in-house PR network
- Internal copywriting – we write the core English versions of all internal communications, newsletters, announcements and speeches
- PR support desk – we provide PR advice for local in-house communicators (this is particularly useful when these people are not PR professionals)
If your international communications are getting out of hand, we’ll simplify and professionalise your processes and provide great content so everyone can work more effectively. Contact us for an informal discussion about your needs.