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Global communications

Page history last edited by Richard Bailey 12 years, 8 months ago

Leeds Metropolitan University, Friday 4 November 2011


Who are we?


What does a search for Richard Bailey PR reveal?


What about Josie Latham?


What can I learn about you?


Introductory example


The Best Job in the World [video]


What problems do international communicators face?


  • Timezones
  • Culture
  • Language 
  • Technology
  • What else? 


Has the 'global village' come about yet? 


‘Communication technology has compressed time and space to such an extent that Marshall McLuhan’s “Global Village” is an incontestable reality in its technological sense’ (Kruckeberg 2000 p145)


What's changing?


Do you agree with Sir Martin Sorrell: Six factors behind the Remarkable Renaissance of PR?


  • First, the growth of social media, a natural territory for Public Relations
  • Second, the unstoppable rise of China, India and other nations
  • Third, the need for internal communications in changing companies
  • Fourth, the lack of public trust in companies and government
  • Fifth, the increasing ability to assess data and measure performance
  • Sixth, the rising cost of television advertising


An ideas-based narrative


The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999/2009)



Page xiv

1. Markets are conversations

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.

Page xvi

26.  Public relations does not relate to the public. Companies are deeply afraid of their markets.

39. The community of discourse is the market.

Page xix

74. We are immune to advertising. Just forget it.


Revised view

  • Markets are conversations
  • Markets are also transactions
  • Markets are also relationships

(2009 p9-22)



We were 'basically right, but not entirely. Beyond the triumphalist overstatements (Thesis 74: "We are immune to advertising. Just forget it."), which at least had a rhetorical purpose, we were wrong about how long it was going to take to throw the rascal out.'

(2009 p 54)


The original text

'So, if markets are conversations (they are) and there's no market for messages (there isn't), what's marketing-as-usual to do? Own the conversations? Keep the conversations on message? Turn up the volume until it drowns out the market? Compete with the new conversations?'

(2009 p159)


'So what becomes of marketing? How do companies enter into the global conversation? How do they find their own voice? Can they? How do they wean themselves from messaging? What happens to 


  • PR
  • advertising
  • marketing communications
  • pricing
  • positioning

...and the rest of the marketing arsenal?

Excellent questions.'

(2009 p160)


On public relations

 'Everyone - including many PR people - senses that something is deeply phony about the profession. And it's not hard to see what it is. Take the standard computer-industry press release. With few exceptions, it describes an "announcement" that was not made, for a product that was not available, quoting people who never said anything, for distribution to a list of people who mostly consider it trash.'

(2009 p160)


'But, of course, the best PR people are not PR Types at all. They understand that they aren't censors, they're the company's best conversationalists. Their job - their craft - is to discern stories the market actually wants to hear, to help journalists write stories that tell the truth, to bring people into conversation rather than protect them from it. Indeed, already some companies are building sites that give journalists comprehensive, unfiltered information about the industry, including unedited material from their competitors. In the age of the Web where hype blows up in your face and spin gets taken as an insult, the real work of PR will be more important than ever.'

(2009 p162)


Crowd Surfing (2008)

'We are not 'open source' evangelists, who argue that the only way to work is by collaborating with the crowd, nor do we believe that all communication has to involve an open dialogue. All of the evidence indicates that collaborative business cultures are likely to be more successful, and that dialogue tends to be more effective than monologue, but the reality of running a business or political party is that you can't always surf the crowd. Equally, the success of Apple, under the self-proclaimed control freak Steve Jobs, provides us with a cautionary tale of how ignoring demands for open and sustained dialogue does not necessarily damage a business's performance.'

(2008 p7)


'It sounds so deceptively simple - 'be interesting' - but these two words should be adopted as a mantra by every wannabe crowd surfer. As with interesting people, interesting companies are the ones that are admired and talked about. Interesting companies have opinions and are not afraid to voice them.'

(2008 p 150)


'Interesting businesses such as Unilever, Innocent, IKEA, 42 Below and JetBlue keep the crowd engaged and involved by always being interesting.. and benefiting from a virtuous circle in which the more interesting they become, the more likely they are to attract interesting people with interesting ideas, to recruit the most interesting employees, to be written about in the most interesting media and talked about on the most interesting blogs. They save millions of pounds on advertising because they can rely on positive world of mouth to maintain their profile. Now that's interesting.'

(2008 p 151)


The New Rules of Marketing and PR


The Old Rules of PR


  • 'The only way to get ink and airtime was through the media
  • Companies communicated to journalists via press releases
  • Nobody saw the actual press release except a handful of reporters and editors
  • Companies had to have significant news before they were allowed to write a press release
  • Jargon was okay because the journalists all understood it
  • You weren't supposed  to send a release unless it included quotes from third parties, such as customers, analysts, and experts
  • The only way buyers would learn about the press release's content was if the media wrote a story about it
  • The only way to measure the effectiveness of press releases was through "clip books," which noted each time the media deigned to pick up a company's release
  • PR and marketing were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies and measurement techniques


None of this is true anymore. The Web has transformed the rules, and you must transform your PR strategies to make the most of the Web-enabled marketplace of ideas.'


Scott, DM (2010: 11-12)


The New Rules of Marketing and PR


  • 'Marketing is more than just advertising.
  • PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.
  • You are what you publish.
  • People want authenticity, not spin.
  • People want participation, not propaganda.
  • Instead of causing one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.
  • Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the Web 
  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It's about your buyers seeing your company on the Web.
  • Marketing is not about your agency winning awards. It's about your organization winning business.
  • The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on the media.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.
  • Blogs, online video, e-books, news releases, and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
  • On the Web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred.'


 Scott, DM (2010: 23-24)





  • What do we mean by content?
  • What types of content can comms / PR / marketing create?


'If we accept that markets are conversations, that successful organizations cannot perform effectively unless they enter into dialogue with a range of stakeholders, then it follows inexorably that organizations must be aware of and engage with as nearly a full range of communication channels and platforms as possible.


'This doesn't mean all organizations must utilize all channels (far from it), but it is vital that they are sufficiently aware of these channels and platforms and that they identify which are most appropriate for communication with their particular stakeholders.'
Phillips and Young 2009: 237


'Search is the dominant force on the web and content that ranks highly in a Google search is de facto going to have more hits, more impact and more value... PR practitioners therefore must take account of this and consider how they use digital PR to support good search rankings. PR activity is creating content that is of increasing relevance to the way that search engines work.' 
Brown 2009: 53 


'Two students from Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a search engine technique based on mathematical algorithms that measured links from one website to another. This was the basis of Google, the search engine they launched in 1998. The search engine optmization business started to find ways to manipulate this new form of search. In short, they found ways of creating spurious links to the sites that they wanted to promote using devices such as link farms, which involved the creation of thousands of websites whose only function was to provide links to the original site to improve its page rank' 
Brown 2009: 54


'Natural search is a description of the process of searching that produces results based on their actual relevance rather than because their ranking has been boosted by paid-for search search engine optimization techniques.'
Brown 2009: 55 


'As a content creator, your best SEO techniques are (1) to write information-rich copy that people will want to read and link to and (2) to figure out which words people are likely to use in searches, and them embed those keywords throughout your copy.'
Barr et al 2010: 394 




  • People can have conversations. Can organisations?
  • Who speaks for the organisation in the age of the social web?
  • Who controls the conversation, and how? 
  • Where should the conversation take place? 




  • Does time spent with media break down human interactions and destroy a sense of community?
  • These concerns have escalated with the rise of the internet (see eg Sherry Turkle, Nicholas CarrEvgeny Morozov)
  • Optimists v pessimists v realists


On utopians, dystopians and realists

'If we cannot choose among these three attitudes based solely on facts, then how do we choose? I suggest that we pick the one with the best outcome. On those grounds, dystopianism is out of luck. It's fear based and depressing. How are you going to run a business with Eeyore and Chicken Little as your role models? That leaves utopianism and realism.


'Realism has the better name. It sounds like it has to be more in touch with reality. But what realist would have thought that Wikipedia was worth the time or investment? What realist would have said, "Yeah, getting a disorganized mob to build an operating system to compete with Microsoft is a terrifically practical idea"? What realist would have said in 1992, "I've seen Tim Berners-Lee's plan for a worldwide Web, and, realistically, in ten years there will be a billion people on it and hundreds of billions of pages"? A premature realism would have killed the Web. Who knows what earth-shaking ideas are right now being laughed off the Net by confident realists? Realism just isn't ambitious enough.


'And for exactly the same reasons, utopianism is the Net's ally. Realists are right more often than utopians are, because most ideas are bad. But without utopianism, the ideas that are so good that they change the world would never get the air they need. Utopians have made more of the Internet than an reasonable person could have expected. Utopians rule.'


Weinberger in Levine et al 2009: 65



  • Western societies in particular are moving towards individualization, but the internet encourages collective individualism (Macnamara 2010).
  • Technological determinism (claims that technology determines society) versus social constructionism (society determines how we use technology)


Social media has always existed

'Traditionally people made their own culture in tribes and villages and local communities.  However, in the 19th and 20th centuries cultural production was taken over by what Frankfurt School scholars termed the "culture industry"... During the 20th century in particular, these industries came to be dominated by mass media such as major Hollywood film studios, newspaper empires, and major global TV networks... Emergent internet media give people a way back to culture making.' Macnamara 2010: 138


'Emergent media and public communication practices also provide spaces for community building.' Macnamara 2010: 153


Social media developments


Social media for cult brands: Manchester United

About Sapient Nitro [video]



Text 100: Exploring social media - globally! [video]







Cambie, S and Ooi, Y-M (2009) International Communications Strategy: Developments in cross-cultural communications, PR and social media, Kogan Page

Locke, C, Levine, R, Searls, D and Weinberger, D (2009) The Cluetrain Manifesto: tenth anniversary edition, Basic Books

Macnamara, J (2010) The 21st Century Media (R)EVOLUTION: Emergent Communication Practices, Peter Lang

Meerman Scott, D (2010) The New Rules of Marketing and PR (2nd edition) Wiley

Paine, K (2011) Measure What Matters, Wiley 

Phillips, D and Young, P (2009) Online Public Relations: a practical guide to developing an online strategy in the world of social media, Kogan Page

Shedrake, P (2011) The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age, Wiley

Shirky, C (2008) Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations, Allen Lane

Solis, B (2010) Engage, Wiley

Solis, B and Breakenridge, D (2009) Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR, FT Prentice Hall

Thomas, M and Brain, D (2008) Crowd Surfing: Suriving and thriving in the age of consumer empowerment, A & C Black





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