Landing a new job that requires you to be responsible for the domestic PR for an international brand can be a little daunting. The expectation is you are a specialist in whatever sector that brand resides in (or soon will be) plus, you need to live and breathe that brand so it is represented appropriately and effectively in your market.
It doesn't matter whether you are the most junior or senior member of the team, that can be a hefty weight to carry on your shoulders.
So, how do you start making a name for yourself and your brand, in your market?
Build allies within the company
You need to bring yourself up to speed on the inner workings of the brand, pronto. The quicker you do this, the quicker you will be able to start making positive differences.
If you have some colleagues within the PR team who have been there for a while, they'll be a great resource for you. But, don't stop there.
Identify other departments you are likely to work closely with and put some time into getting to know the key people within those teams. If you will be working collaboratively with them, it's really important you understand the challenges they face plus how you can be of benefit to each other.
Whoever you speak to, make sure you dig a little deeper and find out what challenges the company has faced in previous years as well as the major wins they've achieved. That intel may impact how you frame your recommendations for future strategies or tactics.
Understand what the nuances of the company are, when it comes to communication. Are there certain words or phrases that cannot be associated with the brand? Is there something in particular the CEO really loves to see when it comes to coverage? Or perhaps something they can't stand?
I've worked in a company where we all had to use the exact same font and font size in emails (unbeknownst to me). It did not go down well on Day 1 when I changed all my settings to my favourite font! So, spend time asking about the little things that are important to the company and how it is represented.
Once you have built trust and rapport with other local internal stakeholders, they'll be there to support you when you need. And this, you will come to find, is one of most important assets you can arm yourself with.
Make a name for yourself among media
Your predecessor or manager may send an introduction email out to the brand's key media contacts to let them know you've joined the team.
If not, do this yourself. Identify the key media you expect to liaise with regularly and introduce yourself to them. Let them know what you will be responsible for in regards to the brand and how they can reach you if they need to get in touch. If you are part of a broader team working on the brand, provide some context on how you fit into the team.
By reaching out proactively to media when you start working with the brand, they'll have some recognition of who you are when you do pitch something their way. Which may give you the little edge you need to get that pitch read...
Consume the coverage
Review the brand media coverage secured over the past few years. It is important to understand which media outlets and journalists have written about the brand recently so you're not pitching something they may have covered already. Plus, you can start to identify where opportunities lie.
It also gives you the chance to find out which publications are a fan of the brand and which are not. There may be some journalists you need to spend some time converting to allies and others you need to acknowledge are long-time supporters.
Balance global brand goals with domestic objectives
Your PR strategies need to be developed around the broader global goals but they still need to be reflective of the local market focuses. And, what your market is focused on could be quite different to another territory.
You are the local PR expert for the brand so you should have a good pulse on what works and won't work in your market, and how an objective or tactic could be adapted to achieve the desired results. You also know how the media respond to your brand in your market so are best placed to comment on the success of a campaign.
If you know a global directive won't translate well in your market, provide context as to why that is the case and present alternative solutions. This is where having internal brand allies can help you. If you have their support when making a suggestion that may rock the boat, you'll have more chance in getting something over the line.
Also, don't be afraid to chat to your counterparts in other markets as they may have some great ideas which could translate well in your region. Just keep in mind you may need to tweak them for your market.
Want to learn more about managing the domestic PR for an international brand? Listen to our podcast interview with Julie Jarratt, Communications Director for Cathay Pacific Airways in the Americas. Julie has been the domestic PR representative for Cathay for almost a decade and has some fantastic insight into how you can approach the transition into this role, some of which has been integrated into the above blog.
You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast player, just search "The PR Pod".
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Loved this episode? Want to learn more about working in PR? Take a listen to some of our other podcasts here.