Chris Harihar July 3, 2012 | 01:22:08
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Reflections On Working With International Clients

In PR, and any business, really, adding a client or two outside of the U.S. underscores your reach as an agency, and, importantly, it can open the door to other potential new business leads.

But first, PR pros must understand that there are legitimate differences involved. Here are tips for working with a company outside of the U.S. to ensure that you manage the account effectively.

What Happens Overseas Doesn’t Stay Overseas

Though PR pros working with international clients are (generally) charged with securing media in the U.S.—this does not mean that your client’s local media won’t impact the work you’re doing in the states. If something is leaked abroad, for instance, in time, it will affect conversations with U.S. media. To get ahead of this, talk to your client early on, during the brand immersion process, to understand their relationship with local outlets (e.g., are they covered often, are they subject to rumors, etc.). This can ultimately affect strategy in the US, so it’s useful to know as much as possible up front.

Be Aware of Schedules & Time Zones

This can go beyond a briefing. For instance, I’ve worked with several tech companies based in Israel and the Israeli workweek begins on Sunday, not Monday, generally ending on either Thursday or Friday. That meant that some members of our team needed to be available on Sundays. Your client’s schedule is always very important and, with international clients, it’s an even bigger issue.

Skype Really is Awesome

With international clients, Skype is simply one of the most valuable communication tools at your disposal. For client calls, use Skype to avoid unnecessary charges to account billings (the clients will appreciate it each month—believe me). Also, for media briefings, Skype can eliminate sometimes messy dial-in issues with international numbers on conference calls and media phoners. Basically, Skype is an all-purpose communication tool to help you connect with your client in a simple, streamlined fashion.

These are just a few tips for those with clients based outside of the US. What else has worked for you?

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