David Landis, trusty LCI President here with my thoughts for the week.
I just returned from meeting with our international PR affiliates (through the Public Relations Global Network – wwwprgn.com) in Sao Paulo. The 17-hour plane trip notwithstanding, it occurred to me that the world continues to shrink and that business is going global. Those PR professionals who can make the most of this opportunity will succeed. . .and those that won’t. . .well?
My colleagues in Australia, Brussels, Singapore, Argentina, South Africa, Ireland, the U.S. and of course Brazil may look and sound different (especially those guys from Texas – just kidding!). But I’m constantly amazed at how the sharing of ideas inevitably points to the fact that we have common business challenges – and opportunities.
The big theme this year? Not surprisingly, social media. Marcelo Coutinho, a director with the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion & Strategy, spoke to our august group and discussed the need to get beyond mainstream media and even broadcasting — to what he’s dubbed socialcasting — namely, the act of engaging two-way communication with both your client’s brands and its customers directly. I used to bemoan the demise of the legacy media. . .but even I am beginning to see the light. Isn’t two-way communication better, in the long run, for both our clients and its customers? If we can see issues with our customers right away, we can head them off at the pass – and similarly, customers are often the ones who will present us with our best ideas. And why not communicate directly with customers without the filter of the media getting in the way. Increasingly, PR will have a more important role as we navigate these new ways to communicate. It’s a whole new world. . .and it continues to shrink and shrink and shrink. . .
How was Brazil? It’s easily one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Rich and super poor living side by side; diverse cultures mixing and tolerating one another; tropical fruits you’ve never heard of (I love caja and graviola, who knew?); natural beauty everywhere you turn (the impressive view of Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro is a singular sensation); people who re-define the word “friendly”; cuisines that will melt in your mouth (try the mocqueca) or set your tongue on fire (try the mocqueca!)! My personal favorite? Salvador, where Africa meets South America, the old world meets the new world (did you know it’s the oldest city in the Americas, founded in the 1500’s?), where African spirituality meets Catholicism in the form of Canomble and the world’s melting pot makes some of the best music you’ve ever heard in your life. On a trip guided by Josuel, a gentleman who grew up in the favelas, we went to Santa Amaro and saw the boyhood home of Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso (and his sister Maria Bethania). While taking a photo outside the house, Caetano’s brother came out and invited us in to share caja juice with the entire family. We also met his 101 year-old mother and saw all the old photos and gold records of both Caetano and Maria on the wall. Now, that would never happen in San Francisco – or New York.
Speaking of which, here’s my Buzzworthy-list of favorite musicians from Brazil:
And of course, the legendary Tom Jobim
4 thoughts on “Going Global. . .”
David, what a wonderful, blessed experience; congratulations. You know, I don’t think social media is the holy grail (and I’m not suggesting you think it is; but don’t you think that many seem to worship it like evangelists). The reality is that online networks are just one tool, not a communications strategy. A large chunk of many people’s lives still occurs offline, in gyms, coffee shops, restaurants and where Africa meets Catholicism. I fear for print media, however; social media will have a devastating effect there. Best wishes, Mark.
Excellent comments and a good summary of the PRGN meeting. A couple of comments from my travels after the meeting. According to some commodity traders I met from Chicago Brazil is the largest exporter of meat in the world and in three years will be the largest grain exporter. They have one of the leading commodity exchanges in the world and will likely be #1 shortly.
Interesting to see how unaffected some non-US agencies are by things that keep us up at night: the recession and missing the boat on social media. These firms are getting excellent case studies and best practices so they can be ready for when these issues hit their countries.
Loved Brazil but careful with those caipirinhas.
From Buenos Aires, your article feels so very accurate!! It was wonderful sharing those days with all the PRGNs, I came back to Argentina full of new energy
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