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How to communicate with emerging markets

Before Russia gained notoriety because Sarah Palin claimed she could see it from her Alaskan home, it was part of an economic powerhouse known as the BRIC, or Brazil, Russia, India and China.  In 2003, Goldman Sachs reported that, combined, the BRIC could be larger than the United States and the developed economies of Europe within 40 years.  Speaking of Europe, an even more recent buzz term is EMEA, which stands for Europe, Middle East, Africa.  Most large, global multinational companies have EMEA regional offices and, similar to the BRIC, have an interest in distributing news to these markets. 

Distributing and sharing news to each of the countries represented in the BRIC or EMEA can present different opportunities, challenges and rewards. As they grow individually or within their respective groups, the importance of including these and other developing nations in our communications efforts – whether it’s delivering a pitch or sending a press release — has never been more important.  Here’s how to tailor your communications goals to emerging markets:

  1. Think local.  In real estate, it’s location, location, location.  In pitching news, think local, local, local.  When pitching your news in emerging markets, the local angle is must.  Be creative and think beyond the obvious.  Would you pitch a story about an American company to a journalist at a small Miami publication? Unless there is some sort of connection, you might get hung up on or deleted. Don’t pitch a story about an Asian company to a reporter in China simply based on the continent the company is in. Find out if there’s a local angle. Is the company Chinese and is it located in that reporter’s geographic coverage area? If not, move on.
  2. Direct pitching. Marketwire’s proprietary media management tool, Mediahub [1], has close to one million media contacts around the world, which you can tap into to manage your international media contacts and interact with them directly.
  3. Understand the cultural nuances.  In many Asian countries, for instance, name order is reversed.  Calling Ms. Li Wei “Ms. Wei” is like calling Mr. John Smith “Mr. John.”  You sound a bit silly and stick out like a sore thumb. In Latin American countries, people are used to greeting each other with a kiss on each side of their faces. In Japan, bowing is a known form of greeting. But, did you know that the lower you bow, the more respect you’re showing the other person? Each country has its own cultural nuances. Understanding these nuances, especially when dealing with members of foreign media, could have an impact on how you interact with them or the relationships you want to establish.
  4. Be sensitive to cultural differences.  A little Wikipedia or Google research can go a long way in getting to know the cultures of unknown foreign countries – even if you’re just scraping the tip of the iceberg.  Assuming that traditions, languages, foods or religions are generally the same throughout a geographic area can be downright offensive.  The result may be that you confuse someone who is Canadian as American or that you speak Chinese to a Japanese person.  In many cases, neighbors don’t share the same heritage, religion or even language.  In business communications, this is even more crucial. If you send a Spanish-language press release to, say, a Brazilian publication, you’ve not only wasted your time — Brazilians speak Portuguese – but you may have also offended an entire newsroom.
  5. When in Rome, do as the Romans.  Don’t assume that just because something is widely accepted in the US, it’s also mainstream in other countries.  Couples don’t hold hands in public in the United Arab Emirates.  Pork is considered “unclean” in Arab countries, while Argentineans are serious about their beef.  It is illegal to advertise alcoholic beverages in India.  So, when in a foreign country, assume status quo by adopting its rituals and customs in order to blend in, avoid embarrassment and respect the culture.

Still unsure about how to communicate with distant lands? Don’t sweat it—Marketwire has all your translation and distribution needs covered.  Marketwire has offices around the world, including Brazil, Shanghai, Philippines and London, offering national, regional and global circuits to meet your communication needs virtually anywhere in the world.

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