Representing U.S. Organizations Abroad: Four Chief Public Relations Obstacles of Globalization
By Tiffany Engleman
Globalization is a prominent force in today’s world. There is a large number of United States-based global giants participating in this prosperous market worldwide at this very moment. Having a prominent company presence abroad can be extremely lucrative for businesses from the United States. Some major U.S. companies that are currently reaping the benefits of a global market are as follows: ExxonMobil, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric.
Though there are immense benefits to globalizing a company, there are also four chief public relations obstacles that an organization will face when introducing a brand to the rest of the world.
- Competition: There will always be competing organizations, regardless of the market. Maintaining the competitive advantage is a withstanding obstacle amongst the global market as well. Always stressing the benefits of a brand and ensuring that these benefits are relevant to consumers will remain key in jumping this hurdle.
- Sustainable Development: Sustainable development is a crucial initiative of any large corporation as they enter the global realm. Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the resources of the future is imperative of large corporations. Public image overseas will rest greatly on how businesses can hone their skills/products to preserve resources.
- Boycotts: It comes as no surprise that many countries do not agree with U.S. foreign policy. As a result, a number of overseas organizations and citizens will not wish to conduct business with U.S.-based companies. Creating a strategy to alter these negative perceptions and become an accepted company abroad is one of the largest barriers to break when taking a company overseas.
- Moral Corporate Citizenship (Local/National Levels): David Drobis, a former senior partner and chair of public relations firm Ketchum, stated, “Companies must take into consideration a broad group of stakeholders as they pursue their business goals globally. And by doing so, there are tangible and intangible business benefits. In this way, good corporate citizenship is not a cost of doing business, but rather a driver of business success. What’s good for the soul is also good for business.”
Handling any of these four obstacles would be very difficult without a sound public relations team representing an organization. These global obstacles are no small task for companies to face, and the manner in which they are addressed can either positively or negatively affect a corporation within the global market. Yet, if a company is positively accepted into the global market, the opportunities for increases in revenue and further expansion will be just two of the major benefits for an organization.
Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.
Public Relations and Advertising: What’s the difference?
by Tiffany Engleman
I’ve noticed that the practices of Public Relations and Advertising can become muddled. Indeed there are some similarities between the two fields. However, there are four unique differences that distinguish the two from one another.
- Public Relations incorporates a number of communication tools in their daily interactions with colleagues and clients; social media brochures, special events, speeches, news releases, and feature stories are just a few. Advertising operates almost solely through mass media outlets and for the most part does not utilize near as many channels as does Public Relations.
- Advertising directs messages to external audiences (predominantly consumers of goods and services). Public Relations focuses on a specific external audience such as stockholders, vendors, community leaders, environmental groups, as well as internal audiences (employees).
- Advertising is primarily identified as a specialized communication function. Public Relations is much broader in scope. PR integrates policies and performances of entire organizations, from the interactions between employees to the procedure of answering phone calls.
- The primary goal of Public Relations is to become a liaison between a company and their customers. Public Relations creates and protects a positive image for organizations through any situation that can affect a company’s image, including but not limited to: economic, social, and political factors. The primary function of Advertising is to assist in promoting the sale of goods and services.
Although Public Relations and Advertising share some similar traits in the broad scheme of things, there are many aspects that do differentiate the two. At the end of the day, Advertising is selling a company’s goods or services and Public Relations is ensuring that a company has the ability to positively market goods and services to the public or a targeted audience.
Works Cited: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.
Heineken demonstrates unparalleled alcohol marketing strategies
By Andrea Donaldson
I don’t always praise beer companies for their alcohol marketing strategies. But when I do it’s Heineken.
Heineken, now the world’s third largest brewer, has spent the last decade innovating their way to the top of the beer industry. The company is now the world’s first and only truly global beer brand. Their extensive portfolio includes huge import brands Newcastle, Amstel, and Dos Equis. But, even more impressive is their brand availability in more than 178 countries. Although the company has made major business moves by acquiring brands and joint partnering with big names like Kingfisher, it is their alcohol marketing strategies that have had the most impact on customers. Their top three have increased Heineken revenues the world over.
1. Guerilla Marketing: Heineken has always been a company that thinks out of the box. In 2011, at a music festival in Poland, Heineken established a sponsored tent that allowed festival attendees to make their own QR codes. Attendees wrote a sentence about themselves and Heineken printed a sticker that other festival participants could scan with their smart phones to access the personalized statement written by the wearer. The campaign was an instant hit as it served as an ice breaker to meet other music lovers.
2. Packaging: Heineken’s traditional green bottle has become iconic. However, that doesn’t stop the company from constantly gussying up their bottles. Heineken has experimented with a square bottle design that was introduced to save space in coolers and refrigerators. They have also released bottles that have hidden designs that can only be seen under black light. But, my personal favorite was showcased this week at the Milan Design show. Heineken’s newest bottle innovation, “Ignite,” features LED lights that brighten up social drinking. Experience a flash of light through the bottle whenever you take a sip or cheer a friend. The LED lights can also be programmed by a DJ to light up to the beat of a song.
3. Social Media: Heineken has utilized social media to stay current and on the minds of their customers. The company constantly updates in order to drive conversation; the most popular social media conversation for the company being The Most Interesting Man in the World posts. Unless you have been living under a pile of rocks, you have seen the Dos Equis advertisement featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World” living adventurously and enjoying a Dos Equis. The slogan, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis” has even sparked an internet meme that features individual’s customized slogans, like my very own featured above.
Although Heineken has been criticized for constantly switching alcohol marketing firms, it is clear they are doing something right. Heineken has experienced 14 percent growth and Dos Equis is up an astounding 33 percent in sales this past year.
So, what’s next for the unstoppable beer giant? Heineken international released intentions to take on the senior market. But, that’s an article for a different day.
Indiana liquor store owners hope legislation allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays won’t pass?
By Andrea Donaldson
In many states individuals don’t think twice about picking up a 6-pack to enjoy while watching Sunday Night Football. But in Indiana, alcohol sales on Sunday is more like a pipe dream. Currently, Indiana is the last state to uphold prohibition laws that ban the sale of beer, liquor, and wine on Sundays. In an effort to promote tourism some exceptions do apply for restaurants and microbreweries. But don’t count on walking in to a liquor store to grab extra vodka for your Bloody Mary brunch.
In a time when most individuals feel this law is outdated, it is surprisingly the liquor store owners who are fighting to keep it.
Liquor store owners feel the abolition of the state’s prohibition laws will eventually lead to the closing of many small town liquor stores. The owners argue that people know to stock up on Saturday. Therefore, if they were open Sunday their sales would not see a significant increase. It is their perception that sales are likely to become distributed over the entire weekend, instead of condensed on Saturday evenings and afternoons. This leaves smaller stores in a bad position. They may not have the funds to pay for the extra employee hours and other operating costs to be open for another day in the week.
However, stores considering their doors remaining shut on Sundays will be presented with another problem. In Indiana, unlike some states, it is legal to sell wine and spirits at grocery stores. Big corporate chains like Walmart and Kroger could wind up stealing business from liquor stores who cannot afford to stay open the extra day of the week.
The president of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, John Livengood, agrees. In an article, Sunday Booze Restrictions Remain Stringent in Indiana, published in January, 2013, by USA Today. Livengood writes that new legislation allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays will likely lead to the closing of at least 250 liquor stores and over 1,000 lost jobs in the state of Indiana.
Hoosiers that are just plain tired of the inconvenience of not being able to buy alcohol when they please will continue to push for the discontinuation of the ban. However, they are sure to face heavy opposition from those lobbying to keep the liquor store owners’ best interests in the law books.
How to impress brand liquor distributors and increase sales
By Andrea Donaldson
The liquor industry in America operates on a three-tier system of alcohol distribution. The producers create products. The distributors purchase products from producers and sell to retailers. And, retailers sell products to consumers. It is the job of liquor representatives to work between the distributor and the retailer. The representative explains to the retailers the profits that can be made by carrying a producer’s product. Below is a list of five important tips that can offer an increased profit for liquor representatives.
1. Network, network, and network: This is the most important aspect of being a liquor representative. It is all about who you know. Develop relationships with all of the retail establishments that you frequent. Join a city network group for business professionals. And, always carry a business card and be prepared to meet a potential client.
2. Have a daily objective: Create daily goals for yourself to gain outside prospects. More products moved in more places will result in more profits. By maintaining a continuous motivation to meet with potential prospects, you are sure to secure more sales. When setting objectives make sure you have an idea of how you can measure results during the week.
3. Know your market: Every retailer has their own specific audience. Knowing which products will resonate with a retailer’s audience will help you make the sale. Analyze sales information often and draw conclusions on how to better market your products.
4. Heighten industry knowledge: It is critical to know as much information as possible about the brands you represent. The more you know about a product, the better you can sell it. Also consider becoming a brand ambassador. A brand ambassador focuses specific attention on becoming an expert on one particular brand within a company’s portfolio. It is also important to become familiar with all legal regulations that can affect your sales or promotions.
5. Emphasize value over cost: As a liquor representative, you must be able to show the value of your brands to the retailer, not the cost. It is also advantageous to establish a sense of value in yourself, as their liquor representative. Maintaining a positive relationship with your retailers can keep them from dropping your representation if prices are ever raised.
Following these five tips will ensure an impressed brand distributor and an increase in company profits.
Technologically advanced beer walls allow customers to be their own bartender
By Andrea Donaldson
Has anyone else experienced the exhausting battle of trying to get a drink in a crowded bar? Initially, the fight is with the crowd. You must deal with the jerks who will push, shoulder, and argue their way to the closest bar opening. And once you’ve finally secured the coveted empty bar location, round two begins. Getting the attention of the bartender. Of course we all have our tricks, whether it be holding out cash to show that we’re ready or desperately trying to force eye-contact. But, aren’t we all just tired of the hassle?!
Fortunately, the newest trend in beer dispensing has arrived. They call them beer walls. These state-of-the-art devices feature up to eight taps that patrons themselves use to pour their own beer. The dispensers have tablet screens that feature information on rotating taps, the ability to hold five full kegs, and computers that keep records of everything. Aside from the customer’s ability to save on tips, here are five reasons why these beer walls will prove to be a major success.
1. Record Keeping: Owners are provided with access to an online database that keeps up-to-date records of all beer wall transactions. Owners can use this information to track consumption habits and create promotions that are specifically tailored to their patrons.
2. Information: Ever wondered more about a beer on tap than the bartender could tell you? The beer wall features tablet screens that provide customers with extensive information on beer choices. The wall also prints the customer a receipt detailing all of the beers they tried. Customers can easily remember which beers they liked and continue to build a loyalty to particular brands.
3. Online features: In a world where everything is going viral, why shouldn’t your beer habits? The beer wall features a “buy a round” option online. This feature allows for patrons to purchase beer online for their friends at the bar. Another online feature alerts patrons when an exclusive brew has been added to the beer wall. Customers can select the “reserve my pint” feature and guarantee a pint of beer before the keg blows out.
4. Advertising: The beer wall opens up an entire new world for advertising beer. Companies will be able to utilize the interactive tablet screens to push new products. They will also be provided with demographic information about their customers. The wall sets up an account by checking a customer’s identification card. Breweries will be able to access information on exactly who is buying their product. The beer wall could potentially offer interactive surveys and other features that could be very beneficial to marketers.
5. No waiting: The beer wall features the ability to allow multiple people to pour beer at the same time. Also, if it is typical for customers to experience lengthy waits at your restaurant, a beer wall just might be the perfect distraction.
Although excitement and curiosity were my first responses to the new device, I received mixed concerns from customers at a local pub in Louisville, Ky. Some people questioned if this type of device would damage the service industry. Would customers tip less, because they are used to doing the work themselves at other bars? Others mentioned how uncomfortable they would be with a bars ability to access their personal information. They also showed concern over the price shock of finally receiving the bill at the end of the night and realizing each taste really added up.
It will be interesting to see how cities around the nation react to these new devices. I know I will be excited to play with the first one I come across.
Work Cited: Innovative Tap Solutions, (2013). Retrieved from www.pourmybeer.com
Does your non profit have a strategic social media plan and know how to measure it?
By Joseph John
Congratulations! Your organization is keeping current. You are doing everything necessary in order to keep up with social media trends — all the while promoting your non profit organization. So, what’s your media?
OH. You were one of the first non profits to create a website and blog. That’s fantastic. Do you recall when you last updated your website or freshened up the blog with some new information? Or, let’s look at some other social media that you may be utilizing:
- Facebook? Check.
- Twitter? Yep.
- YouTube? Check.
- LinkedIn? Uh huh.
- Pinterest? Maybe.
And possibly other social media platforms of the day — social media dujour. Check!
Ah, yes. You’ve got it all. You’re just beaming and your monthly non profit board meetings are full of “high fives”. “Wow. We are ALL OVER the social media spectrum.”
OK. Like I said, “Congratulations.” Now, step back. Do you know WHY you’re on all (or some) of those sites? Is it because “Well, everyone else is doing it,” or to use an old phrase “We need to be keeping up with the Joneses.” And now the most important question: What’s your organization’s strategic plan for using social media? Huh? A strategic plan for social media?
Yes, a strategic plan. What committee was charged with writing the plan and determining what sites are best for YOUR organization?
Are you using social media sites for “friending” and building new followers in the community? Are you using the sites for fundraising? Are you promoting your brand on those sites? Are you using those sites to keep people informed of trends and events in your organization? Or, sadly, are you using the sites merely as a presence, while your site remains very static and hasn’t been updated in a long, long time.
Do you know how many “likes” you have received, or “followers?” Here’s the most important question, before we discuss “metrics” which will be covered in another article: WHO is keeping your social media sites up-to-date, keeping the information fresh, following up on people that are “touching,” “tweeting,” “following,” “liking,” and — the list goes on.
Two firms, Ventureneer and Caliber, joined forces several years ago to develop a survey of non profits’ social media usage. Their final document titled, “Nonprofits and Social Media: It Ain’t Optional,” related the results of the survey.
Let me just share a few of the “ten highly successful media habits for nonprofits” that comprised the introduction to their survey findings:*
1. Excel at social media by dedicating the time to it. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it: to do social media well, non profits have to allocate at least 25 staff hours per week.
2. Use social media for more purposes. The more time a non profit puts into social media, the more it gets out of social media. …those who are power users are using it to: boost a non profit’s visibility, drive traffic to websites, and build community.
3. Start slowly, build a foundation, and then add more media (and time) to the mix. The longer non profits use social media, the more kinds of media they use.
Here’s the bottom line for non profits engaged in (or wanting to use) social media: Develop a strategic plan so that you’ll know why you’re using social media, how you’re using social media, and how to keep the messages and the site fresh. Then, and only then, will you be able to use metrics to gauge your success and your organization’s visibility in the social media arena.