bridgebuzz blog

A Memorable Experience: Providing PR Services in Japan

Posted on Sun, Oct 23, 2016

 Over the course of my long career, both in journalism and public relations, I’ve had some very memorable experiences, some simply awful, others extremely positive. Someday I swear I’m going to write a book.

But until I get around to the book, I’ll offer a few of these stories on the Bridgebuzz blog. My one restriction is client confidentiality. I can’t reveal the names of the clients involved in these memorable experiences.

I’ll start with an interesting, but difficult and strange experience I had in 1987 while living in Tokyo and working at a Japanese public relations agency. One of my clients, an American company, had hired my agency for PR services in Japan to help launch a product line. During the most feverish stage of the launch preparations, I received a call from the client’s New York City headquarters.

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Tags: International PR, case studies

Malaysia Airlines Fiasco: How Democracy Affects International PR

Posted on Thu, Mar 13, 2014

This week’s latest overseas crisis, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, demonstrates how much effect democracy – or the lack of democracy – has on international PR.  A story in the current issue of BloombergBusinessWeek, headlined “Why Malaysia Will Say Almost Nothing About the Missing Plane,” explains the “democracy effect” clearly. 

The number one rule of crisis management is to communicate even when you don’t know the answers to questions that will be asked. This is PR 101. On the face of things, it’s rather shocking that an airline in a country that has the resources and relatively high standards of living that Malaysia has is not better able to manage a crisis. Western airlines have well-trained public relations advisors and staffs to cope with a crisis. However, there’s a western bias towards open communications and an Asian bias against it.  One of the written comments below the BloombergBusinessWeek article summed up that attitude succinctly: “There is a saying that if a man doesn't know what he's talking about he should not talk about it. They [airline and government] didn't say much because they don't know much. That's not hiding things that's being cautious.”

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Tags: International PR, Public Relations, Crisis Management

Working with New York PR Agencies: 10 Tips for Overseas Companies

Posted on Fri, Mar 07, 2014

New York is the media and communications capital of the United States, if not the world. As a result, it’s also the American public relations capital, with a greater number of PR agencies than any other U.S. city. New York PR agencies are approached more by foreign companies than PR firms anywhere else, too.

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Tags: International PR, Public Relations, Digital/Social Media

Cross-Cultural Communications Challenges: Meetings with Japanese

Posted on Thu, Jan 23, 2014

As a public relations and marketing communications agency that specializes in working with foreign clients, Bridge Global Strategies has a lot of experience with cross-cultural meetings. We know they can sometimes be frustrating. One of the biggest cross-cultural communications challenges for Americans is attending meetings with Japanese participants.

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Tags: International PR, Public Relations, Communications Strategy

Big Challenge in Cross-Border Public Relations: American Ignorance

Posted on Sun, Jan 05, 2014

My company, Bridge Global Strategies, requires every job applicant to take a written test. In addition to testing writing skills and knowledge of public relations, for the past six or seven years we have tested general knowledge of history, art, culture and world affairs.  Dear readers, I hate to tell you how abysmal the average results are. The test we give provides a list of famous people around the world, both living and dead, and asks the applicant to explain who they are.  Considering that every applicant we interview is a college graduate and some have graduate degrees, it’s shocking to me, even after giving this test for more than six years, to see how few can identify the names of sitting Supreme Court justices, even recently appointed ones that have been in the news a lot; or the names of well-known artists, writers and politicians such as Georgia O’Keefe, Elie Wiesel or Angela Merkel.  (We don’t ask, “Who is the chancellor of Germany?” We provide Angela Merkel’s name and ask who she is.)

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Tags: International PR, Internships, Public Relations

Frequently Asked Question: “Why Are PR Firm Fees So High?”

Posted on Mon, Nov 11, 2013

Why are PR firm fees so high? 

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Tags: International PR, Public Relations, PR for Startups

PR Consulting 101: Apologize, but Be Sincere

Posted on Mon, Oct 07, 2013

Someone once told me that the only perfect people are those who are six feet under, because they can’t make any more mistakes.  Everyone else screws up from time to time (companies included).

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Tags: International PR, Public Relations, Crisis Management, Reputation Management

7 Tips to Improve Your Overseas Marketing

Posted on Wed, Jul 24, 2013

Cultural differences are extremely important in marketing and communications, yet we see overseas companies ignoring them in the U.S. and U.S. companies ignoring them overseas. Since international PR is one of our primary specialties, this is an area I’ve given a lot of thought to over many years.

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Tags: International PR, Marketing Communications, Public Relations

Is Silver The New Gold? Marketing Tips From The World's Fastest-Aging Nation

Posted on Fri, Mar 08, 2013

One of the biggest fears among young people is simply the fear of getting old, and society is obsessed with youth. Get ready, because the world population is aging fast. According to the World Health Organization, by 2050 22 percent of the world's population will be over 60 and the number of people 80 or older will quadruple. This change has major implications for the global economy and all aspects of life – from healthcare to housing, workforce to personal finance, and product development to branding, marketing and communications.

Japan is the world’s fastest-aging society. With the highest life expectancy in the world (86), one in four people are currently over 65. This is expected to increase to one in three by 2040. This presents serious challenges in coping with increasing costs for pensions and healthcare in Japan. On the other hand, increased spending by seniors (called “the silver market” in Japan), estimated to be 100 trillion yen (US$1.27 trillion) a year, is creating new opportunities for the economy. Japan seems to be out front in developing and marketing new products and services targeting seniors and penetrating the growing silver market.
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Tags: Brand Strategy, International PR, Marketing Communications

How American PR Is Different from PR Overseas

Posted on Tue, Feb 19, 2013

Foreign companies that want to build visibility in the U.S.  are usually surprised to find that there are cross-cultural differences in the role of public relations between their countries and the U.S. In many parts of the world, including most of Asia and some of Europe, the tactics used by most public relations departments have traditionally been limited to media relations and event planning, with social media also becoming more popular recently. The goal is to win over potential customers (both consumers and business customers) and to try to safeguard the company’s public image.

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Tags: International PR, Public Relations, Communications Strategy

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