Have you ever wondered how a business similar to yours operates in Russia, Mexico, New York City or Malta? Well I have and earlier this year I was lucky enough to indulge those thoughts at an international PR conference in Austria.

You know the saying about spending more time working on the business than in it?. Well I must admit I rarely adhere to that theory although I do believe it; but the PROI conference gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that.

In 2008, Red PR was selected to become a PROI partner, with 60 leading independent agencies from around the world. I didn’t realise what an honour it was for us to be selected until I attended our first PROI conference in Austria in May. Mixing with the best of the very best from around the world was amazing and I wanted to share some thoughts about the global PR industry following our meeting and how important your global community is. Recently you may have read my blog on global communities where I was referring to your social media network; this time I literally mean your international affiliates.

The wonderful thing was ultimately we are all doing the same thing; there were no exposed trade secrets, but it was wonderful to see how further developed the PR industry is in certain nations. PR is still in its infant stages as a respected industry in Australia, whereas countries such as the US, UK and even Germany seem to be streets ahead in how the PR industry is perceived by potential customers and by association, their fees in their agencies reflect that. Fisher Applet in Germany, with 240 staff even have their own TV station they do so many vodcasts and corporate videos.

Social Media was the name of the game in Austria. Who should manage online reputations of our clients – the PR or the advertising industry? Of course we all agreed the PR industry needs to own the space if we are talking about managing reputations. We discussed strategies and workshops and our sister agency in London, Publicasity have been working closely with well known social media author David Phillips to establish their online strategies, which they kindly shared with the group.

Apart from what we learned, the ability to build relationships with agencies from around the world has been enormously beneficial. Already one of our clients is meeting with our sister agency in Hong Kong, Strategic Public Relations Group, this month to help them launch into China. Red PR and our Indian partner agency Adfactors are also joining forces in a competitive bid for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010.

As a team we are one of the short listed agencies internationally. So if you have any international needs, please do ask me as I have now met all of our sister agencies, I know their businesses values, how they operate, how successful they have all been and what they offer and can point you in the right direction.

Strengthening our relationship with the US, Tracy Stephenson will also be going on exchange to Jackson Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia in October this year. We will welcome Ashlee Stubitts to Brisbane, who has been with Jackson Spalding for over 10 years. After sitting next to Bo Spalding in Austria I know Tracy will learn a great deal and be well taken care of, and if she’s lucky, Bo may share his singing talents with her.

So the verdict… are international affiliates and our global community important? There is no question, the answer is: absolutely.

15 Years of Fame