The importance of public relations for international companies

By Alan Mariasch

Brazil has never been so evident in the world and increasingly attracts more attention from multinational organizations. And not just because of the World Cup, but thanks to the great potential of its economy, which despite many bureaucratic, social and logistical challenges, grows at a faster pace than traditional powerful countries like Italy and Spain. But in terms of communication and relationship with the press, how foreign companies should plan when they decide to establish in Brazil?

To Alice Bonasio, communication manager at Mendeley, the social network for academic researchers based in London and operating worldwide, there are many advantages for multinational companies to hire a Brazilian communications agency, when they want to open an office or expand their operations here: “Besides the logistical part, for me the most important advantage is to have a local presence that understands how the market works, knows who the influential people are, and already cultivate relationships with these people. This gives you the ability to build your plans with much more confidence, because we know that when having a good idea, this idea will reach the right people.”

Some companies choose to carry out the public relations work from home, located abroad but without getting the same results. “Public relations, in the end, is about relationships, and being close physically ends up counting. Email and telephone are useful tools and I maintain direct contact with many journalists worldwide, but in the end, many ideas just happen over a lunch or a coffee. When having a press office that understands your business and works as an extension of it, you have much more options”, claims Alice.

The choice of the agency must be a very thorough process. The company needs to explain exactly what its expectations are in the country and the agency needs to be realistic and align customer demand with what is possible to be realized. Alice believes that “the selection should be made carefully and honestly on both sides. The company has to be very honest about expectations (expected results, how soon, etc.) and the agency must be transparent about the number of people who is going to work with it directly, how many hours will be devoted to the service, which media and how the success of this work will be measured”.

Finally, it is not enough to only hire the best agency, but also to provide the conditions for it to do the best job. “A spokesperson who speaks Portuguese is very useful because it gives that sense of connection to the Brazilian market, but the most important is to have a good story to tell, through which you can promote the company and everything it represents. But I believe that a good press office not only helps you to get to the people, but, due to its knowledge of the market and the needs of each journalist and media outlets, it will also help you to create campaigns and relevant stories with high impact to promote your company”, concludes Alice.

* Alan Mariasch is a PR account manager at Race Comunicação

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