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Public relations across borders: 3 things you should look for when hiring a PR agency in another cou

Let’s say you are planning to expand into a new market. Sure, you have made all the necessary research from a business standpoint. But what about your communication strategy? You might not speak the language and you probably have no connections there. You might also not know what newspapers locals read, what TV channel people prefer, what radio they play or what social media pages they follow.

Hiring a local PR agency is a good way to make sure you’re on the right track when it comes to communicating your brand in a new and foreign market. But how do you choose an agency? Here’s 3 things we consider very important when hiring a PR agency in another country:

1. Having bilingual speakers on the team

Language is the most important aspect of communication, and localization is key when you are entering a foreign market. No-one will relate to a text that has clearly been translated by an online robot. This being said, one of the advantages of working with a local agency is that your team will have native speakers who know the idioms and are aware of which references will be picked-up by the local audience, meaning that they are able to translate your message in the most effective way possible. For example, here at Louis Karno & Company, we are bilingual in English and Portuguese. Combining a native-level of English with a fluent awareness of the complex Portuguese language is strong asset for any Portuguese brand looking to start or consolidate their presence in the North-American market.

2. Experience with clients from your country

Additionally to the language aspect, an agency that is already familiarized with your domestic market will probably be better equipped to help you achieve your goals. This can show in terms of sensitivity to cultural and professional differences, or a better understanding the writing style - which is useful when translating releases and other materials. At Louis Karno & Company, we have experience with a variety of Portuguese organizations, especially from the tourism industry, such as the Portuguese Tourism Office, the Madeira Tourism Promotion.

3. Experience with clients from your sector

Any PR agency is as good as their contact list. So, when looking for an agency in a market you’re unfamiliar with, another way to make sure you choose the right one for your communication needs is to look for experience with clients from the same or similar sectors as your business. Even if an agency hasn’t worked with your domestic market before, this will at least mean that there are already established relations with local stakeholders that are relevant for your activity. Having experience within the sector is also a guarantee that the agency knows the market they are helping you get in to, and probably have more insight regarding the best approach to take on.

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