Introduction
Public Relation (PR) practitioners are in control of the company’s reputations.
Public relations is engaging and dealing with various range of clients from
different regions around the world to build trust and share interest between
the client and its customers. For a successful PR agent cross-culture
communication is the main key. Cross-culture communication is sharing
information with others with a difference in; a language, culture, dress code
or any different beliefs than the agent. Being able to build trust in a short
period is what will make the client feel comfortable with the agency, this will
count on the practitioners and how they deal with the client. As public
relations practitioners will have to deal with different people, their
communication skills and their ability to translate one message to different
people must be excessive. This will explain the awareness a PR agent should consider
when dealing with effective intercultural communication. This essay will
examine the advantages and disadvantages of how effective it is being aware of
others’ cultures’ and the way they communicate.

Global and international companies often pick individuals with multiple
languages and cultures backgrounds. This will help the company expand and reach
certain regions and countries, these agents will act on behalf of the company
to communicate with the clients; as “language differences can be the
most prominent barrier to communication.” (Collinson, Narula and
Rugman, 2016) Because of this, the individual has the advantage of being the
company’s liability; so the company has to rely on the individual and their
unique set of skills. Individuals who have this distinctive skill set i.e. have
the ability to speak multiple languages, are more likely to be job hunted by
companies. This demonstrates the importance of this skill set within
intercultural communication; allowing PR’s to effectively communicate to
clients.

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Griffin (2008) stated that ‘every professional is required effective
intercultural communication skills.’ The use of intercultural communication within
a company with different ranges of employees will enable the atmosphere of the
work place to be more productive as the employees are able to communicate with
each other faster and easier. Therefore, this will make the progression of the
company escalate quicker; which will avoid a culture clash. A culture clash
refers to two parties having a difference in the type and style of communication,
which leads to a misunderstanding or a struggle in delivering the message. This
could perhaps happen while dealing with a client. As a result, the client may reconsider
the agency as the action of the company’s representative has portrayed carelessness
to the client by not being able to interpret them fully. If this happens and an
individual doesn’t communicate effectively with the client, it will be
detrimental to the company; resulting in a loss of customers and reputation
damage for both the company and the individual concerned. Multi-culture
companies have better internal and external communication with their customers and
the outside world. This is because their employees are prepared with skills
that they have picked naturally such as their first language, which could
differ to others. Therefore, the agent will be set with two languages.

Clients are more likely to prefer an agency that is capable of dealing
with their culture and language as these are two of the most important factors
to deliver a message that will be more effective and understandable. When the
clients see that their customers are getting more and they are happy with the
message and the way it’s been delivered, this will make those clients consider making
the agency with these effective communication skills between the agency and the
clients’ customers, as their main agency to deal with. So, if PR’s effectively
communicate to clients on behalf of the company this will result in an increase
in revenue as it’s more likely companies will continue to use the agency. This will
give the agency a better representation to others and more people will be aware
of them as their reputation will expand; getting bigger and better.

Public relation professions should have the awareness of the culture they
want to deal with, for several reasons such as; without knowing the values of
the culture, you could easily offend the host culture without being aware or
realizing. Even if unintended, an agent being offensive to a client through
lack of understanding of their culture or not having the correct skill set to
effectively communicate the message will result in harsh consequences for the
company. This occurs most of the time when the company or individual
representing the company hasn’t done a complete and thorough research into the
culture of the client. This can result in a misunderstanding and possibly an
unintentional offence towards the client which could result in a loss of trust
between the client and the agency. The agency must prepare their agents with an
effective intercultural communication if they plan to expand and deal with more
people effectively and respectably.

There are a number of examples that possibly effect on this type of
communication. During an intercultural communication the agency must consider
all the factors that could offend the client. Therefore, the agency should have
a full knowledge and understanding of the client’s culture, as even so much as a
wrong hand to present a handshake could lead to fall out. This can be seen with
Arabs, they only shake with their right hand as that is the clean hand, and the
left hand is the dirty hand, and so, “it is important that a
businessperson learns the appropriate greeting practices of the host culture.”
(Bakic?-Miric?, 2011) If the agents fail to have knowledge of this, and approach
a handshake with their left hand, the clients will get offended and this will
result in a failure to deliver. Not only this but Glantz (2012) stated in their
blog ‘Pepsodent is a toothpaste company that tried to promote their
new ”teeth whitening” toothpaste in Southeast Asia’ ,but that didn’t go very
well as people in Southeast Asia tend to blacken their teeth, instead of
whitening in order to attract partners. The PR team didn’t know about this, which
has led to a misunderstanding and a campaign failure. This will reflect on the
agency and its reputation as this shows the company hasn’t done their research
before launching their new product, which could leave the company in an awkward
position that may lead to a company fall out.

 

Intercultural communication is an effective tool to expand and go global
if the agency has planned for it; this will put the company in a better
financial position. Therefore, the agency needs different agents with different
traditions, cultures, and skills that will allow them to adapt to another
culture and be able to deliver a message in a reasonable manner that is
suitable to the culture and the client. PR agencies should use various methods
to present their message. Visual materials can impact more than written
materials; this allows the agency to reach for a deeper meaning to the client’s
customers. When the agency shows an effective intercultural communication it
will break barriers down and strengthen relationships between the agency and
the clients. As mentioned previously, without and effective intercultural
communication the agency may struggle badly to deliver a message.

Agencies with effective communication skills in general tend to be the
most popular and hired by clients; this is because they know they are capable
of forming a feasible message that the clients’ customers are most likely to
accept and comprehend. This means if an agency hasn’t prepared fully for an
intercultural communication and failed to deliver; the agency could possibly face
the end of their company. This is due to the fact intercultural communication
skills are necessary to be able to deal with clients and their customers in the
right manner that is suitable for everyone.

 

Conclusion
Intercultural communication is important for PR agents to progress and be
able to deliver their message clearly and coherently. Companies with a wide
range of employees from different regions tend to be more successful than
others; this implies the urgency of having an effective level of intercultural
communication for the individual and the company. The community is more likely
to accept and relate to individuals from a familiar background. Therefore, this
means a PR agent with a background or similar culture would be able to
communicate and translate the message to the recipients in a suitable manner. It
is also more likely individuals will listen and be guided by the advice of
others who have the same background or have come from the same place.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Books:

Bakic?-Miric?, N. (2011). An integrated approach to intercultural
communication. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p.128.

Collinson, S., Narula, R. and Rugman, A.
(2016). International Business. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education
Limited, p.169.

Griffin, T. (2008). Effective Intercultural Communication. In: C.
Halverson and S. Tirmizi, ed., Effective Multicultural Teams. Dordrecht:
Springer, p.173.

Websites/Blogs:

Glantz (2012). Campaigns that Failed to Translate. Blog Glantz
Design. Available at:
https://glantz.net/blog/campaigns-that-failed-to-translate Accessed 12 Jan.
2018.