In the PR industry, Latin America, or as the natives call it LatAm, is Christopher Columbus’s “New World.” The opportunity for growth and success is limitless and is encouraged.
Since PR is relatively new in LatAm, there are agencies all over that are looking for bright minds to help take the company to the next level. There is even the opportunity to open your own agency!
Research conducted by The Holmes Report and the International Communications Consultancies Organization (ICOO) found that Latin America was the most optimistic public relations region with a 7.90 out of 10 scale.
Agencies are optimistic that clients and marketers will continue to give them business and expand the market. Non-traditional services are becoming more popular to companies such as advertising and digital and social media support.
However, when working abroad it is essential to have the proper tools with you for success.
Understand the culture.
“If you don’t understand the culture than you are at a major disadvantage,” said Cesar Zapata Morales, President of La Universidad de San Martin de Porres’s PRSSA chapter. “In Peru, we make important connections and business deals over food because food is such an important part of our culture.”
With that in mind, if you want to work in Latin America, you must understand that it will be looked upon if you bring your brown paper bag lunch and eat alone in your cubicle while the rest of your colleagues grab a bite to eat at the local café.
Having an open mind and willingness to understand a new culture are the first steps to integrating well with the company and environment.
Have marketable skills.
When working at a PR firm it is essential that you be prepared to take on the tasks assigned to you.
Marta Sigarán, country manager of Ketchum’s corporate communication in El Salvador said, “when we hire someone we look for a background in communications, a college degree in Communication or PR, bilinguals, dynamics, people who know the media and who have good verbal and writing skills.”
She went on to describe how similar Latin American PR is to that of the US’s PR industry.
“PR here in El Salvador is pretty similar to PR in the USA, it depends on the clients. When we have local clients sometimes it’s difficult to offer a variety of services, but most of our clients are corporations and multinational companies, so they understand perfectly all the capabilities if PR and we can offer all of our services to them.”
With that in mind, you need to offer these companies your expertise and skill set to help the company grow. In El Salvador for example, the top three valued skills are planning and organization, critical thinking and leadership.
By applying the same skills you learned in your classes such as your research experience, strategic planning and advanced writing skill set, you are golden. Agencies focus on crisis management, leadership and press relations.
The public relations industry is almost the same worldwide. What makes it different is how it’s used and in what area of the world. Global PR varies from country to country.
Now, where in the world do you want to do PR?
Listen to this podcast to learn more about international PR.
Joann Distler is a Public Relations student with a French and Chemistry minor. Being from Alpine, New Jersey, Joann is a born-and-bred city girl, lipstick addict, and hiking enthusiast. Joann aspires to work in corporate PR.