American University’s online Master’s in Strategic Communication Associate Professor Dr. Rhonda Zaharna shares a preview of the program’s International Communications course (COMM 649).
International public relations is one of the fastest growing areas in the public relations field. Globalization and social media are bringing countries and people together in ways that were unimaginable a decade ago.
If you stop to think about it, how many different countries and their products have you encountered since you woke up this morning? I bet it's well over 20, beginning with the coffee beans from Colombia, the morning news headlines, the clothes you are wearing, the device that you used to view this course. It may reach over 100 before you go to sleep tonight. This trend of global connectivity and interactivity is only going to accelerate.
Already, some are saying that all public relations today is international public relations. It's amazing to think of the implications and applications of public relations on a global level.
In this course, we'll take a global tour of some of the varied, and sometimes very unique styles, of public relations in different countries.
Contemporary public relations was born and bred in the United States. However, practitioners are discovering that some public relation practices do not work well in other countries. In this course, we'll look at why that is. We'll explore the link between a country's unique national features and the way public relations is practiced. We'll also look at the hidden role of culture in shaping communication styles and public exploitations.
In our journey, we'll cover three broad areas of public relations. Each area offers valuable insights for viewing public relations in action. The first area is the corporate realm. We'll look at how corporations promote their image, products, services, in different regions. Well look at how online and offline strategies differ depending on cultural styles.
The second area we'll look at is the social realm. The social realm addresses pressing issues such as illiteracy, nutrition, disease, poverty, and environmental concerns. Social campaigns are often highly creative and culturally sensitive. And they have to be in order to combat long held attitudes or entrenched behaviors.
Our third area is the political realm. Countries have become keenly aware of how their image affects their products, their tourism, and their political power. Many countries have launched what are called, nation branding campaigns. We'll analyze some of those campaigns to see how effective they are.
I hope that one of the three areas-- corporate, social, or political sparks a personal interest with you. I hope also, you'll see the unique approaches and styles that different countries have in these areas. Which brings me to what I think is the most exciting aspect of the course, and that's our home country ambassadors. To help guide us on our tour, each of you will have the opportunity to pick a country of your choice to be your home country. You'll be our resident expert and ambassador for your country. We'll be looking at public relations in your country through your eyes.
Thank you for joining me on this exploration of international public relations. I look forward to our global journey together.
Read more about the course objectives for International Strategic Communication.