A major social force influencing the future of public relations is globalization. With each passing day, the peoples of earth are being drawn closer. The economies of different countries are inexorability linked. Advances in communications technology allow us to know what is occurring in a country half-way around the world instantaneously. Improvements in transportation have made it possible for you, in mere hours, to travel distances that took your parents and grandparents months and weeks to cover.
As trade expands globally, the most notable audiences drawing the attention of public relations practitioners are in places such as Russia, China, India, Latin America, and Europe. Public relations practitioners must overcome language barriers and social differences to practice culturally appropriate and locally acceptable public relations. Differences in lifestyles, customs, values, and cultures are not the only challenges. Unique aspects of the local political, economic, and industrial structures also are challenges.
Working in combination, these forces have given us a sense of interconnectedness and created a world of opportunities for public relations professionals. Targeting certain audiences and correctly reaching them is easier than ever. Globalization has also caused public relations practitioners to face serious challenges and make difficult choices. Thanks to the global reach of digital communications, crises can now spread instantaneously. The internet makes it possible for anyone with a cause to become a self-publisher. It is becoming more difficult for organizations to identify potential threats.
China is one growing market undergoing revolutionary political, social, and industrial changes. China reopened to Western markets in 1978. The growth in business opportunities in China has been incredible. Despite corruption and government regulations, American and European companies have embraced the Chinese market. To do well, a company must know the local customs and government regulations. In China, personal influence is important in every part of the business, social, and media systems. For example, if a public relations practitioner wants to send out news releases, they may have to know the reporters personally.
Some public relations practitioners see globalization as an opportunity; others see it as a threat, and others see it as both.