Are all PR pros the same, no matter where they practice?
Having worked for more than 25 years with PR pros around the globe, I wondered whether Canadians bring something unique to the industry table.
After canvassing both Canadian and U.S.-based PR pros, it seems that working north of the 49th parallel does give Canadians a unique PR perspective.
Head office advantage.
Fortune 100 companies doing business in Canada often locate their head offices in Toronto, making it more likely PR pros in that city to work on a greater scope of important files. “Having access to that kind of work certainly defines the kind of experience a Canadian PR pro brings to the table,” says Diana Conconi
, a PR consultant with work experience in both countries.
We’re inherently polite.
If there are 50 people in line for a bus in Toronto, when that bus comes, all 50 people will wait patiently until it’s their turn to get on. Canadians’ reputation for their good manners and business decorum often helps in building partnerships between large, diverse teams.
“Canadians are so nice, flexible, and understanding,” says Gini Dietrich
, CEO of Arment Dietrich in Chicago, whose company has created business alliances with Canadian PR shops.
We live and breathe diversity.
“Canadians seem to adapt easier to working on large global files due to our complete immersion in diversity from the time we begin school,” notes Barbara Laidlaw
, senior vice president and partner at Fleishman Hillard in New York. Laidlaw, who grew up in Canada, adds, “This allows us to more seamlessly integrate with multiple different cultures.”
We keep the peace.
Since 1956, the Canadian military has been renowned for its United Nations international peacekeeping missions. Keeping the peace is also a trait many Canadian PR pros internalize when it comes to negotiations.
“We are open and tolerant, which makes us good listeners, empathetic, and able to engage in meaningful conversations,” says Leslie Wood
, director of communications for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
“I believe we’re a little more humble; we don’t assume we have the right answers all the time,” says Heather Rourke
, a public relations senior consultant. “We bring more than one perspective to the table, especially if you work in Ottawa [the nation’s capital] and have to think in French and English and produce everything for very different cultures.”
We’re tough in the corners.
A post about Canadian PR pros wouldn’t be complete without a hockey reference. Canadians may be polite, but they’re willing to fight for the puck, observes Jeff Esposito
“Canadians are hard-nosed and look for ways to work themselves into a story. They also are good at saying no; I could see that translating to clients who want them to do something that they are against.”
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