Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

How to Be a Less Ugly American: The U.S. government, in partnership with Keith Reinhard’s Business for Diplomatic Action, has developed guidelines for American executives living and working abroad, in an attempt to eliminate the “ugly American” stereotype.

I had the great pleasure of sharing a speaking platform with Keith in Athens a few months ago, and he’s a tremendous ambassador for the advertising business—an entertaining presentation almost had me convinced that advertising was worth saving. And his BDA initiative has an important role to play in improving the image of American companies—and of America—overseas.

The advice being offered to executives makes sense:
· Save the lectures for your kids. (Whatever your subject of discussion, let it be a discussion not a lecture. Justified or not, the US is seen as imposing its will on the world.)
· Think a little locally. (Remember, most people in the world have little or no interest in the World Series or the Super Bowl. What we call “soccer” is football everywhere else. And it’s the most popular sport on the planet.)
· Your religion is your religion and not necessarily theirs. (Religion is usually considered deeply personal, not a subject for public discussions.)

Personally, though, the best way to connect with overseas audiences is to explain that you didn’t vote for the current U.S. administration and that you agree that it current policies are, to be as diplomatic as possible about it, misguided.

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