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Posted on 4 February 2022 by Ceris Burns

Making an Olympian effort to be better international communicators

‘Together for a Shared Future’ is the official motto of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, Beijing 2022, focusing on our role as international communicators.

The slogan represents the power of the Games to overcome global challenges by working together, especially given the difficulties faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The chosen wording “emphasises unity and a collective effort, embodying the core values and vision of the Olympic Movement, and the goal of pursuing world unity, peace and progress.”

The responsibility to build a better world is one we all share, and public relations has a key role to play in driving change and helping us to communicate better internationally. Whether it’s uniting against climate change, tackling a global pandemic, fighting poverty, building relationships or achieving business objectives, the world needs clear communications more than ever right now.

Public relations covers a wide range of activities, from media relations, corporate communications, digital marketing, community engagement, internal communications, media training and crisis response. It helps brands, organizations, charities, celebrities, and sportspeople communicate clearly and internationally, be it to boards, customers, investors, or citizens.

Today there is also growing recognition that languages play a vital role in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, and in strengthening international co-operation and inclusive societies.

 Making international connections

To build effective international connections, brands must be prepared to do thorough research, in order to understand the local context within the countries and regions they wish to communicate in. There can be no single strategy for your communications, media relations or stakeholder management to be replicated in different countries. What works beautifully in one country may fail spectacularly in another.

Authentic and culturally relevant communications, developed and delivered by expert communicators with deep understanding of international markets will play a key role in capturing interest and gaining trust.

If you’re planning to reach global communities, and marketing to an audience that doesn’t speak English as its first language then you should translate your content for that country. You’re much more likely to communicate your message successfully if this is done in the audiences’ native tongue.

However, sharing information with international audiences in their language is more complicated than straight translation. Different communication styles and cultural references need to be considered. It is often not possible to say exactly the same thing in another language, particularly when you are marketing an idea, product or service. To ensure the message resonates well in a different cultural context, it may require the text to be recreated, taking into account variations in meaning and culture, in a process known as transcreation.

Tailoring digital content 

The growth in digital communication, means information has become more accessible and quicker to obtain across the world. However, not every country’s most popular platform is Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. You should ensure you know the most relevant social network for the country and audience you are targeting. In China, for example, platforms include Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo, and there are plenty more platforms to choose from internationally, depending upon your audience.

Multilingual content is just as important online as it is offline. In fact, UNESCO encourages us to support linguistic diversity and multilingualism in the digital world and it has launched a World Atlas of Languages to celebrate, promote and protect this.

Building bridges

With the right advisers at your side, international communication is not as daunting or complicated as you might think it is! Whilst we must celebrate and encourage diversity and multilingualism, we can also be a closer, kinder world by recognising that globally we have many shared goals, challenges and commonalties. So, as we watch the Winter Olympics, and unite in celebrating spectacular sporting achievements, it’s also time to collectively challenge ourselves too – in the race to be better international communicators.

To find out more about how we can help you successfully engage with audiences nationally and internationally, let’s talk!



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