How to Break into the USA with PR

In the ever-evolving world of business, expanding into international markets is often a coveted goal for UK brands. The United States, with its vast consumer base and economic potential, is a prime destination. However, history has taught us that success in the US market is not guaranteed, and careful consideration is required. In this blog post, we explore why breaking into the USA with PR demands expert care, highlighting the cultural and systemic differences that can make or break your endeavour.

1. Make sure you address the unique cultural landscape

A common misconception is that the US market is merely a larger version of the UK. Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States boasts a rich tapestry of cultures, attitudes, and subcultures that can vary significantly from region to region. Understanding these nuances is crucial to tailor your PR efforts effectively.

Diverse Demographics: The US is home to diverse communities, including women, people of colour, and disadvantaged populations. Each group has unique needs and sensitivities that must be acknowledged in your PR campaigns.

Attitudes towards fashion, alcohol, and food: Cultural differences extend to lifestyle choices. Americans have distinct preferences when it comes to fashion, alcohol, and food. Adapting your messaging to align with these preferences is essential for success. 

For example many brands have made their decision to focus on alcohol consumption in the youth market, but actually many universities in the USA are completely alcohol free, despite what the movies actually depict.

2. Choose an agency to help understand the regulatory complexity

The US is renowned for its complex regulatory environment, from tax laws to industry-specific regulations. Navigating this intricate web requires expert knowledge to ensure compliance and avoid costly pitfalls. An agency with boots on the ground in the USA can make sure any risk is mitigated.

3. Don’t underestimate the market size and PR costs

The USA is a colossal market, which presents both opportunities and challenges. PR fees in the US are typically higher than in the UK, reflecting the competitive landscape and the scale of the market. Expert PR agencies understand how to maximise value but should warn you if your budget is shooting too low and won’t have any impact.

4. Understand the media landscape

Despite its size, the US has fewer media outlets compared to the UK and Europe. This scarcity means that competition for media attention is fierce. Crafting compelling narratives and targeting the right media channels are crucial elements of a successful PR strategy.

5. Managing expectations for results

It’s essential to set realistic expectations when venturing into the US market with PR. Some clients may hope to secure immediate coverage on major networks like CNN or NBC. While these opportunities are undoubtedly valuable, they are highly competitive and must be earned over time.

PR in the United States is a crowded field, with brands worldwide vying for media attention. Building a strong profile and reputation is a gradual process that requires patience and persistence.

6. The significance of a US presence

One critical aspect often underestimated is the importance of having a US-based office or spokesperson. Establishing a physical presence in the United States signals a commitment to the market and demonstrates seriousness to both media outlets and consumers.

Not having a US office can give the impression that a company is not fully dedicated to breaking into the US market, potentially hindering PR efforts. Investing in a local presence can be a strategic move that pays dividends in the long run, enhancing your brand’s credibility and accessibility.

How to choose an agency in the USA – our ‘One Network’ approach

At PR Agency One, we recognise the complexities of breaking into the US market. Our ‘One Network’ approach, with offices in more than 20 countries, offers you the expertise needed to navigate these challenges effectively.

  • Global Reach: Our network spans major economies across Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America, ensuring you have a local presence wherever you go.
  • Tailored Strategies: We employ a hub-and-spoke approach, creating a global strategy that is customized for each territory. This approach leverages local expertise to account for unique cultural nuances.
  • Efficiency and Cost Savings: One Network streamlines the process, reducing account management complexity and costs. Our “follow the sun” model ensures 24/7 service without additional staffing expenses.
  • Skilled Project Managers: Our international campaigns are led by project managers who excel in managing multiple teams simultaneously, ensuring timely and budget-friendly campaign delivery.
  • Measurement and Reporting: Measuring the success of international campaigns can be challenging, but our measurement team provides a unified view for cohesive reporting across markets.

Breaking into the US market with PR demands more than a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires a deep understanding of the cultural, regulatory, and market-specific nuances that set the US apart. With the expert care of PR Agency One’s ‘One Network,’ you can navigate these complexities and position your brand for success in the land of opportunity.

For more information or to discuss your international PR needs, please contact us at:

  • Manchester: 0161 951 5399
  • London: 0207 458 4162

Let us help you make your mark in the United States.

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