From Boston to Sydney, and Back Again
It has been a heck of a week in Boston. The Red Sox won the World Series (and what a parade we had last weekend—the entire city seemed to be celebrating all week), we voted in a new Boston mayor for the first time in 20 years (congratulations, Marty Walsh), President Obama came to town, and our New England Patriots scored a season-high 55 points in their decisive victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday. And that’s notwithstanding the significant business stories involving local companies filing for IPOs, investments made, executive changes, layoffs, expansions and ground breakings. And while our local business, civic, political and sports environments give us much to discuss, consider and plan around, it’s good to have the opportunity to think globally and see things from another perspective.
That’s just what I did last month when I attended our semi-annual Public Relations Global Network conference, held in Sydney, Australia. Spending nearly a week with my exclusive network of PR firm colleagues from around the world (and being in a time zone 15 hours ahead of our own), allowed me to see things from a bigger picture perspective.
All things being equal, championship sports and a massive citywide celebration were the order of the day in Sydney as well. The 2013 NRL Grand Final occurred while we were there (congratulations, Sydney!) and the enormous International Fleet Review was also concurrent with our visit—we were able to see, from our conference room window, Prince Harry reviewing the troops, and at night, a spectacular fireworks and light show extravaganza on the Sydney Harbor that drew more than a million spectators into the city.
But on to more serious matters. Our participation and interaction with our colleagues put us on the spot with regard to questions about the government shutdown. Last week we heard from European members who wanted to share their opinion about government spying.
And yes, we all had many opportunities to discuss our industries, the fluctuations in business climate by country and region, the daily changes and opportunities in the communications field, and specifically the ways in which digital and social media are more or less important by country/market. Hearing about the similarities and differences in our businesses allows us to better represent our clients—especially, but not only, our global clients—with a keen understanding of the tensions, opportunities and sensitivities they face in other markets.
The internet has certainly created a global village. But sometimes, it’s important to be with your fellow villagers to truly appreciate what that means for our businesses and communities.