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The US Transcreation Project: How to Localize for Success

February 11, 2015 Bradford Group Administrator

US transcreation mapAt the Bradford Group, one thing we pride ourselves on is our expert ability to represent our clients not only in Nashville, but all across the US. We are constantly learning and honing our skills to reflect current media trends, both regionally and nationally, so that we have the best chance for success.

CCgroup, a PR company based in London, took note of our skillful approach to public relations and selected us to collaborate with them on their US Transcreation Project. They wanted to create a resource to help international marketers understand the idiosyncrasies of running PR campaigns across different regions of the US. We are very excited to be one of two firms chosen to represent the Southeast and contribute insight and experience on public relations practices in our region.

We submitted information for several different categories including media attitudes, cultural sensitivities and news, and we provided advice to better help international PR pros more effectively communicate with media in the Southeast. This information was then analyzed by CCgroup and compared to data from nine other U.S. regions. While there are some similarities in PR practices nationally, it’s clear that there are several major regional differences that would make a homogenous approach to media relations in the US ineffective.

The differences were most apparent in four areas:

Media personality

CCgroup asked participants to rank the cynicism of media in their region on a scale of 1-10. At the Bradford Group, we value a mutually beneficial relationship with the media. We work to understand their needs and then provide the right facts and details to build or enhance a story. Similarly, reporters in our region respond positively to well-crafted, thoughtful PR pitches and will discuss how to make a pitch even more successful.

With all of these things considered, we ranked our local media a 5. It’s a journalist’s job to be somewhat cynical in order to determine what is accurate and compelling, but journalists here also value building relationships. On the other side of the cynicism scale, scoring a 10, were journalists from New England, which Boston’s March Communications described as “cynical, perhaps even bordering on cranky.” That said, we work with many of the same New England media folk and haven’t found that to be the case. (Must be our Southern charm!)

media ranking by cynicism


It’s no secret that everyone in the South is just a little bit friendlier than your average U.S. citizen. Southern hospitality is alive and well, even in our professional lives. It’s not uncommon to meet a reporter for coffee or lunch to discuss a new source or stories they’re working on, but it’s not all business when we meet up. Discussing things other than work helps build and maintain strong relationships with the local media.

Our region is one of only three where influencer hospitality is still commonly practiced. In addition to the Southeast, journalists in the Pacific and South Atlantic regions are the most likely to accept an invitation to coffee or lunch.

Reporters in New England also accept and appreciate side events with PR firms, such as a media-friendly breakfast or happy hour. In other regions, such as West South Central or Mid-Atlantic, journalists more commonly reject invitations because they don’t want to be seen as biased or they’re just too busy to get away from their desks.

Localized Habits

The same cultural differences throughout the U.S. that we’re all familiar with carry over to area journalists and reporters. In general, things move slower and are more laid back in the South; we value face-to-face communication and relationship building. In New York, journalists rarely take a break from their mobile devices, even when in conversation, and it’s not uncommon to communicate with them solely via Twitter. On the West Coast, the vibe is casual—neckties are rare, even for television interviews.

Journalists across the U.S. value news that can be reported through a local lens. They will rarely pay attention to pitches that fail to localize a story. 

What’s considered news

Journalists across the U.S. value news that can be reported through a local lens. It’s important to know how it affects their audience, and they will rarely pay attention to pitches that fail to localize a story. That being said, each region still has its own tendencies when it comes to reporting news.

In the Southeast, hard news and human interest stories tend to get journalists’ attention. Technology dominates the news in the Pacific region, while the West South Central focuses on the local economy and weather. Major cities are much more likely to cover “pure” national or international news.


The US Transcreation Project provides invaluable information for international marketers. Content localization is critical to reach influencers and audiences, and thus critical for success. Thank you to CCgroup for including the Bradford Group in this awesome project. For more information, click here to view the US Transcreation Project website.

This project has also been covered by various news outlets, including PR Newser, The Holmes Report, Communicate Magazine and Overnight Bulldog Reporter.

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