When we start working with new clients that have a desire to be in multiple countries, we’re pretty much always asked, what the differences are in the different countries.

Well, there are some obvious things to consider when we talk about public relations and marketing – language, time zones, currency etc. Most of our clients get that objective, measureable difference. 

It’s relatively easy to explain that the leading newspaper in China (Reference News, also known by its Chinese name Caokao Xiaoxi) has a circulation of 3.25 million, and in the UK, the largest circulation newspaper (The Sun) has 2.4 million. That said, however, the PR strategy needs to be different in these two countries as China has about 1,900 newspapers and a population of 1.1 billion adults reading them, where as the UK has about 100 newspapers* and an adult population of about 50 million.

Outside of the numbers, it’s the culture that is often so difficult to understand for companies marketing internationally.  Just because Coca-cola is sold in 200+ countries, Starbucks has about 5,500 coffeehouses in over 50 countries, and Apple can launch a new phone simultaneously in 22 countries, it doesn’t mean we’re all the same.

One of the only universal types of products sold in every countries (please do add your thoughts if you can think of others) is the weekly grocery shopping.  Photographer Peter Menzel started an intriguing series of one week of groceries from around the world, taking traditional food photography to a much larger scale.

Never has there been a more obvious way to show the differences around the world.  So the next time a client inquires why they need to customize their PR/marketing strategy for a new international market, we’re going to box up the weekly shopping contents and FedEx them over.

Here are three – guess which countries…


*  10 London-based national titles, 68 English regional dailies (mornings and evenings), nine Scottish dailies, six Welsh, three Northern Ireland titles plus the non-paid-for dailies.

* oh, you were looking for England, Japan and Guatamala!