Insights from abroad – Frankfurt meets London
This Blog Post by Marisa Puschmann, from Adel & Link (Germany).
Thanks to our membership in the Brands2Life Global Network, I got the chance to be part of the Brands2Life office in buzzing London. For two weeks, I had the great opportunity to get to know first-hand how PR and communications work in the UK – for a great variety of clients in the B2B and B2C landscape.
Coming from a squad of 10 to a team of about 100 people is an interesting experience. What I found particularly inspiring was the number of brainstorms that took place in various different ways. Due to the variety of topics, different clients and people, it was exciting to hear so many different ideas and opinions. As Adel & Link work for clients in very different fields, receiving input and approaches from people living and working in another country is always helpful and offers great insights and new perspectives. This is one reason it is great to spend some time abroad and especially work in another country.
Overall, I think that we approach communications in quite a similar way, as Louise from Brands2Life already noticed when she visited our agency in September this year. Small details such as the excitement of a successfully pitched story and seeing the results in the media, are the same at Brands2Life as they are at Adel&Link, and most probably in many other agencies around the world. I’m sure this is something everyone working in PR can empathise with – it’s what makes it so easy to connect quickly with people abroad and exchange experiences.
One very interesting experience abroad that differs to our work in Germany was meeting a journalist without a specific reason, purely for relationship building. To meet a journalist for lunch or drinks after work is not common in Germany. I was lucky to join one of the Brands2Life colleagues when meeting up with a tech journalist for a drink. As addressing journalists in Germany is still usually rather formal, this was definitely different. Although we are connected broadly and speak regularly to many journalists and editors, so far we do not meet them for lunch – but I think we could give it a try! The challenge however is that German media is not based in one city. All the important media is spread around Germany – from the north in Hamburg, to the south in Munich, centrally in Frankfurt and the east with Berlin. It is not easy to catch up with a journalist working for a lifestyle magazine in Munich when your agency is based in Frankfurt, because it is a three hour ride by train.
But the rise of social media gives us the opportunity to approach journalists in more ways than before – as I found out, it is already common in England to contact journalists via Twitter for example. More and more German journalists use social networks for their work, as studies show. 79% say that they use Social Media on a daily basis for career purposes, 64% spend up to 2 hours per day online and 55% say that those tools changed their work fundamentally. Although 51% fear that the internet undermines their journalistic values, 43% believe they work more efficient when using it. Plus, research shows the more time journalists spend on social networks, the more they emphasise the positive aspects of it.
Still, there is a variety of things to consider and cultural differences are absolutely important. For example, many Germans are very security conscious and reluctant when it comes to new payment solutions – cash is still the preferred payment method: 65 % of all transactions are still cash payments. In contrast to Great Britain where paying cashless and contactless is more common and accepted. When working for a client in the finance or banking sector, it is always important to keep differences in mind. Sharing such insights with colleagues abroad is always helpful and an additional information that might be useful during the next pitch or client meeting. Having the opportunity to work together with other agencies around the world is important to offer your clients international expertise and experts in different countries.
Having the opportunity to be part of a global network is important, as you can offer your clients your growing international knowledge and expert partners from different countries.
And finally, to eliminate some preconceptions – they say it always rains in England. Well, I did not need my umbrella once in more than two weeks in London! 🙂
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