Multilingual Business Communication

April 10, 2009

The newest evolution in the gingerbread tradition: Belgian Ginger Bread

lalorAt the moment, a true gingerbread revival is taking place in Belgium and in The Netherlands. Both countries have had a long, much cherished tradition with gingerbread cookies or “speculaas”. The overwhelming success of the launch of gingerbread paste in 2008 however, caused the popularity of the gingerbread taste to reach unknown heights.

Following the cookies and the paste, La Lorraine, the largest Belgian-based producer and distributor of bakery and pastry products, has taken the next step in the evolution of gingerbread products: “Belgian Ginger Bread” (also known as “speculaasbrood”).

What is “Belgian Ginger Bread” exactly? Well, it’s a bread that already has gingerbread dough mixed into it. This way, consumers no longer have to make the effort to apply extra spread, they can immediately dig in!

To achieve this unique recipe, La Lorraine worked together with a traditional bakery from Hasselt. This bakery specialises in producing gingerbread cookies which assures the excellent ginger taste of the Belgian Ginger Bread.

This post probably already makes your mouth water! Well, then we’ll have to ask you to muster patience a little longer. The Belgian Ginger Bread will be available in supermarkets yearly from 15 October to 31 December.

(Vanessa Vanleene, Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren, Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer, Sander Laridon)



Abimo, where fantasy and reality meet

Filed under: Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren, internship — Tags: , , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:57 am

abimo-logo1As a publishing house concentrating on books for children, Abimo Uitgeverij has two main interests. The first is to deliver educational material for teachers and parents. Abimo Uitgeverij in this respect exceeds the offers of average publishing houses: namely, it not only sells books, but also entire educational concepts. What can be understood by this exactly? Well, this particular service for instance includes what are called “techniek torens”, colourful towers which contain ready prepared courses for teachers, and which moreover include the materials needed to teach the classes. Other offers in this domain are “piramide” and “taaltrapeze.”


Of course, on the other hand Abimo Uitgeverij also publishes literary books for children. Contrary to what might be expected of such a young company, it has already been successful in attracting many renowned writers. Authors such as Dirk Bracke, Karel Verleyen, Maria Heylen, Marc De Bel, Guy Didelez and Patrick Bernauw have had books published by Abimo Uitgeverij.


During my internship at this company, I will get the chance to work on many challenging projects. I will not only be active in the area of external communication, but I will also help establish partnerships and promote new books, edit texts and translate books.



Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren

April 9, 2009

NMBS finally to roll out the red carpet for its customers?

Filed under: crisis communication, Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren — Tags: , , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:57 pm


nmbs1Have you ever been frustrated in travelling the Belgian railways because of delays, wrong information or sudden changes in timetables? Well, you’re certainly not the only one. This week it was announced that during the last year 5,518 complaints about the company’s train transport were taken down, a new record.


Unfortunately, problems with NMBS transport not only lie with its deficient services but also with its lack of effective communication. The company’s complaints person states that even internally the communication process is anything but flawless. Ticket inspectors themselves in many cases are not well enough informed, let alone they could ever distribute correct information to the customers.


You would think this news in itself puts the railway company in a sufficient amount of bad daylight, but even to these negative reports its representatives react in a deficient way. Instead of acknowledging that there is a problem, not to say problems, they only list a whole number of excuses. It is clearly high time for the NMBS to take action and realise that it needs to roll out the red carpet for its customers instead of scaring them off to other, more reliable, means of transport.




To express your dissatisfaction with the NMBS’s transport, visit


Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren



“Spoorweg moet lat hoger leggen” by Peter Vandermeersch. De Standaard 8 April 2009, p. 2.

“Reiziger geeft spoorwegen slechte punten” by Tom Ysebaert. De Standaard 8 April 2009, p. 9.

“Recordaantal klachten bij NMBS”. Metro 8 April 2009, p. 1.$FILE/Druk_perron.JPG  (Photo platform)  (photo logo)

Here, have a bonus…just don’t forget to give it back!

Filed under: employee communication, Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren — Tags: , , , , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 5:42 pm


 Before the recent economic crisis hit, additional bonuses for top employees of big companies were an everyday occurrence. However, now that the economic landscape has changed drastically, their existence has come under great criticism. The recent debate was initiated by AIG’s spending of 165 million dollars on bonuses, while having just received a financial injection of 170 billion dollars from the U.S. government. This incident not only rightfully raised questions in the U.S., but also triggered a wave of protest in countries such as The Netherlands, France and Sweden.


Companies are more and more pressured by their governments and by the public to do away with such excessive spendings. Especially since the companies that are awarding expensive bonuses are often simultaneously firing employees and having a difficult time to survive altogether. Because of all these complications, it seems a new trend has set sail: asking employees to give back earned bonuses. It first happened in the U.S., where already 15 out of 20 AIG employees promised to reimburse their royal payments. Soon companies such as ING asked their top employees to do the same. Granted the immorality of awarding excessive bonuses, questions can be raised considering the way in which this problem is currently being dealt with. Should it really be possible for companies to ask their employees to give back the money they offered them more than a year ago in some cases? And just how far should employers be allowed to take this new initiative?



Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren



“Topmanagers AIG geven bonus terug”. Metro 25 March 2009, p.7.

“ING vraagt bonussen over 2008 terug aan 1.200 toplui”. De Morgen 24 March 2009, p.27.

“Nederland wil exuberante bonussen aanpakken”. Metro 24 March 2009, p.6.  (photo)

November 2, 2008

Where will Louis take you?

Filed under: Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren, marketing communication — Tags: , , , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:26 am


French luxury brand Louis Vuitton has been doing its best to establish itself as a universal fashion force to be reckoned with. And what better way of doing this than by launching a website and various marketing campaigns that promote travelling? However, after working with print ads for years, the company decided that “it was time to speak through a new medium.” Therefore Louis Vuitton launched a TV commercial that carries the name “Where will life take you?”, at the beginning of this year. In this commercial various images from all around the world are displayed. These no doubt aim to strengthen the company’s modern and cosmopolitan image, and they most certainly achieve that goal.




But for Louis Vuitton, exploring a new medium does not necessarily mean that the old marketing method is abandoned. As is stated on its website, Vuitton wishes to “communicate in two different, but complimentary ways.” That second way is the basis of the company’s steady ‘Core Values’ campaign. A campaign to which new names have frequently been added over the last year, the latest asset being actor Sean Connery. As does the ‘Where will life take you’ commercial, it aims to display Vuitton’s passion towards travelling, therefore the new strapline reads: “There are journeys that turn into legends. Bahamas islands, 10:07.” Just like the French company’s preceding celebrity ads, this one too will be featured excessively on its web pages, not only including pictures, but interactive menus as well. So keep an eye on that Louis Vuitton website!


 Gerlinde Van Hauwermeiren



« Een Legende in de Bahamas » by Peter Van Dyck. Jobat 31 October 2008, p. 37. (photo)



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