Multilingual Business Communication

April 9, 2009

Ghent University wants to win their students’ hearts and minds

Filed under: Hannelore Blomme, marketing communication, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:09 pm

You cannot miss it: Ghent University is conquering the city. With the help of a huge marketing campaign using the slogan ‘dare to think’, the university aims to attract new students, but also to evoke a sense of pride amongst students, professors and alumni. The campaign involves huge posters visible everywhere in the city: at nearly every bus station, inside every tram and bus and at railway stations. Moreover, ads can be found in newspapers and magazines. And the top of the bill: a huge interactive screen was placed at the ‘Zuid’ square in the centre of the city. Passers-by are invited to give their opinion about bold statements.


The sentence ‘Dare to think’ is very cunningly chosen: it can easily be adapted in a very creative way: examples are ‘Dare to choose’, ‘Dare to read between the lines’, etc.

Some may comment that it is not really clear to whom the campaign is directed, but does that matter? The aim is to improve the university’s image in everybody’s mind: members of the university, members of other universities, inhabitants of the city, alumni, etc. I think the campaign is very original and I hope it wins many prizes!

One minor detail, though: the slogan in Dutch, ‘Durf Denken’, actually contains a mistake against Dutch grammar. The ANS (Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst) sais you need a ‘te’ in your sentence after a conjugated form of durven. It should be ‘durf te denken’. (There are exceptions, but in this case, ‘te’ is absolutely needed, check out However, in Belgium almost everybody ignores that rule anyway, so I really don’t mind… as long as it sounds catchy, which it does!


April 7, 2009

ArcelorMittal: when two giants merge

Filed under: crisis communication, employee communication, Hannelore Blomme, internship — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:53 pm

401-1-3-arcelormittal_logo1In 2007, Mittal Steel, a leading Indian steel company, offered to buy Arcelor, a European steel producer, for no less than 26.8 billion euros. Arcelor agreed, and a few months later, ArcelorMittal was born.

Mittal Steel had tried to buy Arcelor in January that year already, but at that point, Arcelor had rejected the offer: they didn’t like the idea of an indian management and feared that the indian steel was inferior to theirs. Later that year, Mittal doubled its offer, and Arcelor had to agree for fear of a shareholder’s revolt. The combined company is world the leading steel production company, with a capacity of more than three times that of its main rival, the Japanese Nippon Steel.

This merger didn’t only change the global steel production landscape thoroughly, it is also a highly interesting case of a merger where two entirely different corporate cultures had to blend into one. A whole new brand identity was created, with a new logo, a new motto (“transforming tomorrow”), new values and a new mission. But how was this communicated towards employees? Mainly with the help of a website, Employees from all over the world on all hierarchic levels could go there, watch videos about the progress in the merger process, and write comments on a blog. Moreover, they could ask questions directly to the new CEO, mr. Laksmi Mittal.

In my opinion, this is a very interesting case of internal communication in times of change. The merger was a huge risk, but it turned out to be successful, and I think this is mainly owing to the well considered communication policy. If you ask me, many companies can learn from it!

Source: The New York Times

April 2, 2009

How to convince retailers

Filed under: company, Febe Corthals, Hannelore Blomme, marketing communication, Ruth Broekaert, Trui Lagae, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:22 pm

Supermarkets are being offered new products every day. Each product launch, however, entails risks for retailers. Will customers like it? Won’t other products suffer from cannibalization? And where can the new product find a spot in an already crowded shop?

Preparation is key. In order to convince retailers to start selling your new product, you need a combination of well-conceived arguments and tangible proof that the product will sell.

afbeelding12PIDY, an industrial bakery, often launches new pastry products. While creating a sales letter and sales presentation for their new Spoonette, an edible spoon, we tried to find that perfect combination of arguments and evidence to persuade retailers. Three arguments should convince any critic: the original concept, the good quality and the special packaging. It is no coincidence that we have chosen precisely three arguments: this usually sounds more comprehensible and persuasive. To support these arguments, we put forward that the Spoonette was awarded first prize at the SIAL Food Fair in Paris. This evidence gives sales people more credibility and is therefore of vital importance in convincing retailers.

February 10, 2009

NetGeners on the workfloor: what to expect and how to treat them

Filed under: employee communication, Hannelore Blomme — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:58 pm

In times of crisis, the new generation of workforce, often called ‘the Millenials’, ‘Generation Y’ or ‘the Net Generation’, are finding it hard to settle in their jobs. The problem is that they prefer an open and collaborative style, as opposed to the command-and-control model managers prefer in times of crisis.

These managers, however, should not forget the value of the newcomers in the labour market. For instance, as these youngsters are familiar with social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, they are experts in creating buzz among their peers. They are also very flexible, and willing to move to other countries or work overtime. And they are experts at doing different things at a time. Managers had better do efforts to keep them motivated, as workloads are getting tougher. Above all, they should give them regular feedback about their performance, as NetGeners typically thrive on feedback. A new computer application, called ‘Rypple’, has been especially designed for that purpose.

sources: the Economist: Generation Y goes to work
the Economist: the Rypple effect

October 27, 2008

Businessmen of all countries, unite!

Filed under: crisis communication, Hannelore Blomme — Tags: — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:18 pm

If you thought the financial crisis is destructive for every single industry in the world, there is one business you might have forgotten: the one linked to Marxist economic philosophy. The German publisher Karl Dietz says it has sold over 1,500 copies of Karl Marx’ Das Kapital this year, compared to some 200 in other years. The book had fallen terribly out of favour in the post-Soviet years, but now, according to Joern Schuetrumpf from Karl Dietz, “there’s a younger generation of academics tackling hard questions and looking to Marx for answers.” Bookshops nationwide report an increase in sales of 300% during the last months. Whether all buyers will succeed in reading the book from cover to cover is, however, another question, since the book is hardly a “pageturner”.

It’s true, capitalism has – at least partially – proved to be a failure. But is Marxism really the only alternative? Adherents should face it: history has proved that communism almost always leads to repression and low living standards. And really, if you had the choice between going through a financial crisis or running the risk to be sent to a concentration camp, the choice is easily made, isn’t it? What do you say?

Hannelore Blomme

Source: BBC

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