Multilingual Business Communication

April 6, 2009

What PR can do for a brand.

Filed under: internship, Kirsten De Weerdt — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:14 pm

In most academic books and definitions worldwide, PR – Public Relations – is seen as a part of the corporate mix. They all define PR as managing the reputation of an organisation or company by influencing positively the opinion of its public. However, PR is becoming an important part of the marketing mix, because brands also need a good reputation! So, PR is not only limited to companies in general, but it can also be used for their brands.

Interel, a European strategic communications and public affairs consultancy, has a ‘Brand and Communications’ department that deals with PR for brands.

Here are some of the strategic roles for brand PR:

  • to raise awareness, to establish the new brand proposition at launch
  • to enhance reputation and develop image
  • to improve brand relevance
  • to reinforce a brand’s content via independent experts, opinion formers and consumers
  • to deepen consumer understanding of specific brand benefits
  • to project a brand’s values, personality, essence by targeting the core consumer group


(Kirsten De Weerdt)


Lecture on building brand reputation through PR by Ms. Laurence Grevesse, associate director at Interel PR & PA


April 5, 2009

Bad commercials make good TV programs.

Filed under: Kirsten De Weerdt, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:45 am

Nowadays, you are hardly able to get around commercials. When watching your favourite TV show, you already know that it is going to be interrupted several times because of commercial breaks. Don’t we all prefer to watch television programs without commercials? However, who would have guessed that these commercials actually improve our television viewing experience?

In a recent study, researchers in consumer behavior showed that commercial interruptions make TV programs more enjoyable to watch. It does sound rather strange, but the researchers have a plausible explanation and confirmed their theories with several experiments. Apparently, when consumers are watching TV, their enjoyment decreases over time because they get used to it. Commercials can disrupt this adaption process and restore the intensity of consumers’ enjoyment. The experiments showed that even though people preferred to avoid commercial interruptions, these interruptions actually made programs more enjoyable.

(Kirsten De Weerdt)

April 4, 2009

Wanted: Cyberellas

Filed under: crisis communication, employee communication, Kirsten De Weerdt — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:22 pm

Nowadays, the sector of ICT – information and communication technologies – is still dominated by men. You can hardly find any women in this business. However, the sector could surely use some female IT specialists because there is a large ICT skills shortage.

In Europe, there is a shortage of 100,000 IT specialists. Moreover, this number is expected to reach 300,000 by 2010. The European Commission believes that the jobs in technology should be more appealing for women, so that female IT specialists, also called cyberellas, could fill the gap.

The European Commission would like to set an example and  is setting up a campaign to promote ICT among females. On the 3rd of March, there was a conference named “Cyberellas are IT” where the European Commission received a signed Code for Best Practices for Women in ICT by some of the major actors in the ICT sector such as Microsoft and Motorola. The Code aims to attract women at schools and universities to the high-tech sector, but tries also to retain and promote women already working in the ICT sector. The European Commission also organized a series of “Shadowing days” to show young females that technology is not at all “strictly for geeks/men!” 

Just take a look and see if you are convinced that we can all do IT!


(Kirsten De Weerdt)

April 2, 2009

Cities turn into stars thanks to Sultan Sushi!

Filed under: Anja Peleman, company, Jana Mahieu, Karen Decabooter, Kirsten De Weerdt — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:08 am

Nowadays, an increasing number of city governments are discovering the benefits of promoting their city. Therefore, it is not surprising that city marketing is gaining more importance. Most city marketing projects mainly focus on attracting tourists and investors. Think of the city Hasselt, that wants to present itself as ‘The city of taste’ to attract tourists. However, we can ask ourselves whether tourists and investors are really the most important target groups of a city.

ss2 Sultan Sushi, a Belgian production company, believes in another city marketing strategy by mainly focusing on inhabitants. Since they are the producers of the popular television program Fata Morgana, they want to translate this Fata Morgana concept into a creative city marketing project. For those who are not familiar with the program: in Fata Morgana, citizens were challenged to fulfil five assignments in order to win stars for their city.

Sultan Sushi would like to provoke the same emotions and togetherness between the inhabitants with their new city marketing project.  The main difference is that  the assignments will  focus on social responsibility, so the result will be something permanent and beneficial for the inhabitants.

We are looking forward to witness their first city marketing project. Cities, seize this unique opportunity!

(Karen Decabooter, Kirsten De Weerdt, Jana Mahieu, Anja Peleman)

November 1, 2008

‘Do you wanna touch?’

Filed under: crisis communication, Kirsten De Weerdt, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 4:10 pm


Computer giant Hewlett Packard recently launched a new PC called the ‘SmartTouch’. In order to promote this touch-screen PC, HP put together a TV commercial with a great soundtrack namely “Do you wanna touch?” sung by US rocker Joan Jett. It seemed a solid piece of advertising work.



However, only a few days later HP pulled the ad from television. Why, you may wonder?

The song was originally written by the legendary pop star Gary Glitter. But, this man is actually a notorious sex offender and a convicted paedophile. It wasn’t that long ago that he returned to the UK after spending 27 months in a Vietnam jail for committing obscene acts with minors. At least 19 countries have refused to admit him, therefore he had little choice but to return to Britain where he is currently on the sex offenders register. His records are never played on UK radio any more because of his sex convictions.

So, it is logical that the TouchSmart ad with the “Do you wanna touch?” song caused a lot of commotion. Moreover, since Gary Glitter is the songwriter of this song, he would collect all the royalties which are estimated at £100,000. Of course, a lot of people were very upset. Outraged campaigners in the US immediately demanded that HP dropped the TV ads containing the Glitter song. The US campaign group ChildAbuseWatch even called for a boycott of all Hewlett Packard products until HP resolved the matter.

HP took this matter very seriously and immediately announced that all the relevant advertising would be withdrawn in the UK and that the issue would be urgently reviewed in other companies. A few days later, the ad was pulled from TV and replaced by the following one:


(Kirsten De Weerdt)

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