Multilingual Business Communication

June 9, 2009

“From Great People to Great Performance”

Filed under: Lana Robignon — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 4:50 pm

That’s what Hudson, one of the leading consulting firms in the field of Human Resources, is all about. By aligning their expertise with the needs of their clients, they play a crucial role in many organisations worldwide.

The pace of business is accelerating: everything is continuously changing and developing. Businesses and markets are becoming increasingly complex. By recognising that people are the key to success, companies can become long-term winners. Attracting, developing and retaining the best people has therefore become a top priority in many organisations.

Hudson helps unleash that human potential. Not only do they offer recruitment and selection services, they want to provide their clients with global solutions, going from organisational and individual development to reward management. Their wide array of activities makes sure that they can offer any kind of service when the need arises.

Due to all of these reasons, I am proud to be starting my internship in two weeks at the Research & Development Department of Hudson, Ghent. Not only will it give me the opportunity to gain experience in a totally new field for me, it’s also quite exciting that the tools, designed in Ghent, will be used all over the world and in all Hudson companies. Knowing that I will soon be a part of that process makes me eager to start. I’m truly looking forward to it.

Lana Robignon


March 31, 2009

Make your customers feel at home: create the right mood…

Filed under: Ankie Dees, business communication, company, Lana Robignon, Maud Bonte — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:56 pm

What makes one gym more attractive than another? Most gyms have similar types of equipment, they all organize spinning classes and aerobic workouts, most of them have saunas and a solarium…

We think the answer to this question is the atmosphere. Whether or not you feel at ease in your fitness centre depends largely on the ambiance you can create. We believe that a comfortable, invigorating environment is an imperative to work out. People are no longer solely motivated by health considerations when visiting a gym. They want to enjoy the club feeling and want to be entertained. Music is a very important, if not the most important, element of creating a dynamic and diverting atmosphere. Creating the right vibe in your gym protects you from the pitfall many gyms are faced with: the dropping out of members. More than 46% of gym members do not renew their subscription. The VJ-Matic can be a valuable asset to help you reduce that number.

The VJ-Matic answers just the needs that any manager of a gym may have. With the VJ-Matic full rental package you have access to 3500 of the latest songs and 1000 video clips. This surely will be enough to create just the right mood for your customers: lounge in the morning, pop rock in the afternoon, R’n’B in the evening.

Included in the price aredjmatic-klein

  • the rent of a powerful computer, one that can stand a good deal
  • the user friendly VJ-Matic interface
  • 3500 songs and 1000 video clips
  • a monthly update of the latest songs
  • full technical service within 24 hrs, a replacement PC if necessary

An extra plus: no need to worry about copyright. All kinds of royalties are included in the price.

The VJ-Matic: A win-win situation for every party involved!

Lana Robingon, Ankie Dees and Maud Bonte

March 27, 2009

Railway stations get a new name: “het Station”

Filed under: Lana Robignon, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:34 pm

het Station1.3 million Euros. That’s the price tag to come up with a new brand name for the railway stations in Belgium. According to the SNCB holding, train stations have become important intersections and are of real social importance. The name, “het Station”, needs to emphasise their new strategy.

To launch this new kind of railway station, the holding decided to invest in an image analysis. The market research institute Think/BBDO researched how commuters and customers experience the railway adventure and how they see the ideal railway station. Apparently, customers found it important that a railway station is dynamic and efficient, a place were you can save time. A place were one can shop, relax and still make it home on time. The stations who already live up to these expectations can now show off 4 colourful flags and a sign with the brand name displayed at the entrance.

However, this initiative, despite of it’s good intentions, seems to provoke some negative reactions, especially amongst travellers and commuters. Since the announcement of a new railway time table in December 2008, more than 1100 complaints have reached the ombudsman.

Spending millions of Euros on an image campaign and adding more shops to railway stations, without improving the infrastructure and travel connections, seems to be a bit wasteful. On average, people want to spend as little as time possible when commuting. They do not wish to shop till they drop after a hard day’s work. They do not want to sit and wait because their train is delayed, once again. They want to travel in comfortable trains. Instead of investing in these trigger zones, it seems the holding has spent too much money on a name that anyone of us could have come up with. Hopefully, the transformation will be more drastic than just a name change and more shopping facilities.


November 20, 2008

The age of transparency: blog your layoffs

Filed under: employee communication, Lana Robignon — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:49 pm

Blogging has become a force to be reckoned with. Its popularity can be mainly attributed to the fact that it gives a voice to pretty much anyone who has an opinion about something. It has proven to be a useful tool in promoting products and services, building relationships and creating buzz. But blogs have also created some new challenges, especially for managers.

Professional bloggers (yes, they do exist) are closely monitoring companies and their blogs. Combine this with the fact that the Internet is filled with sites that encourage employees to sound off about their employers and share workplace rumours, and you have a recipe for communication leaks. Where layoffs were mostly a private affair in the past, times are indeed changing. In the age of transparency, layoffs are now being blogged. Bad communication you say? Certain CEO’s claim to have no other choice but to blog their layoffs. In order to counteract inaccurate information, they prefer to blog about it themselves, even if this means that certain employees have not yet been told they are going to lose their jobs.

To me, this seems to be a cop out by the management. Our lives have become so intertwined with the Internet that we see it as an answer to everything. It is true that companies can’t dig their heads in the sand and stubbornly ignore the age of the Internet. Nor can they control what bloggers are saying about their company. But, companies can control how they react to rumours and if and where they get validated. Decency and corporate culture should remain the focus of business communication. When faced with rumours, personal communication with employees through the management team still remains the most effective mode of operation in my view. Sharing information by using internal channels such as phone, e-mail or even personal meetings (gasp!) before posting layoff news on a blog, engages employees and shows that you respect them.  

(Lana Robignon)

Source: “In Era of Blog Sniping, Companies shoot first” (Claire Cain Miller, 4/11/2008)

October 23, 2008

Battle of the brands

Filed under: Lana Robignon, marketing communication — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:04 pm

When Windows Vista was introduced, Bill Gates shouted: “the wow starts now!”. Several months later, it seems the wow is reduced to a sigh of desperation. The American specialist journal PC World calls the new operating system the biggest technological disappointment of the year. Oil was poured on the fire when Microsoft announced to invest millions of dollars into the Vista marketing campaign. These advertisement efforts created quite a buzz, admittedly a rather negative buzz since the ads didn’t really say anything about the product itself, but a buzz nonetheless.

Apple, Microsoft’s major competitor, gratefully jumped on the opportunity to base their marketing campaign ‘get a Mac’ on Microsoft’s problems. The new spots, featuring “PC” and “Mac”, are overtly making fun with Microsoft’s high-profile ad campaign and their bug-and-glitch problems concerning Vista. These commercials are all about comparative advertising and make the point that Microsoft is spending too much money and effort in advertising Vista and not enough in fixing its bugs.

Is this an example of clever marketing by using popular elements like humour and relevant, recognisable issues or is it just mean-spirited and overtly negative competitive advertising?

Check out the ads and decide for yourselves.

(Lana Robignon)

Fortis celebrates!

Filed under: crisis communication, Lana Robignon — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 11:25 am

In times of economic recession, panic reactions and all-round anxiety, some peculiar news reached our ears in the last couple of weeks. Whilst Fortis needed to be bailed out by not only one, but three governments for a mere sum of 11 billion Euros, Fortis Insurance Belgium thought it to be a good idea to go through with their planned exclusive culinary event. This networking event took place in the most expensive hotel of Monaco, with a price tag of 150.000 Euros.

Fortis’ reaction was clear: the trip to Monaco was planned months before the crisis burst out and was part of a commercial action. Marketing communication in hard times. It is true that Fortis can definitely use some good commercial actions to generate cash flow. They’ve put the idea “you have to spend money to make money” into practice.

This raises the questions: which group of stakeholders is more important to Fortis: the big investors or the average Joe in the street? This event may have appealed to 50 big investors, but what effect will this have on the general public? Does this restore the confidence? Blog reactions all over the internet may suggest that this situation hasn’t done the reputation of Fortis any good.

An effective marketing communication strategy in order to attract new investors or hypocritical behaviour that alienates clients?

(Lana Robignon)


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