Multilingual Business Communication

April 10, 2009

The ‘corporate affairs’ approach

Filed under: internship, Laura Moerman — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 9:40 am

Companies don’t stand alone. They’re interrelated with many different stakeholders: their employees, customers and shareholders, the media, authorities, their competitors and the political, social and academic world. To build up a good relationship with all of them, that’s no sinecure!

Whyte Corporate Affairs, a communications consultancy based in Brussels, provides its clients with communications advice, in support of their reputation, interests and business objectives. Clients can be both companies as institutions.


Whyte’s specific approach is to focus on that difficult relationship with various stakeholders. To realize good communication, the consultants often opt for an integrated application of different disciplines. Their so-called ‘corporate affairs’ approach consists of corporate communications, public affairs and crisis and issues management. Just the perfect blend to create a good reputation.

Starting from the end of this month till the end of May, I will work as an intern for Whyte Corporate Affairs. My job will partially consist of dealing with ongoing projects. By working on different projects for specific clients, I hope to discover the true nature of the ‘corporate affairs’ approach.

Laura Moerman


Filed under: crisis communication, Laura Moerman, Uncategorized — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 8:58 am

“I really hate my boss. Working long hours, hardly any breaks, having the feeling it’s never good enough and all that for just a pittance.”
“This hotel fell short of our needs. The service is very bad and the hotel rooms are smaller than our doghouse.”

“I used to be a true fan of this brand. Now their products only disappoint me.”

You don’t have to search too long to find lamentations like these on the Internet. We all know websites like Tripadvisor, Booking and Amazon, where you can give and read ratings for products and services. Apparently, managers and executives of big companies didn’t find their way to these applications yet. As their customers and employees keep on venting their gall on the World Wide Web, companies just don’t react.

According to Leslie Gaines-Ross, expert in reputation management, companies urgently have to surrender to the Internet. Especially those that would like to keep their reputations clean, often underestimate the power of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. In other words: they miss out on a great opportunity by not using Web 2.0 applications. Most of the top executives still work in the Web 1.0 mode and only use the Internet as a traditional search engine. Without even knowing, the reputation of their company could be in danger.web201

Potential job applicants or customers that are in doubt for two products, can easily find online advice. Whether those comments are pertinent or not, doesn’t really matter. Truth, exaggeration or flagrant lie: all news travels fast.

Companies have to interfere to preserve their reputation. If not, they may have to take the painful consequences. Ask Glenn Tilton, former boss of the American United Airlines, whose dismissal was caused by a website voting for his redundancy, especially designed by the United Airlines employees. Protect yourself from disasters like these and use web 2.0. It’s the link to reputation management!

Laura Moerman

April 9, 2009

Bossnapping, the latest trend in negotiating

Filed under: employee communication, Laura Moerman — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:00 pm

You got sacked? Don’t just agree with that decision. Fight for your position and try bosnapping!

Over the last month, several French executives were kidnapped in their own offices. Managers  at Sony, the electronics giant, 3M, the Scotch-tape manufacturer, Caterpillar, the heavy equipment specialist, and Michelin, the tyre maker, have all been locked up by employees.

Three managers were locked up in a meeting room of Fiat Brussels today. A group of employees held them there for several hours. The reason for their action was the recently announced dismissal of 24 of the 90 employees.


Were they inspired by the latest French negotiating method? We can at least say that the Belgian Fiat employees didn’t study too much on the bossnapping trend, because their French counterparts thought just a bit bigger. They dealt more roughly with their managers in order to receive an acceptable severance package and… with results! After a horrible night in their offices, two hungry and dishevelled Préciturn execs caved in and signed a € 149,000 cheque.

So, there’s still a long way to go for Belgian bossnapping. Or should we hope not?

Laura Moerman

March 25, 2009

Powder, your partner in cream?

Filed under: Charlotte De Ruytter, company, Laura Moerman, Sophie Naveau — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 10:53 am

Nowadays, powder is often used as a base for traditional ice cream. It does sound suspect, doesn’t it?
Using powder to create smooth ice cream seems new, but in the world of ice-cream professionals this technique is very common. You might have already enjoyed such an ice cream without even knowing it!

Everybody is familiar with Italy as the ice-cream country par excellence. The Italian brand Pregel, one of the pioneers in ice-cream bases, already has a well-established reputation in our country. As a distributor of the Pregel product, the Belgian dairy company Cowi has acquired expertise in this area. Cowi has now developped its own ice-cream powder: Oro d’Oro. This ice-cream base has been designed especially for the Belgian climate. As 30°C is rather rare in our country, ice cream needs to be more than a mere refreshment. To satisfy the Belgian consumers, ice cream therefore needs to be fuller and richer. Oro d’Oro fulfills these requirements.


Oro d’Oro powder guarantees tasty and smooth ice-cream. You see, powder is not a suspect, it’s a partner!

(Charlotte De Ruytter, Laura Moerman, Sophie Naveau, Nina Vermaesen)

October 31, 2008

Whassup Obama?

Filed under: Laura Moerman, marketing communication — Tags: , , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:16 pm

Only a few days away from the elections, the original cast from the succesful Whassup’ commercials is reunited to launch a sequel. Eight years ago, the commercials of American beer brand Budweiser were lauded for their sharpness and originality. You would maybe expect that this time the video will incorporate Stella Artois and Jupiler, since they’re currently all part of the Anheuser-Bush group. But apparently, the true aim of the new ‘Whassup?’ is not to sell more beers, but to gain votes for democratic candidate Barack Obama. The idea for the new video didn’t come from Anheuser-Bush, but from the former scenarist of the Bud commercials.

The original spots were aired in 2000, on the eve of Bush being elected. The Whassup? spots became an international hit and were awarded with several prices, such as the Cannes Grand Prix.

Now, eight years later, the Whassup? scenarist realised how much the United States had changed after the Bush years. He seized on the opportunity to reunite the whole cast for a searing film on the current political condition of the U.S. The 2008 edition of Whassup? stresses the importance of voting and more specifically, the importance of choosing Obama.

It’s striking how politics and business can be interrelated. Although there’s an obvious link between the Bud commercial and this support film for senator Obama, Anheuser-Bush really wants to stress that the ideas that are shown in the spot solely belong to the movie maker and don’t reflect the company’s opinion.  Still, people who know the old commercials, will make the connection. What do you think? How dangerous is it to take sides during elections for a nationwide corporation as Anheuser-Bush?

Laura Moerman

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