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)

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April 9, 2009

Deutsche Bahn boss resigns over spying scandal

Filed under: crisis communication, Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 12:33 pm

mehdorn7Hartmut Mehdorn, the head of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, offered his resignation last week after weeks of continuous criticism by German politicians. Mr. Mehdorn admitted in February that Deutsche Bahn had spied on its employees as part of an anti-corruption campaign. Private investigators were hired to tail employees and tens of thousands of e-mails were screened for criticism against the company. Deutsche Bahn would have accessed confidential personnel information from 1998 until 2006. In 2002 and 2003 alone, the company would have surveilled 173.000 of its 220.000 employees, without informing the trade unions.

Germany was shocked by the scandal, especially because there did not appear to be a reason for the surveillance whatsoever. There were no complaints that would lead to suspect corruption in the company. The fact that Deutsche Bahn did not notify the trade unions also incited a lot of criticism.

Mr. Mehdorn admitted that the trade unions should have been informed, but he did not apologize for the mistake, something the trade unions did not appreciate. Furthermore, he was heavily criticized for his perceived arrogance in the affair, refusing to resign and stressing that his company did not break the law. In my opinion, it is of vital importance that you show regret as a company when you cause such a shock among your stakeholders. Mr. Mehdorn could have handled this crisis better.

Last week he eventually gave in to the pressure and offered his resignation. “Although he had done nothing wrong, he wanted to end the destructive debates for Deutsche Bahn”.

Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer

April 8, 2009

Get to know your favorite company on Open Bedrijvendag

Filed under: internship, Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer — Tags: — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 1:45 pm

 

Have you ever wanted to take a look behind the scenes of your favorite coffee brand or chocolate maker? Maybe you have wondered how your preferred beer brand is produced? If this is the case, Open Bedrijvendag might be the answer to your questions.

Open Bedrijvendag is the largest one-day event in Flanders. Each year, on the first Sunday of October, more than 400 companies open their doors to the general public. By taking guided tours around the company or by participating in workshops, people can get acquainted with their company of interest.

The companies that take part in Open Bedrijvendag have very different profiles, varying in size, sector, products, … interesting for young and old. Last year a record was achieved with 438 participating companies that attracted more than 800.000 visitors. 280 companies have already signed up for the edition of 2009, among which Frisk International, Ambiorix, VTM and Bavik Brewery.

In a couple of weeks I am starting my internship at Open Bedrijven VZW, the company that works fulltime on the organisation of Open Bedrijvendag. My responsibilities will consist of the organisation of information sessions for participating companies and the assistance of those companies with the composition of brochures etc. Moreover, Open Bedrijven VZW has given me the opportunity to work on 2 exciting projects: the creation of a new website with good news from the participating companies and the analysis of the visitor survey of the edition of 2008.

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March 26, 2009

VTM surprises commuters at Antwerp Central Station

Filed under: Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer, marketing communication — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 7:21 pm

The first step of all marketing media is to get noticed. This marketing rule was taken to heart by the Flemish commercial television station VTM. To announce their newest reality television program “Op zoek naar Maria”, in which they want to find an actress to play the leading role in the musical version of The Sound of Music, they surprised the commuters at the Central Station in Antwerp.

On Monday morning 200 dancers infiltrated amongst the travellers in the central hall of the station. When a modern version of The Sound of Music hit “Do Re Mi” came through the speakers, a couple of them started to dance to the music. Gradually, more and more dancers, disguised as commuters, joined them until the entire hall was packed with a dancing crowd.

The stunt was a great success: apart from the commuters who witnessed the spectacle live in Antwerp, the videos on Youtube have already been viewed over 30.000 times.

A couple of months ago T-mobile launched a campaign with a similar stunt in the Liverpool Street Station in London. Could this be the beginning of a new advertising trend?

You can watch both stunts yourselves and decide which one you like best on: http://www.vtm.be/mariadans and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM

November 1, 2008

KPMG tackles war for talent through SMS

Filed under: employee communication, Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer — Tags: , , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 6:22 pm

These days, companies are finding it hard to attract new talent. The number of positions that remain vacant continues to rise every year. Experts say there’s a war for talent going on. That’s why companies should look for ways to personalise their recruitment process.
According to HR expert Cathy Sims online and cellular applications offer great possibilities to turn this process into a more personalised experience. Accountancy giant KPMG has done this excellently. Candidates who want to apply for KPMG are invited to text message the company. A call center then contacts the applicants to fill in the application over the phone. If all goes well, the candidate can be invited for an interview.
By giving the applicants the option to respond to a job ad by mobile phone, KPMG has succeeded in turning “the old reactive recruitment process into a proactive, personalised experience”. In my opinion this is a very smart move: it speeds up the hiring process considerably and candidates feel more appreciated by it. Moreover, the candidate can already ask questions right away and he/she doesn’t have to put too much time or effort into writing a cover letter and C.V.

Liesbeth Van Den Mosselaer

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