Multilingual Business Communication

April 6, 2009

Employer branding: superfluous in this crisis?

Filed under: internship, Trui Lagae — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 3:53 pm

The crisis changed the labor market dramatically: after years of high demand and rather low supply, employers can finally choose from many candidates for one vacancy. Employer branding, which played a crucial role in times of scarce supply of labor, is thus no longer a priority:

  • Enough candidates apply anyhow, even without special attention for employer branding;
  • At the moment many companies don’t need candidates whatsoever;
  • It seems only logical to save on these superfluous costs

However, I believe companies should bear in mind that employer branding is all about reputation, and building a reputation takes a long time. After the recovery of the economy, many companies will more than likely regret saving on employer branding: their reputation as an employer will be ruined, despite all former efforts.

I hope my internship at Bekaert, concerning employer branding for Russia, will provide me with good insights on successful employer branding on a small budget.  More about this by the end of May!


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 4, 2009

The talented are jumping ship

Filed under: employee communication, Trui Lagae — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 8:04 am

jump2With a negative effect of the economic crisis on just about any company, fear among employees of losing their jobs is at an all-time high. Nearly 50% of Belgian employees expect redundancies in the firm they work for (Metro, section “Jobtime”, 3 February 2009). Marc van Veldhoven from the University of Tilburg warns that this fear and the resulting behaviour may damage companies even more.

The fact is that during volatile times the most talented  people are the first to look out for a new job and hand in their letter of resignation. On average they have better contacts outside the company, are smarter and more proactive, which explains their behaviour. For a company losing their best employees results in a slower recovery after the crisis. However, Marc van Veldhoven  also remarks a positive consequence. Those employees who prefer to stay, often feel they have to perform their level best: they worker harder and fewer report sick.(full article and comments)

Still, I believe it is vital to prevent your most talented people from leaving. Even when it is still unclear how many people will be made redundant, give your talented employees the certainty that they will not be among those redundancies.

December 15, 2008

Buy-ology: advertising science

Filed under: marketing communication, Trui Lagae — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 8:08 am


Martin Lindstrom, global branding expert, made some bold statements on the Youthwatching-congres last week. His quotes were based on a ‘neuromarketing’-research, in which 2000 volunteers were tested with brain scanners while watching advertisements. The results show that a lot of assumptions in advertising are plainly wrong.

Martin Lindstrom states for example that sex does not sell. Men are so diverted by the female body that they cannot catch  what brand is being advertised any longer. Second and more surprising result: warnings for cigarettes stimulate the area of our brains associated with pleasure (especially activated by sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling and smoking). Therefore the label “causes cancer” actually makes people crave even more for a cigarette. A third conclusion finishes with the current product placement trend: it rarely works. A brand should already be very much associated with a character to make the product placement effective. Otherwise, it is a waste of money for the advertisers. ( A short overview of every chapter of the book “Buy-ology” with many more findings can be found on the author’s website.)

Shocking or perhaps just common sense? Martin Lindstrom may have turned the advertising world upside down, but to me it seems his very complicated scientific research has only proven what many already understood intuitively. The big achievement of Martin Lindstrom is by proving the facts scientifically he will convince the sceptics as well.

Trui Lagae

October 26, 2008

Marketer of the year: Barack Obama

Filed under: marketing communication, Trui Lagae — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 4:20 pm

The American marketing journal “Advertising Age” has announced the results of this year’s poll among marketers, agency heads and marketing services vendors (The Inspiration Room). At the Association of National Advertisers’ annual conference 36,1 % of the votes were in favour of Barack Obama. At first sight I considered a presidential candidate to be  a quite unusual winner: the closest competitors were Apple (27.3%), Zappos (14.1%) and Nike (9.4 %). However, with John McCain receiving 4,5 % of votes, politicians apparently have conquered their spot in the marketing industry.

According to experts, Obama’s campaign has done so well by creating a social network in which people can engage very easily. The main secret behind the campaign appears to be the recognition of supporters’ talent. A well-known example is the work of street artist and DJ Shepard Fairey. As a big fan of Obama he designed two images, featuring Obama with the words “hope” and “progress”, which started to circulate around the world. Just two weeks later the artist was asked to create an official poster, with the word “change”. This poster is now even for sale on Obama’s website.

(Trui Lagae)

October 22, 2008

Executives in crisis

Filed under: crisis communication, Trui Lagae — Tags: — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 9:12 am

While crisis, recession and economic measures dominate the news, a lot of criticism arises in Europe regarding the often extravagant salaries managers receive. Justifiably, some of them are therefore forced to give in benefits or are being dismissed.  Japanese managers however take it a step further: they often cut their own pay when the company’s performances are down.

Executive Yukio Sakamoto from Elpida (Elpida Memory, Inc. produces memory cards)  sent out an  unusual and even stronger signal, announcing on Monday that he would work for free in November and December. Afterwards he will continue to receive only half of his salary until the company has become profitable again. Yukio Sakamoto says this symbolic gesture should show the public his goodwill and determination to make the company sound again.

Although I  like his gesture very much, I do wonder whether it isn’t just that: a gesture as a strategy to gain popularity instead of a real effort to help the company… Is all this nothing more than smart communication or are Japanese executives truly that honourable?

(Trui Lagae),0,1933887.photogallery?index=bal-afp_gettyfilesjapare20081020132604

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