Dear Readers,

The year 2012 started with a change for my team members and myself: in February, I have taken over responsibility for running the Technology Practice Unit and our Munich office from Markus Hermsen who left our company. I am supported by my colleague Ortrud Wenzel who like myself has worked for Fleishman-Hillard in Munich for more than ten years. In Frankfurt, the leadership team of our tech unit is completed by Julia Richter.

Most of you already know me from our close collaboration. It goes without saying that I am also looking forward to face-to-face conversations and new contacts with those of you whom I have not yet been in direct contact in the past. I am available to you anytime by email at

Likewise, our industry brings constant changes. Hardly ever do they become as obvious as in our use of social networks. By conducting two surveys Fleishman-Hillard recently studied the impact of the internet on purchasing decisions and how much women influence the consumer behavior of friends and family. This newsletter includes more information about both surveys – I promise you an exciting read and even more profound data as soon as you click on the related links.

Just like my predecessor I would like to take this opportunity to ask for your feedback by email or phone: what are the issues that are currently on your mind? What trends in our industry inspire you, and which ones are you skeptical about?

I look forward to your feedback.


Robert Belle

Robert Belle

Robert Belle

Startup PR: stories for the business press

When it comes to meeting new people the internet startup Badoo is the global #1 social network. To ensure that the company’s business success is not only perceived by the network community but also the broad public Badoo instructed the consultants of Fleishman-Hillard to increase the brand awareness of the social network in Germany, and at the same time run articles on the company’s founder Andrey Andreev in the business press. PR activities were kicked off at the digital conference DLD (Digital – Life – Design) which took place in Munich from January 22 to 24 this year. The conference is the think-tank and meeting point for the digital masterminds of the industry, media, art and culture. In his lecture “Meet new People” Andrey Andreev provided insight into the formation of Badoo and the social structure of the network. The business media Handelsblatt and Business Punk took a look behind the scenes of the company. Based on compelling storytelling Fleishman-Hillard succeeded in arranging interviews with media representatives and Andrey Andreev. This PR success proves once more the significance of content: it is not the size of the company that is crucial – but rather the story that is told.

“Why don’t you look it up on the web“: after friends and family, Germans prefer the internet to be their “guide”

75 percent of all German consumers use the web as the most important medium for making their purchase decisions. Only the advice of friends and family members is more important with 85 percent. This outcome is reflected by the Digital Influence Index 2012 survey presented by Fleishman-Hillard and Harris Interactive, which involved some 4,600 web users from China, the US, Japan, India, Canada, Germany, France and Great Britain. The survey covers the key aspects of internet use and examines the influence of different media on the decisions of consumers. The first stop for searching information on the World Wide Web in Germany are online search engines (91%) like Google or Bing. Corporate websites (54%), price comparison portals (50%), forums (11%), news portals (10%) or Facebook sites (5%) have a comparably lower impact on the decisions of German consumers. Yet, the significance of social media continues to increase: 60 percent of all respondents worldwide and 45 percent of German users are actively using Facebook or MySpace. An extremely interesting trend for companies – because users do not only interact with friends and co-workers, but they are also increasingly looking to contact brands or businesses. Although the significance of Facebook (5%) on the purchase decisions of German consumers is comparably low, at least one fourth of all respondents are planning to raise their activities on Facebook over the next year. This trend provides great potential for communication between customers and businesses. For any question about successful online communications please contact Arne Klempert, Digital Director at Fleishman-Hillard in Germany. The full results from the survey are available by clicking the following links:

User-friendly and clearly structured: the online newsroom

If you want to provide corporate information in a clearly structured and user-friendly way, you are well advised to open a newsroom. It combines content which the company wants to communicate externally, but stores it centrally. In addition to press releases multimedia content such as videos are available. As proven by International Paper you do not have to be active already in social networks to run such a platform. The world’s leading manufacturer of uncoated paper and packaging decided to establish a newsroom ( and entrusted Fleishman-Hillard with its creation to enable interested users access to all corporate information. One of the reasons for the decision: the provision of relevant information specific to the German marketplace. Not only journalists, but also customers and partners now access texts, videos or pictures about the company, the paper industry or sustainability in the newsroom at a glance. Anybody who wants to be informed about all news is requested to simply subscribe the RSS feed.

Xerox selects Fleishman-Hillard “Agency of the Year”

Our Xerox team has every reason to celebrate: The world leader in business process and document management selected Fleishman-Hillard Agency of the Year 2011. The success of the European PR agencies is measured by applying the key performance indicators (KPIs) specifically defined for these markets. The team of Fleishman-Hillard in Germany – consisting of Julia Richter, Dunja Derenk and Maike Zumbrägel – was able to continuously increase the results since the beginning of the cooperation in 2009. In 2011, the targets set were even exceeded several times.

Purchase decisions: women are important influencers

Women’s voices are heard. They are decision makers and important multiplicators for the advertising industry because they increasingly influence the purchase decisions of friends and family members and consequently, their market behavior. This is the result of the fourth part of the survey “Women, Power & Money“ conducted by Ipsos Mendelsohn on behalf of Fleishman-Hillard and the Hearst Magazine. The survey examines the life and lifestyle of American women. Over the last four years, the social environment of women and their influence on the purchase decisions of others has expanded. Women increasingly influence the purchase behavior of others – such as family members, friends and people they know, but also the online community – in particular through direct face-to-face communications, but also in social networks. Social networks like Facebook have favored this trend. They provide easier access to information. Meanwhile, almost three fourth of all respondents are using Facebook. In 2010, this figure accounted for only 65 percent. More than 46 percent of all women indicated that they read consumer tests on the web. One third recommends products or has rated them online before. But, social networks and online communications are just one side of the coin. Most information is shared offline: 52 percent of all respondents share recommendations at social occasions or with co-workers (39 percent). One third uses the telephone to exchange information with others. It should be noted that word-of-mouth advertising in general – be it online or offline – has significantly increased and that women are driving this development. PR managers and advertisers are therefore well advised to have an eye on this development and take advantage of the trend – for example through referral marketing.

The full survey is available at:

Text quality is a top priority: FH provides trainings for juniors in writing workshops

The thorough training of junior consultants has absolute priority at Fleishman-Hillard. As part of the training program, FH launched an extensive series of workshops at the Munich office. A total of ten training sessions on topics like story pitching, consumer guidelines, small texts or comments are held by an experienced journalist who has developed the courses together with the executives. The sessions are strongly focused on the right blend of theoretical fundamentals and creative methods as well as practical writing exercises – always updated with reference to customer-specific topics and the requirements of the media that is relevant for each account. Robert Belle comments: “The theoretical fundamentals of writing are one thing. But, without having the opportunity of turning the acquired knowledge into action, even the most informative workshop is nothing but theoretical. And, the best thing is: we teach our juniors right from the start how much fun creative writing is.”

How do I secure the reputation of my company?

Trust is a valuable commodity these days. Numerous scandals in politics, society and business have tarnished the climate of trust for many companies in the past. The reputation of entire sectors of the economy is at rock bottom, necessary infrastructure projects are escalating into a power struggle with the population, “minor” crises can mushroom into veritable buyers’ strikes. Consequently, successful corporate communications is increasingly moving into the focus of many companies. “But, how do you manage the reputation of a company? How do you tell a corporate story in a way that builds up long-term confidence? How do you prepare optimally even for a crisis? An increasing number of clients are approaching us with these or similar questions“, says Armin Sieber who has been responsible for the establishment of Corporate Affairs Practice at Fleishman-Hillard in Germany since the beginning of the year. His motto: you have to build a reputation in good times with great consequence – and defend it in bad times with great consequence. The communications manager looks back on 15 years of experience in the PR industry, including his positions as Director Corporate Communications at Sky Germany, and as Business Director Corporate Strategy for the consulting company Ketchum-Pleon. Please contact Armin Sieber, Director Corporate Affairs, if you are planning to secure the long-term reputation of your corporate communications.


Fleishman-Hillard Germany GmbH
Robert Belle
Herzog-Wilhelm-Straße 26
80331 München
Tel.: +49-(0)89-23 03 16-27
Fax: +49-(0)89-23 03 16-31