LTC BLOG

26.06.2017 / A New Journey Begins - Hong Kong (HKG) to Munich (MUC)

Greetings from Munich! I’m Zeny So Tsz Ying, and I’m working as a PR intern at LTC this summer. Feel free to call me Zeny or Zen. I would like to start by introducing my hometown Hong Kong. The city is famous for its stunning night view all along the Victoria Harbour - its sobriquet has become “Pearl of the Orient”. If you visit Hong Kong, you don’t want to miss the street food or the shopping either!

 

Why Munich?

I’m a 3rd year student majoring in Chinese to English translation, with a minor in Japanese Studies at the City University of Hong Kong – Yep, I know a bit of Japanese :-). Last year, I was given the chance to spend my editorial internship in Taiwan. I worked as a sub-editor trainee and was mainly responsible for proofreading and editing English-to-Chinese translations. Through reading many types of manuscript genres, I learned to be detail-attentive and developed an interest in writing.

I’m here thanks to the Global Work Attachment Program (GWAP) and my university. The latter offers and supports a variety of opportunities and encourages students to “Go Global” and step out of Hong Kong for various internships, overseas exchange and volunteer service.

This year, I want to gain working experience in regions outside Asia, so I’m taking part in the program and am really grateful to be at LTC, a professional and well-established PR agency in Munich. I hope to apply my skills, my detail-oriented attitude and my passion when writing and editing press releases or articles for clients. And I’m sure that my intercultural awareness and language proficiency will also grow.

More about GWAP

There was a range of destinations to choose from this year, including Berlin and Munich, Sydney, Hokkaido and Tokyo, as well as Shanghai. I chose Munich because I love the city’s long and rich history. Now I’m here to find out that all the historical architecture, details of the statues, museums and old churches around every corner surprised me a lot – The Treasury of the Munich Residence is my favorite museum! All girls love shiny and luxurious jewels! And most important, the tranquility and relaxing lifestyle of Müncheners! I can’t wait to ride a bike and enjoy the gentle breeze and fresh air of the city every day!

Looking back, we went through a lot in order to spend the precious 8-12 weeks in our destination cities. We underwent the university screening which checked our knowledge and readiness for work. We also needed to demonstrate our communication skills with Skype or in telephone interviews conducted by our potential employers.

In addition, we attended a series of training workshops before we set off to work overseas to ensure that we were prepared with appropriate work etiquettes and attitudes. Of course, we will do our best and strive to gain the trust of our employers, and the quality of our performance.

I guess that was a lot to encounter about me… and now I’m looking forward to tasting the Italian ice cream and shopping at the supermarket just around the corner from the office!

Zeny So Tsz Ying, PR intern

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11.04.2017 / Pulitzer Prize Awarded: In the wake of Fake News, the Panama Papers Shine as a Model for Digitalized Journalism.

 

The Panama Papers investigation is considered to be the largest such investigation in the history of journalism, not only in terms of the scandal scope, but also in terms of the gigantic amount of information considered and digitalized. Eleven and a half million (11.5 mil.!) confidential documents served as sources for the related research. The "documents" included e-mails, spreadsheets, images, and of course multi-page text documents. The investigation into the Panama Papers has become a model for truly inspiring journalism in an era of fake news and digitalization.

“Big data” and how to quickly generate real and important knowledge from the vast amount of data played a central role in the research follow-up. The key to the success of the Panama Papers coup was neo4j, a graph technology. It was used together with the visualization platform, Linkurious, to structure the deeply linked data and to allow easy journalist access. Graph databases are particularly suitable for management purposes and for handling queries of highly networked, multifaceted data. Relationships and complex contexts between data can be analyzed quickly and easily. For the journalists, this meant that they could follow money traces money simply.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to belittle the efforts of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the two journalists of the well-known German daily, The Süddeutsche Zeitung. I wouldn’t want to reduce their tremendous achievement to the use of technology only. On the contrary. But such a revelation would not have been possible ten years ago - at least not within a similar time frame. As fake news and post-fact journalism seek to influence us every day, this is a really good news, isn’t it?  Congratulations to the ICIJ! Thank you for your courage and conviction, as well as for the visionary use of modern technology in your work.

Thomas Hahnel

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24.02.2017 / Instructions for Use - Becoming a Technical Editor

Hi! I’m Katharina from Munich and I’m having a great intern opportunity at LTC for a few weeks.

On my first day, I was asked questions like, “Do you want to study at a university?” “Do you already know what kind of job you’d like later on?” The answer to the first question was easy since I just got accepted at the Hochschule München to study “Technical Editing and Communication.”

However, my application took a long time as I was so undecided. Many students already know exactly what they want to do later, but not me. I knew I wanted to study something related to communication, but also something related to management. That combination isn’t that easy to find at Munich’s universities.

After looking around for a long time and speaking with many people, I finally found the course of study I mentioned earlier and was instantly taken with the idea.

So what is a technical editor?

A technical editor is a kind of a hinge between technology and a target group - he or she makes the technical world understandable to anyone.

This person, for example, writes operating instructions or assembly instructions for various products including car parts or domestic appliances.

Because more and more new techniques, machines and products require instructions or explanations, technical editors have good employment prospects now as well as in the future.

In addition to writing product descriptions, graduates in this field can also work in media agencies, in the television industry, at specialist publications, as well as with many other service providers.

My motivation for becoming a technical editor matches the huge work opportunities reflecting a wide range of subjects. These include, on the one hand, technical subjects such as “technical informatics” or “mechanics and construction,” and on the other hand, creative subjects such as images and video productions or visual design.

The word “technical” frightened me at first because so far I have only superficial technical knowledge. But nevertheless, I’m convinced that the field represents a very interesting chance to learn about new products and developments. So I’m curious about what lies ahead. And actually, technical aspects make up only 20% of the entire course work – other topics such as writing, editing, graphic design, etc. make up the bulk of the curriculum.

My post-university plans are not yet set because I still want to get some overall work impressions first. It’s been really useful for me to get hands-on experience in working life and having a go at understanding technology-related communications activities at LTC.

Katharina

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15.07.2016 / Munich - Navigating through an "old" city

Munich – Navigating Through an “Old” City

To me, Munich is a city that has opposing yet, somehow complimentary components. It is both modern and yet steeped in heritage. A bustling city filled with walkable and charming districts. But for me, the contradictions lie in something a bit more personal. Munich was at first overwhelming and scary, however, it was also warm and inviting. How could I have such opposite emotions?

 

Early in July, I stepped off the plane as a newbie to Germany. I only knew of two people in Munich and yet I hadn’t even met them. This thought terrified me, yet it felt safe to be within the same compass of the only people I knew. While driving through the city, I looked out the window and saw the landscape that I would call home for the next month. My eyes darted from side to side trying to capture every bit of Munich as it streamed by. Everything was so new to me, but within moments, it began to feel more and more familiar. The language barrier, which was a looming fear of mine, is what made Munich overwhelming and scary, yet these fears quickly subsided as I found people speaking other languages.

 

Look, a New Car!
I recently had the thrill of going to the BMW plant to see the exhibit and watch many sleek cars being built. While that is fresh in my mind, I find that the best way for me to describe my introduction to Munich is to relate it to a new car. When you buy a brand new car you look at the exterior and gasp at its beauty, or at least I hope you do. Your eyes scan the body while capturing each and every detail. Similarly, my breath was taken away by the pristine and lovely city before me. Street after street, the buildings tell the story of the era in which they were built. Centuries unfold in a single city. This is a far cry from the newer architecture in my hometown in Northern California which, thanks to earthquakes, typically reflect a more modern design. Surrounding Munich are mountains higher than I have ever seen, while an array of vivid green colors can be found in every nook and cranny within the city. Many of you may know that California suffers from a drought, therefore most trees, lawns, and gardens droop with crippled brown leaves. Green landscape is a rarity these days and it’s a joy to see.

Hop in, and Step on the Gas!
Once you finish admiring the allure of your new car, you hop inside to check out all the fancy accessories. Well, I did something like this upon my arrival. I stepped into the confines of Munich and discovered the many exciting features attributed to this city. For starters, the transportation system here far exceeds anything we have in California. It is clean and efficient and can take you anywhere your heart desires. Another amenity is the rich, flavorful, and delicious food. This is unlike anything that I’m used to - or maybe it’s just my mom’s cooking that’s different. Nevertheless, every meal is a treat!  

Discover New Paths and Roads!
Finally, in the car analogy, you have to take your speedy new car for a drive and see how it handles on the road. Well, I hit the streets of Munich and quickly discovered I did not know the rules of the road. I unknowingly walked in the bike lane only to get yelled at by an oncoming cyclist. You have to be on your toes here! Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the crazy drivers! Every driver seems to follow his own set of rules whereas in California there are strict laws on roads and freeways that play a heavy influence on the driving. Did I mention how much I liked the trains here?

On a final note, I would like to share how inviting and kind everybody is. I was quite nervous to work in Germany because of the stereotypes I had heard. You know the ones… that Germans are strict, orderly and love soccer. I realize now that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. A friend recently made the analogy that “Germans are hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Americans are soft on the outside but hard on the inside.” I have to say, she may be right. I have been warmly welcomed in Germany making my experience here that much better.

Sooner than I care to think, I will have to leave. I will have to step out of the car, take a step back and admire it. Take it all in. It’s not the first car I’ve ever driven, but it feels so new. Munich holds so much history and beauty, but since this is my first visit it all feels so incredibly new and exciting. It’s just like that feeling you get after buying a brand new car. Vroom!

If you want to know more about me, check out my questionnaire!

Annie Martin, Intern at LTC

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08.07.2016 / Watch Out Smombies!

You don’t have to watch Hollywood movies to see zombies wandering around Bavaria dazed and confused
(See the Led Zeppelin’s song).

Germans voted the word “Smombie” the Youth Word of the Year last year, helping to raise awareness about the downside of smartphones. Both smombies and zombies toy with the most precious thing we have: our lives! While zombies on TV seem to enjoy killing people, smombies risk injury or worse while using their smartphones, often by not paying attention to traffic. Recently here in Augsburg, a 15-year-old - too busy with her smartphone, got herself killed by a tram. Acting quickly, several city governments embedded traffic lights into the pavement to alert smombies to vehicles.

My hometown is full of smombies. Am I exaggerating? Here’re the facts: Hong Kong’s smartphone penetration rate has reached 87 percent, and when locals are using their smartphones, 87 percent of the time includes on-the-go usage (Nielsen, Google & Ipsos MediaCT).

Why is that? As a typical Hongkonger living in the well-connected city with free public Wi-Fi service, I can tell you it’s because the smartphone is a major slice of life. Generally for the locals, especially young adults, using their device is probably the first thing and the last thing they do every day. They play around with their gadgets on the street, in bed, on the toilet and even when they’re in the bath tub!

In 1983, companies started manufacturing cell phones for the sake of breaking down geographical boundaries and connecting with loved ones and everybody else miles away. Now we can keep in touch with our friends and family 24/7 but some people may in turn spend less time talking to them in person. As Stella Cheung, Google Hong Kong’s head of sales, said, “Some people actually look at their smartphones more than their own boyfriend or girlfriend these days.”

New technologies bring affordances but also risks. Technological inventions can be breathtaking; advanced digital devices can help people live a better life. The key is whether users can take advantage of new developments, and at the same time, stay alert to the adverse effects in using them. As the Chinese saying goes: Water can float a boat or make it capsize.

TANG Hon Pong Tim, PR intern

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22.06.2016 / MUNICH! - A City Full of Surprises

History Lessons Anytime & Anywhere!

It feels like yesterday when I just arrived in Munich, the capital of Bavaria. I come from a city where huge fluorescent signs are ubiquitous and streets are crammed with advertisement bill-boards. Everything is really hustle and bustle in Hong Kong. So, it’s all too easy for me to fall in love with the tranquility of Munich. Besides, there seems to be rich history in every corner of the city. Every statue, every museum and every royal residence keeps reminding Münchener about the great history of their state. Considering buildings are usually utilitarian in Hong Kong, I very much appreciate the historical aspects of Munich.

Getting About

Another thing I love about Munich is the road design. There are bike paths along almost every street. I can see that the locals enjoy commuting via bicycle. Even though Germany is the home of some of the top automobile brands, the train network is highly efficient and locals still make good use of it. How about Hong Kong? Although the underground railway system is also well-developed, there are still countless private cars on the road, causing problems like traffic jams, heat waves, air pollution, and making the densely-populated city even more crowded. There’s much for Hong Kong to learn from Munich.

Smoky City

Any other interesting differences between the two cities? Well, smoking seems to be a common practice in Munich. So far I could see every day lots of people, including young adults smoke. You may know that cigarette smoking is less prevalent in Hong Kong — the fact that the Hong Kong government has launched a quit smoking iPhone app may throw you off! The minute you light up, a smoke detector within your mobile device triggers an alarm!

Spooky Smombie

Another cultural difference is the number of “smombies.” Even though the word “smombie” has been chosen as the Youth Word of the Year 2015 in Germany, there aren’t many people here holding their smartphones all the time — at least not in comparison to Hong Kong. If you take a train ride in my country, almost 8 out of 10 people you see simply bury their head into their digital device. It’s like a dry run for people using their virtual reality machines. Now, you may wonder, what are the remaining two persons not holding any digital device doing? Sleeping — over one-third of Hongkongers suffer from insomnia, so its not uncommon to see people catching forty winks wherever they can.

“If You Were From Where I’m From…”

There’s a saying — “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength” — and it may be more important than you could’ve imagined. I love the two cities because both of them are so diverse. Let’s celebrate each other’s uniqueness!

TANG Hon Pong Tim, PR intern

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14.06.2016 / First Impression in MÜNCHEN

After breaking out of the classroom in Hong Kong, thank God, here I am in Munich!

Gargoyles Galore

This is actually my first visit to Europe. Honestly, all the tiny details to life here surprise me a lot. The architecture, the food, the people, the tranquility, the slow pace of life, the views, everything. What struck me first was definitely the weather. What? The weather? Yup, you heard me. When I landed on 25/5, it was chilly, actually cold, which is something you wouldn’t expect in Hong Kong. On the first day, I gasped when I saw the majestic architecture at Marienplatz, especially the Town Hall. It’s just far too beautiful. The strong arches, the Gothic style, the flying flags, the gargoyles and the massive windows, all are just beyond comparison with Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, crammed as they are, side by side, for as far as you can see.

I also tried some sausages at the Hofbrauhaus, and enjoyed a lively band performance, together with the smooth finish of a mug of beer - that was just FANTASTIC (#SUMMER #THATSLIFE)! And guess what, right next to the Marienplatz, there I was in the English Garden, with a huge piece of grassland in sight, and without any signs reminding me “No stepping on the grass,” as is common in Hong Kong, I lay down immediately on the grass and embraced the charming sun and fresh air with unprecedented relaxation. All this just made my day, I mean it.

What I really want to do in this blog entry is to provide an outsider’s perspective on Deutschland. It might be interesting for you to have an Asian’s view of your country. Well, I have to say, there are huge differences between Asia and Europe. So ladies and gentlemen, here come the THREE key differences between Munich and Hong Kong.

My personal climate change

Why don’t we start with the weather? Here the cities differ. In Hong Kong, because of some weird meteorological constellation, what you can experience in the summer is humidity, stuffiness and suffocating heat waves (Oh man, I’ve tolerated that for 21 summers!). But in Munich? You’ve got a bright sun, together with chilly weather and refreshing air (I got super chilled when I landed Munich). You see, Hong Kong people don’ hang out with jackets in the summer (not to mention a thick coat or a scarf – or people would just think you’re going crazy). What we do have are small handy electric fans to stay cool and survive the heat. Everyone sweats at bus stops, on the street or in wherever else is without the HOLY presence of an air-conditioner.

Speaking of air-conditioners, well, all Hong Kong people have them, ALL! It is the basic tool you need for survival in Hong Kong’s summer (Just try to find an office that doesn’t have an air-conditioner in Hong Kong. I bet you can’t! But if you really can, please call 01578 1439766 to receive your prize in zero dollars.) In Munich, it is the opposite. People just open their windows, and fresh chilly air comes in to the apartment. I seldom see air-conditioners in either residential apartments or in offices (well, at least not in the LTC office). I’m still wondering what will happen to me when it gets hot in Munich.

Bikes, bus and babies

Another big difference I found is – are you ready? Transportation. You know, most Hong Kong people, if not all, don’t bike to work given the weather and the crammed cityscape, although we do bike for leisure during our holidays. But in MÜNCHEN, yup, everyone bikes. And some of them don’t just bike by themselves. No, they link their baby chair car to the bicycle, and they bike with the family. It’s so cute to see a father riding a bike that has four babies in the front!

One thing I found quite similar between Hong Kong and Munich tho’ is the super convenient public transport network. Despite all the complaints about Hong Kong, one thing that definitely makes it stand out from other metropolitan areas is public transport. I mean, you can find bus, mini-bus, shuttle bus, train-station or light-rail station available in nearly all the streets and corners in the urb. You can also find them in rural areas (So yeah, this sort of gives me back some national pride). Similarly, in Munich, the transport is also super convenient. I mean, the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, bus and Tram are just incredible in bringing you to wherever you want to go. Say for example, from my hotel to LTC? Bus 58 and U4 in 20 minutes. From my hotel to church? Bus 132 and bus 63 in just half an hour. Yeah, we’re getting some similarities!

Money makes the world round

Last but not least, for sure, the tipping culture. Absurd as it may sound, the Chinese don’t tip, at least not when having a casual meal. Well, we do tip on special occasions, like maybe when the service of a waiter is really super super nice, or you want to build a good relationship with the restaurant’s staff in return for a discount of your mooncake or some privileged service. Normally, we don’t tip. We just take the services for granted. For Munich? Five to 10 per cent tipping on top of the bill - compulsory. If we don’t? Waiters can become extremely irritated. That’s what I experienced at my first meal at the Hofbrauhaus.

So, these are more or less my first impressions of Munich. It has fine weather, culture, architecture, food and transport. I can’t wait to explore more in MÜNCHEN in the coming days! Ciao! (Ciao, Tschüss, Pfiade, Grüß Gott and Servus, it’s MIND-BLOWING! I miss those days when I only needed to say bye.)

MA Chung Tin Jonathan, PR intern

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07.06.2016 / A New Intern at LTC

A New Intern at LTC - TANG Hon Pong Tim

Hi everyone! I’m Timothy from Hong Kong. My hometown is dubbed the “Pearl of the Orient” because of its glamorous night view along the Victoria Harbor. Although it’s very small in terms of land area, it provides diversified opportunities for young adults, from local community project, to university cultural exchange programs, to overseas internships.

Who am I?

I must start out by saying that it’s really an honor to have the opportunity to intern at LTC, a well-established and well-recognized public relations agency. My interest in public relations and marketing dates back to my high school days. Then, in 2009, I organized an anti-drug campaign together with the Hong Kong Narcotics Division. At the time, there were growing numbers of teenagers who had started to take drugs. The figures grew rapidly to a point that even the government could hardly stop the trend because most of the victims were hiding in their homes or schools. That was the first time that I recognized that public communications campaigns are of paramount importance to society.

 

What am I doing and what am I studying?

In the summer of 2014, I joined a cultural exchange program arranged by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. It was a great educational experience and proved to be inspirational. Throughout a whole month, I had sat in on lectures about Hawaiian culture in the morning and then went straight into the Hawai’i communities to experience and actually feel the spirituality of their culture. I learnt the native Hawaiian dance, how to make poi (a unique Hawai’i dish) and how to play the ukulele (the Hawai’i guitar) as well. I even got a chance to interview students in the university campus about the transportation system there! The learning experience was both unforgettable and has inspired me to understand more about other cultures.

When I was a freshman at the City University in Hong Kong, I majored in business, focusing on general management. I had acquired basic business concepts when I was in high school, and then further developed my business senses in the first two years of my university studies. The college of business helps me to develop a holistic mindset, which is not only useful in tackling academic projects, but also serves as a base for planning my professional career. Last year, when I finished my second year in City University, I was officially permitted to transfer my major from college of business to the English department. One of the many reasons why I transferred my major is that now I can pursue what I discovered about myself—I’m passionate about English studies! That’s what I’m obsessed with!

 

Apart from academic studies, I’m more than grateful to have been able to join a program arranged by The Women’s Foundation in Hong Kong. The program focusses on talent empowerment, equity and networking for underprivileged teens. It is dedicated to local junior high school students that come from deprived families. It is a year-long youth-led program that has a strong gender focus, making it stands out from other youth empowerment programs currently available in Hong Kong. I am glad to be one of the 12 Youth Mentors to facilitate my mentees’ leadership, gender and diversity awareness trainings. I’m surprised by the fact that gender stereotyping—from anorexia, to juvenile drug abuse and limited career choices—can undermine the society as a whole. Stereotyping has been actually deeply planted in the mindsets of several generations in Hong Kong. I’m shocked that most of my peers in Hong Kong don’t even know how gender stereotyping has permeated our lives. It’s a good opportunity for me to contribute to driving measurable changes in the challenging restrictions posed on our society.

City University of Hong Kong (CityU) & the Global Work Attachment Program

One of the main goals of CityU is to instill undergraduates with a positive global vision. One of its flagship projects, the Global Work Attachment Program (GWAP) was introduced last year. The program has three aims. First, it is designed for CityU students to gain hands-on experience with real-life business practices. Second, it serves as a platform for participants to train their inter-cultural communications skills, preparing them for work in multi-cultural and multi-national companies in the future. The third aim of the program is to help participants develop global perspectives. All of the internship hosting companies are well-established and well-recognized in their parts of the world. By immersing ourselves in these hosting companies, we can learn about various organizational cultures directly from professional industry practitioners.

TANG Hon Pong Tim, PR intern

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07.06.2016 / Finally an Asian in Munich

Finally an Asian in Munich - MA Chung Tin Jonathan

Hi there! I’m Jonathan from Hong Kong, a cool 9043 kilometers from Munich! Please feel free to just call me John, J.M or Chung Tin (Well, I know Chinese names are sometimes confusing. ‘MA’ is my Surname, ‘Chung Tin’ is my middle name and ‘Jonathan’ is my first name). It’s my privilege and honor to be here at LTC as an intern.


Why am I here?

I have this internship opportunity because I joined the Global Work Attachment Program (GWAP) of the City University of Hong Kong, where I am enrolled. The program aims to broaden our horizons and to reinforce our global readiness. In other words, it seeks to strengthen student ability to adapt to overseas cultures, customs and people.

There is a range of global placements offered by this program, say, placement in Australia, Tokyo, Berlin and London, but Munich was on top of my list since I thought it’s one of the leading cities in Europe with stunning economic and technological growth. So, yeah, here I am!

So, who is Jonathan?

I’m an only child and my parents are both teachers. Oh btw, we keep a little zoo at home that consists of three cats, fours hamsters and one rabbit in our apartment (Don’t call us pet addicts, you don’t know Asians–– We all keep lots of pets!).

University Studies
Majoring in English Studies and specializing in Business and Corporate Communication at the City University of Hong Kong, I’m being trained in writing formal business documents and developing marketing concepts. Apart from business language, I’m also studying subjects like English literature (seriously, I’m still trying to enjoy it!), linguistics (my favorite subject) and creative writing, etc.

Speaking of linguistics, what fascinates me the most in this discipline is the field of semantics and pragmatics, which investigates how words are put together to constitute meanings, and sometimes even meanings beyond their literal sense. I mean, I love investigating how words are placed together in different cultures, genres and contexts to convey differentiated messages to a specific audience. Well, I know it seems quite vague, so to achieve this, I need to process tons of texts (a ‘corpus’ from a linguistic point of view) with the aid of a software named Antcon. During the investigation, I can see the common collocations, choice of dictions and sentence structures in a particular language community. Wow!

As I have been trained in imitation writing in light of the genre’s characteristics, I think this skill gives me an edge as a PR intern. For example I might help to draft an engineering article for one of the LTC’s clients by first analyzing the engineering language.

Working Experience
Honestly, as an undergraduate, I’m quite new to the labor market, but I did have some experience in organizing events. Back in my second year, I was in charge for the Annual High Table Dinner of the English Department of Hong Kong Shue Yan University, and needed to interface with a mix of teaching staffs, students, hotel representatives, professors in other universities and my teammates to cope with issues like venue booking, invitations sending and promotion. I love working as a team, I love accepting challenges and I enjoy the moment when my team finishes a project under a round of applause.

Apart from the event projects, I also did some voluntary teaching at a local secondary school last year. The students of that school are relatively less privileged, I felt so committed to mentor them, both intellectually and morally, (as my parents do for me) by giving them my time, a kind of free education. Speaking of mentoring children, I am also an officer of the Hong Kong Boys Brigade 230 Company. Through weekly gatherings, in which we play, read, chat and even jog and hike together, the children eventually understand mutuality, and the values in the world they are living in, and God. The joy of seeing their growth is beyond description!

So, this is more or less everything to know about Jonathan, except I haven’t told you that he’s so addicted to ice-cream, and he’s a big fan of the Avengers and he teams Ironman for the Civil War! So, YEAH, go break some eggs!

MA Chung Tin Jonathan, PR intern

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11.01.2016 / German Study Confirms: Trade Media Remain the Most Important Source for Professional Decision-Makers

B2B Communications in Germany: Media Relations Rule! … Do they really do?

Quite honestly, I would have bet on the findings. A study commissioned by the German trade press association has confirmed that in Germany professional media are "... the most important job-related source of information for professional decision-makers..." (Source: PR Journal / http://bit.ly/1OUeVBZ ).

Dear Digital Natives: hold off on your jokes about the relationship between the study initiator and the findings. And dear devotees of traditional print journalism, if you still exist, please note that more than three-quarters of the respondents said they follow trade media content digitally, and almost as many indicated that the digital contents of businesses are crucial go-to sources. For us professional communicators, that means that media relations continue to be strategically important, right?

Is this breaking news? Well, somehow… at least for some social media apologists. Because sometimes I hear communications officers say: "What? The little bit of media relations work that needs to be done? We’ll just do it on the cuff.” Hmm, with that kind of an attitude, I can only wonder about the quality of their content. Have they ever really read a copy of any (highly specialized) German B2B publication? Non-Germans might be reminded that there is a super huge market for trade and vertical publications in this country.

As in the past, in this country, it is important, or better, strategically crucial, that the right, specific content makes its way into the media. Sure this is a complex process. And the effort will only pay off when the reader gets interested and goes on to search for further information in the web. Ideally then he or she will not only find the solution, but which company has it.

For example, how should an engineer who uses social media for personal purposes only, find a new technological approach if he or she doesn’t go looking for it? I’m not talking about the revolutionary developments –they spread virtually automatically. I mean specific approaches, small improvements as well as niche or step-by-step incremental solutions. These are found in trade media. The trade media triggers an impulse and resonates with the curious, spurring him or her to seek better solutions.

If you think through this thoroughly, this means that the PR content for media must be technically competent and designed for specific target groups, or even for an individual publication. Sure it has to take into account the corporate brand messages. But the trade media needs content depth, not the superficial messaging sufficient for a content marketing campaign. Of course, the SEO wash-down of content is needed for social media and owned media channels and it’s extremely important. But to claim “We’ll just do it on the cuff.” is under-estimating the strategy, the principles and the job.

Simply put, the survey results mean that in addition to comprehensive communication objectives and strategies, specialist expertise is central to success in communications. Decision-makers rely on people who understand the B2B ecosystem and technology, and are competent partners. Is this a groundbreaking new finding relevant in the digital age? It is at least for those who want to address the German market with their B2B products, technology and technical solutions and services. 

Thomas Hahnel,
Managing Director Lucy Turpin Communications

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14.12.2015 / What Do a 20th Anniversary and Cycling have in Common?

Well, it looks that my PC monitor wallpaper has exposed the real me. You see, to motivate myself and for pure self-glorification, I uploaded a photo of myself jumping around on a mountain bike. Nothing fancy from an athlete’s point of view, but apparently enough material for my dear colleagues to needle me about it: It's time to write a new blog entry. Of course I wanted to pull out of the responsibility. But my final arguments - that I wouldn’t even have been at LTC 20 years ago, or that I would be too old to remember anything, didn’t help. Now I'm sitting here and must think about cycling, professional communications and our 20th anniversary.

So my thoughts wander to the past and I start to reactivate some anecdotes from the "good old days." But let's be honest - nobody cares about the old self-aggrandizement stories! My bike-park-affine son just shrugs when I stammer with tears of emotion in my eyes about the perfectly shaped flow trails in front of us. "There wasn’t anything like this in the past!” My youngest colleagues react the same way in a meetings when they are told that we used to send printed press releases via snail mail. To tell you the truth, the knowledge gain from old stories is nearly zero for the current corporate communication challenges. The PR veterans should keep that in mind when they start to tell their Pleistocene PR legends. What I want to get at is the use of current and state-of-the-art tools and how crucial they are to our business. That and the ability to think in the future, makes the difference.

Technology increases the fun factor

Today I see a lot of people, including colleagues and clients that still have reservations about the digital future. For me, the link between communications and cycling comes full circle here. How often in the 90’s did I curse bike components that churned to scrap? Or about stupid bike constructions that were complicated to maintain and repair? Today, however, I enjoy durable and brilliantly engineered high-tech-products and bikes that offer features that we hadn’t even dreamed about 20 years ago. Things like full suspension, retractable seat posts and carbon material – just to name a few! Technology increases the fun factor. Definitely. And that applies to communications, too. The possibilities of digital communication, new tools or new ideas inspire me and shouldn’t scare the rest of us. Or is there a biker out there that is afraid of a new tire size? Sure, you may not need anything new, and you don’t need to jump on every bandwagon. And it’s worth it to ask critical questions and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay on track - in the communications industry as well as in biking. By the way: how many different standards for bottom brackets do we have today? Trust me, anybody who ever has flown through a single trail with a state-of-the-art high end full suspension bike, will never want to have any old machine back.

One thing is clear. For biking, you have to have a basic skill set, so that you can have fun. And for communications that means you have to be able to communicate well, in order to communicate well. A 10,000 Euro mountain bike is not enough. You still have to pedal! A couple of skills must be there to get down even a little rock drop. Just like in communications. The best tools are useless, if you can’t use them. The best buzzword bingo campaign idea is not enough, if you can’t fill it with life and if you have no story.

In this respect, the veterans of the communications industry are in a very good position and can look ahead positively. We can enjoy life! Because we know how hard life was in the early days and what kind of fantastic opportunities the brave new world offers – provided we know to use them.

Thomas Hahnel,
Managing Director Lucy Turpin Communications

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30.11.2015 / The Pre-Dawn of the Digital Age - Press Release Distribution

When I started working at LTC in1999 the prefix "multi" was anything but multi-present. Multi-tasking described the ability of operating systems to perform multiple tasks in parallel. Animated gifs formats and the first short videos (Do you remember the dancing baby video?) were state of the art in multimedia. The term multi-channel had not yet been coined. Not a surprise when the only distribution channels were letters and fax.

For fax distribution of press releases, there was so-called fax server software. This kind of software was not only expensive, it was not user-friendly! Although Omtool, a company specialized in fax server software, was one of our customers back then, for us, a relatively young agency, its solution was too high-end and completely over the top, given the handful employees working at LTC. To complicate things, some editors and most freelance journalists had fax machines that used thermal paper. Some readers might remember that the thermal paper came on an unmanageable, tightly wound roll and the print was difficult to read. So receiving press releases by fax was not very popular. Besides, the copies faded quickly, so archiving, which people did back then, was not realistic. Fax machines with regular paper, as used then and today in printers, were found only in the major publishing houses.

As a result, we sent our client press releases solely by snail mail – with some effort and occasional blood shed – we quite frequently suffered paper cuts when collating and assembling the press releases with the its accompanying letter into the envelopes! Initially we even hand stamped the envelopes with "postage paid" instead of licking stamps. But soon we had the envelopes pre-printed by a professional printing house. Postage was then arranged at the post office counter, and paid through bank transfer, thanks to one of the multi-numerous post office forms required to get this done!

By 5:00 p.m. every day, the envelopes had to be bundled up into packets of 100 units and taken to the post office. Of course we could have used the post office pick up service, but most often we were still waiting for a final quote in the release or some other last minutes change from our clients. As most of our clients were headquartered in the US, change requests usually didn’t arrive until 3:00 p.m. So making our post office deadline of 5:00 p.m. was a real challenge, despite the fact it was only a 15 minute walk to get there. Get the last minute change, print out the quantity needed, staple the pages together, assemble with the accompanying letter, insert into an envelope, seal it and finished! Whew! Were we pressed for time! But believe it or not, these hectic hours were the most fun and cheerful hours of the whole day!

Then we stacked the bundles in a shopping trolley (in Germany nicknamed “Senior Citizen Porsche”) – the most convenient transportation method – and off we went to the post office. We had to line up at the bulk mail counter. Of course this queue was always the longest – like at Christmas time now when people mail presents.

There was also a transition period between carrying off the envelopes to the post office and electronic delivery that we use today – we copied the releases onto diskettes for the editors and added them to the envelopes. Can you imagine?!

Luckily, today we send our messages easily by mouse click. PR people, too young to be working back then, can hardly imagine the kind of effort involved in sending out press releases! Thank God it only lasted a few YEARS!

Birgit Fuchs-Laine
Account Director

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29.10.2015 / "I have experience with the Internet ..." - I wrote in 1997 – my journey into the communications business

I found my way into PR via a tiny “Help Wanted” advert in the Süddeutsche Zeitung – Munich’s national daily. I had sent my application papers to Lucy - crisp white sheets, carefully and neatly packed in transparent sleeves, with my glossy portrait photo at the right top corner of my resume, as is common in Germany. That’s the way it was in 1997 – no email, no online application. In my cover letter I emphasized my really future-oriented skill set: “I have experience with the Internet as an information tool,” topped by “I am currently learning how to create websites.”

At that time, the Lucy Turpin Communications (LTC) office was still in the Ungererstrasse, in Munich. It had three large rooms and one large area in the entrance hall, which was used as a meeting room.

For some reason my job interview took place in the kitchen. I often wondered, “Why in the kitchen?” Was it because the entrance meeting room connected directly to the kitchen and the restrooms, which then couldn’t have been accessed by anyone else? Or was it because the doors where not sound-proof and everyone could have heard us talking? For whatever reason, all I can say is that the kitchen was the best place for conducting a job interview. I relaxed immediately. And following the formal talk with Lucy, my future colleagues gathered for a casual cup of coffee and a get-to-know-each-other.

It’s unbelievable ‑ more than 18 years have passed. Time has gone by fast and I can look back to exciting and eventful years. July 1st, 1997 was my first day with LTC. My desk was occupied by a bulky monitor. An equally oversized PC was parked beneath my desk. A keyboard and mouse in the same color, so-called “Ecru”, completed the arrangement. No matter if you used Apple or Microsoft – greyish-yellow was en vogue back then.

In comparisons to today, the number of incoming daily emails was manageable. All of us, my three colleagues, Lucy and I, had one dedicated PC for all our emails. I remember this as if it were yesterday! We checked our LTC email account twice a day and replied just as often!

Back then, the majority of our clients were headquartered in the States. Among them were e-commerce start-ups such as Open Market, companies with software development tools for programmers like Cayenne or Pure Atria, chip manufacturers such as LSI Logic or Tadpole, a manufacturer of portable workstations.

Also back then, most of the time we were able to start and finish a task in one go – there were very few intermediary tasks that needed our immediate attention – what a luxury that was! Conference calls did not exist; we just called our clients in one location at a time. If we were more than two persons on our side, we turned on the loud speaker and used speaker phone. Honestly, most of the time the quality of the conversation suffered so badly from poor sound quality or the echo, that it’s miracle that we figured out what needed to be done!

Usually at around 3 p.m. things started to get a bit more hectic – we needed to finalize press releases and make those last changes that our clients had. Then we had to hurry up to get the press releases ready for distribution and queue up at the post office counter at 5pm, latest. Just what it meant to send out press releases prior to the digital age, you’ll find in my next blog!

Birgit Fuchs-Laine
PR & Marcom Director

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25.08.2015 / Unique Soccer Experience: FC Bayern – Stern des Südens

Wednesday, August 5, 2015, was a day marked with anticipation and excitement among the Munich Summer Curriculum students. In our first meeting in June – even prior to attending our first class – we purchased Audi Cup 2015 tickets with the hope to see a glimpse of the German soccer (oops, I mean fußball) culture. 

This obviously meant that Bridget and I had to shop for our fan wear in order to try and fit in with the Bayern Munich diehard fans. The evening before the game was spent wandering Karlsplatz and Marienplatz for jerseys and scarves! For a relatively inexpensive price, I bought more Bayern Munich attire than I have of my favorite sports teams back home. But, I accomplished my goal: when decked out in my new scarf and striped jersey, I could now fool anyone and tell them that I have been a lifelong fan. I think we may have even fooled our co-workers and supervisors at Lucy Turpin Communications. On Wednesday afternoon, Bridget and I changed into our jerseys and displayed our FC Bayern paraphernalia to the LTC staff.  It was quite the spectacle to parade around the desks as Eva played the Stern des Südens, what we Americans would call Bayern Munich’s “fight song”. 

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the Audi Cup. I figured it would probably be similar to an American football game, in a large stadium with lots of beer and bratwurst.  I figured there would be a few wild fans, and a few stadium-wide chants every now-and-then. My expectations were shattered by reality. 

Reality began on the U-bahn, where we squeezed into a tram with more people than I had seen in Munich for the past two months. After a sweaty ride from Universität to Fröttmaning, we joined the sea of red and blue that noisily approached the Allianz Arena. When I saw the stadium for the first time, I think my jaw dropped. Allianz Arena puts all of Cincinnati’s sports facilities to shame, with its beautiful glass exterior, LED lighting at night, and it’s sheer size. 

I felt as if I was a kid again, walking through Disney World. Every place I looked, I was mesmerized with the exhilaration of the Audi Cup. But the festivities were only just beginning; they continued after we climbed the stairs to section 344 and finally sat in our seats. First off, it’s very rare for a sports team in the U.S. to provide flags and noisemakers for its attendees. However, the Audi Cup 2015 flags and noisemakers were a nice touch, especially to those MSC students who didn’t have a scarf to wave or a jersey to wear. Next, the introduction of the teams with the dance team, drum line, and multiple banners and flags was a definite highlight of the night.  Afterward, the Tottingham versus Milan kickoff commenced the fight for 3rd place in the tournament. 

With a helles beer and a rote bratwurst in our hands, we cheered for a large majority of the Tottingham versus Milan game.  I cheered obnoxiously for both teams, getting anxious any time that a goal or beautiful play was in sight.  Within the ninety minutes of intensity and well-played soccer, Tottingham fought hard for a win of 2-0. 

The real excitement was the Audi Cup 2015 championship match: Real Madrid vs. FC Bayern Munich. The game was an unforgettable highlight of my time in München: the ninety minutes were filled with beautiful fußball by the players, audible adrenaline from the fans, an innumerable amount of chants, crowd waves doing laps around the stadium, and slaps from the noisemakers! At halftime, the score was still 0-0, and so I had to grab some pommes frites to nervously munch in anticipation for a goal from FC Bayern. The 88th minute brought what the majority of attendees were hoping for: a goal by FC Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski! On a free kick, the ball soared over an opposing player, giving Lewandowski a perfect touch into the net. The celebration was wild, with more than 75,000 fans in red and blue chanting Stern des Südens, all while waving flags, jumping up and down, and yelling at the top of their lungs! 

The celebrations of Lewandowski’s goal were accompanied with the announcer’s call and response. 

“FC Bayern Munich?” he asked. 

The crowd responded unanimously with “Eins (one)!” 

“Real Madrid?”

“Null (zero).”

“DANKE (thank you)!”

“BITTE (you’re welcome)!” 

It was something I had never witnessed at a sports game; as a result, it was quite comical to my classmates and me. When the final buzzer sounded after two minutes of stoppage time, the entire stadium was back on its feet celebrating Bayern’s win with more music, waving flags, and chanting. And even though this was my first Bayern Munich game, it felt as if we, each of the 75,000+ fans in the stadium, accomplished the title of Audi Cup 2015 Champions. 

How amazing it is to feel a part of a culture so different than your own, but I guess that’s why I’m in Germany. That’s what studying abroad can do for you. It truly does open your eyes to a world outside of the one in which you live; every time you fully live in those moments – you experience something extraordinary and unforgettable – on August 5th, 2015, it happened to be FC Bayern Munich fußball.      

Nathan Garbig

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19.08.2015 / China, US and German Experience Rolled into LTC

As a graduate student, I struggled before I came to this program. I kept asking myself “Am I too old for study abroad?” “ Will it be too hard for me to get adapted to a new culture?” However, after eight weeks of MSC program at LMU University Munich, I found my answer: it is never too late to go to a new country, to experience a different culture, to meet new people from diverse backgrounds, and to discover yourself. Here are only four of my one thousand reasons, and they are already convincing enough.

1. Learning a New Language

I studied German during my freshman year in college in China and my exchange year in Canada. However, all the things I have learned from German class are far from enough. It’s still hard for me to talk in German. When I just got here, I tried to speak German to our tutor Max, but I couldn’t understand what he said back to me. I also tried to ask for help in German, but I failed too. 

Thank god, we had a week of “Survival German” class; from that class, our biggest take-away was learning Germans’ daily conversations. Also, as I live in this country, I learn German everyday when I am at the supermarket, in a shop, and even on the U-Bahn. At school, it took me hours to remember all the new words, but here, I learned a lot of words by using them in my daily life.

Indeed, the best way to learn a language is to immerse myself in a place surrounded by native speakers. Now when my colleagues are talking to each other, I try to understand what they say. When I see commercials on the U-Bahn station, I try to get the main ideas without knowing the meaning of each word. I can now even distinguish dialects of people from different parts of Germany :)

2. Experiencing a New Culture 

“Oh, this is so German.” I have said this a lot during my stay here. Before I came to Germany, I thought German culture could be very similar to American and Canadian ones since they are all Western cultures to a Chinese girl. I grew up in China, moved to Canada when I was 19, and started graduate school last year in Boston. I thought German culture could be very similar to the Western cultures I experienced in North America. However, Germany is unique, and I can say that there is no culture like German culture in this world.

The stereotype of Germans is serious and rigorous. It is true that Germans are very careful with their work and very efficient, but on top of that, Germans are more fun and more easy-going than what I expected. I like seeing people getting ready to chill at the Englischergarten at noon. I appreciate how people work non-stop during the day and rush to a Biergarten right after work or go hiking during the weekend. I enjoyed FC Bayern Munich’s fight song that my colleagues played for me before I went to the game; we even danced in the office. Germans really know how to balance their work and lives.

The most European thing I have done here was going to the Opera. Even though I didn’t understand what the artists sang, from their performances, I could feel their power and sorrow. When I stepped out of the Opera house, it was already 9 o’clock in the evening. The evening lights were lit at Max Josephs Platz, but it was still a little bit bright outside. Looking at the buildings with all lights on, feeling a little bit dizzy due to the wine I had, and thinking about the Opera, everything was just perfectly European.

3. Meeting New People

This study abroad experience would not have been so special if I hadn’t met those great people from the same program and from work. That was another reason why I chose to live and study in Germany for two months instead of just traveling. When I was in America, I lived with my Chinese friends who I already knew before school started. At the very beginning of the program, I still stayed in my little Asian girl group. However, after a week, I started to step out of my comfort zone, and tried to attend activities organized by our American classmates. I was afraid that I could not get involved in their conversations due to cultural differences, but even though cultural barriers exist, they didn’t stop me from having fun. I discovered many beautiful places with my friends from all over the world: beer gardens, the Isar river, the Alps, and even foreign cities like Vienna and Rome. Most importantly, I knew how people from other cultures perceive our culture, and learned to see myself from different perspectives.

Also, I work at a German PR agency, so I have a chance to interact with local people here. I am only here for a month, but everyone working at Lucy Turpin Communications made me feel like I’m part of the LTC family. Sabine likes to travel a lot. If I don’t know what to do during the weekend, I always ask Sabine, and she recommended Nürnberg and Regensburg to me. Eva is like a mom to me. She knew that I have a stomach problem, so she recommended a German tea to me and brought me Turkish yogurt that is also good for my stomach.

I want to thank everyone who made Munich a home to me in the last two months. 

4. Discovering a New Me

I tried a lot of new things during this trip, and all the things I tried here helped me discover my potential. I attended a roller skating event on a Monday evening, and all the main streets were blocked for skaters. People in the car cheered for us, and pedestrians waved to us. While skating, I kept saying “Munich is so sick!” Before the event, I was very very scared about skating on the street because I didn’t know how to brake and I hadn’t skated for more than ten years. Even though I did fall on the ground every time there was a downhill slope, I felt so good after I finished 10 kilometers. I overcame the fear in my mind and I got up every time I fell. That was a success.

The other interesting thing I tried was hiking. In China, only very few people consider hiking as a sport, and we only hike in touristy places with a lot of resting areas on the way to the top. Hiking in Garmisch was a complete new experience to me because it was my first real hiking experience, and I discovered a lot of great things that I didn’t expect to see. After hiking for two hours, we came into a very open place with the greenest grass I have ever seen, surrounded by enormous mountains. Then we hiked for another two hours; we suddenly saw a huge cave in front of us. I even drank water directly from the Alps. When we were at the bottom, we saw the place that held the 1936 Winter Olympics Games.  After the 6-hour hiking and a 2-hour train ride, I was exhausted, but that was the most fulfilling moment during this trip. I accomplished something that I would have never done back home, and the unexpected beautiful scenery made this experience even more precious. 

It is a short summer because I never thought it could end this soon. It is also a long summer since I have gained so much, even more than what I have learned during the past few years overseas in North America. I think it is all because of the foreign friends I made here. It is definitely an extraordinary summer that I will remember, appreciate, and talk about for the rest of my life. 

 

Xueer Yang (Bridget)

            

 

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11.08.2015 / Bitte? Entschuldigung? The Diary of an English-Speaker’s Survival in a German PR firm

“Guten Morgen. Ich heiße Nathan Garbig, und ich komme aus Cincinnati.” As I stood at the front door of Lucy Turpin Communications on the first day of my internship, I repeated the phrase over and over, hoping to recall what little I remembered from my one year of college German classes. Instead, I was greeted with familiar English salutations, similar to, “Good morning! How are you both? Welcome to Lucy Turpin Communications.”  

Definitely didn’t expect that. 

In fact, it took several hours after settling into my desk to finally began hearing the rapidly spoken German language among my supervisors and coworkers. But once everyone initiated the communication in Deutsche on that bright Monday morning, it was the language that consumed eighty percent of office conversations. I tried to fit in; I would grin and nod when listening, but my façade wasn’t fooling anyone. They all knew that I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. 

Similar interactions took place the rest of the week. My team has made the environment very comfortable, and while they conduct most of the business conversations in German, they make sure to include me in several discussions per day. Interestingly enough, while I have gotten used to the language differences and the organization’s culture at Lucy Turpin Communications, family and friends back home continually ask the following question: “How are you able to do ANYTHING in the LTC office if you don’t speak German?” 

Good question mom and dad. But I promise, I am still learning a lot from LTC, while also benefiting the team. Here’s how:

1) Lucy Turpin has several clients that are based in Britain or the United States. Therefore, LTC PR practitioners must communicate in English to conduct any business with these international companies. A week and a half into my internship experience, I have had ample opportunity to edit documents and presentations written in English. I must say that, while I do edit these documents, I have been thoroughly impressed with my coworkers’ immense knowledge of the English language.  They all are truly superb English speakers. 

2) Because of my one year in a German classroom, I learned a lot of the basics from my knowledgeable professors. I blame myself for not sticking with it during the beginning of the summer; maybe I would feel a little more comfortable if I practiced German every day before coming to the country. Luckily, being surrounded by eight hours of a foreign language each day really helps refresh my memory. In the short time that I have interned with LTC, I have already begun picking up conversation topics. I can now pick out what my coworkers are talking about in German, and I’ll excitedly verify if I was correct after the conversation ends. Maybe I can’t speak the language very well, but at least I can listen and understand. 

3) And finally, being placed in an international PR firm has heightened my awareness of intercultural communication. I have a dream to one-day work in a global PR agency, working specifically on an account management or brand management team; this internship has deepened my understanding of the work that it takes in order to be successful in the global PR world. I now find how essential it is to understand working environments of different cultures, the ranging communication tactics each region holds valuable, and realizing the basics of different languages in order to effectively communicate with clients.

So, with a figurative Augustiner Helles in my hand, I want to say “Prost”: “Prost” to the opportunity to work in a PR firm that cultivates the blending of languages; “Prost” to being able to use my English language skills, even 7,242 kilometers away from home; and “Prost” to the unique experience where I can learn intercultural communication tactics from some of the top PR professionals in the beautiful Bavarian landscape.  

And for all of those worried about me surviving in a primarily German-speaking PR firm, don’t worry. Es wird schon werden. ;-) 

Tschüss!

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05.07.2015 / My Internship at LTC

After an exciting and stressful first semester (those exams!), I came to a sobering series of questions: I had learned a lot, but how, when, and where would I be able to apply this knowledge in the future? Many students know neither what career path to take, nor which doors are open to them in general. Most internship opportunities at the universities are most suitable for students who have already taken had at least three semesters. But whoever wants to gain an insight into professional opportunities without having studied at least three semesters has to go searching by themselves.


So when the opportunity to do an internship at Lucy Turpin Communications (LTC) came up, of course I didn’t know what to expect. I decided to forego my month’s beach holiday during the semester break, and signed up for my first extended insight into the professional world.

First I realized that my expectations didn’t jive with the new setting: there are a surprising number of parallels between the life at the university and life at the office. Even at the agency you’re constantly faced with new challenges - for which there are almost never normal “packaged” solutions, unlike life at the university. Even my expected "travel cultural shock" didn’t happen because didn’t have to set my alarm an hour earlier to get to the office. Even the dress code is similar to the university and so I was able to fit in quickly and adapt to the social rhythms in the company.

Although as a business student I wasn’t the typical intern or employee working in the communications industry, I was able to learn a great deal, especially because LTC deals extensively with issues such as digitization and the Internet of Things that affect more and more our daily lives. It helped me a lot that from the very beginning I was able to work on a variety of projects addressing rather complex issues and my colleagues took the time to answer my questions.

My time at LTC was super valuable because now it’s clearer to me why the theoretical university approach is useful and what it can’t provide. But of course now that I’m back at the university, I’m happy to have a couple hours of leisure! :-)

I would like to thank everyone at LTC for the opportunity of sharing interesting work over several weeks and their extensive support!

Daniel Kahdemann

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01.10.2014 / Is Monitoring a Million Dollar Question?

Recently I had the opportunity to answer some questions for an interview with Media Bulletin, part of Features Exec, on current communication trends, the state of the industry and LTC as an agency. It was a great opportunity to pause and reflect about our industry and what’s going on in our business. Of course all the pressing concerns came immediately to my mind: Digital Footprint, mobile, training, the overall role of communication, budgets… Sounds familiar doesn’t it? As we the adage goes: “Everything’s been said already, but not everybody has said it.”

There is one more thing though that keeps me awake at night: what about monitoring? Even in the annual European Communication Monitor I didn’t find anything about media monitoring and its impact on corporations. I know, of course, that there are specialized service providers, freeware tools, congresses, etc. And of course there are reports with valuable insight being produced for corporate campaigns – especially in times of crisis. Every communications professional in our industry knows how to leverage the strategic benefits of these reports. But I have to ask: to what extent does media analysis really impact strategic decision-making at the highest levels in the corporate world?

Coincidentally, as I’m typing up my thoughts on the strategic relevance of monitoring for corporate success, I see an announcement cross my monitor: a global agency network has just announced that only 51 percent of marketing executives are completely satisfied with the quality of their own corporate PR data compilation. Nevertheless, this data is used by over 80 percent of marketing executives of all company sizes as the basis for their communications strategy development and program planning. Something seems to be out of synch here.

Again: how can we ensure monitoring quality? We ought to have a serious think about communication issues and question what’s really important…

Thomas Hahnel, Managing Director, Lucy Turpin Communications

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23.08.2014 / Cheers Deutschland!

SpeechOur summer abroad experience has come to an end as today unfortunately marks the day we say goodbye to the life-long friends we’ve made, the employers who have taught us so much, the endless number of beer gardens, the 2014 world cup champs, and of course the place we have called home for the last two and a half months. We could not have asked for a better experience here in Germany and are so grateful we were able to be part of the MSC program this summer. It seems like yesterday we were packing our bags to come here, unaware of what to expect, and clueless to the fact that this would truly be an unforgettable experience.

During our first 4 weeks here in Munich, we were taking a variety of media classes at Ludwig Maximilian University. These classes included Media Management, Media Theory, Informatics, Electronic Mass Media History, and Media Ethics. Once classes were over we then began our internship at Lucy Turpin Communications. At the agency we were responsible for a range of activities such as proof reading English texts, enhancing social media presence, and researching German media landscape such as exhibitors at the leading German IT security show as well as potential partner agencies in the US and UK. We really enjoyed doing this work for LTC because it taught us a lot about the agency and the kind of work done here. Not only did we learn from performing these tasks, but also just being able to sit in the office with the team and listen to the things going on was an incredible opportunity. Although there was a slight language barrier, we still were able to experience and really get a feel for a PR and marketing agency from a German perspective.

DrinksOur 9 weeks of classes and media internship flew by as we received our diplomas last night at the LMU graduation ceremony. The ceremony was an opportunity to meet the managers of some of the other companies our fellow students were interning with and a chance to thank everybody involved in the program for allowing this experience to happen. However, as we have learned, an event in Germany is not complete without an abundance of beer. After all the beer was consumed, it was not long until students were up at the podium giving toasts, laughing and sharing stories of the memories we all had being here together.

We would both like to give a special thanks to the team here at Lucy Turpin Communications for giving us this opportunity. Although our time with you was limited, we really appreciate the time and effort you all put in for us. We both learned a lot being here and had such a fun time working in the office with everyone. The homemade meal prepared was delicious and we were so happy to be welcomed into the team. We will miss coming to the office every day and enjoying our morning cappuccinos. Thank you again for all you have done and we hope to see/hear from you soon! Also, a big thanks to all of you who followed our blog.

Hazel Brown and Sara Hoing

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19.08.2014 / There’s A Magazine for That!

The Central station is a bustling place full of international travellers. Walking through the station, it is nearly impossible not to hear conversations in at least three different languages. Located in the middle of the station lies the Presse + Buch, an international press shop, where travellers from all over Europe are guaranteed to find a publication of interest. Books, magazines, and newspapers are printed in a variety of different languages including German, English, Italian, French, Spanish and Russian. Each language covered a variety of topics, ranging from news publications to tabloids, or special interest magazines focused on sports or fashion. While the content in each topic differed depending on which country the publication was from, there was always something for everyone.

Coming from the United States, it was certainly interesting for us to see the diversity. We couldn’t even think of a time we had seen an international press shop back home. Even the press shops at our international airports cater mainly to native English speakers. Additionally, it is not uncommon to find people glued to their smart phones, tablets, or kindles at airports instead of picking up a traditional print publication. This reflects media trends occurring in the United States. The public is making a switch to digital publications by reading content mainly on their personal devices. While this is an increasing global trend, the printed press is still a prevalent part of European media culture.

In addition to the international press shop, there is another Press + Buch specifically for German magazines. In the shop you can find hundreds of special interest magazines on nearly every topic. You want to read about Kate Middletons outfit from last week or brush up on your fishing skills? There is a magazine for that! From magazines about lifestyle, design, music, sports, motor, computer...you can literally find it all.

In the US, while we have these niche magazines, we were particularly impressed with the sheer number of magazines on one specific topic. For example, we lost track of how many magazines covered boats specifically. We also noticed that globally recognized magazines such as National Geographic and People magazine distributed completely different content depending on the country. After visiting the two shops, it was interesting to see the large presence of the printed press in Europe compared to what we see in the United States.

Hazel Brown and Sara Hoing

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09.08.2014 / First Impressions of Munich

My first German beer in Munich!Before coming to Munich, I was particularly nervous about the language barrier and was worried I would have a hard time communicating and getting around. I knew little to no German and was unfamiliar with the culture. I have traveled to a number of different countries around the world with my family; however, this was my first experience traveling to a foreign country alone for an extended amount of time. One thing I had heard about the German people before coming here was that they are very rude and hostile towards Americans. It took only about an hour until I realized that was simply not true. As an American tourist, everyone I have encountered is so nice and eager to help. Not only am I shocked by the number of people willing to help, but the number of Germans who speak English is astonishing. I had not realized how universal the English language was and am impressed with the fact that wherever I go, almost everyone knows English and knows it well. I am not sure where that stereotype came from, but I have come to realize that Germans are so polite and nice and it was only a short amount of time until I felt extremely comfortable and welcomed into the culture.

Paulaner Nockherberg Biergarten A reputation of Germany that I however believe to be well earned is that Germans sure do love beer. It is amazing how beer is such a major part of the German culture. There are beer festivals and beer gardens almost anywhere you go. Even during the workday you can walk around and see people sitting outside enjoying a beer at their leisure. There are hundreds of beer gardens located around Germany that consist of an outdoor area in which beer, others drinks, and local food are served. In many beer gardens I even noticed water was the same price as a beer—not something you experience in the US. There is often huge variety in the kind of beers you can order—my favorite has come to be the radler (a mix of beer and lemonade). The refreshing beverage can be found almost anywhere and is a concept I will definitely bring back with me to the US!

During my time in Germany, I was also very impressed with how easy it is to get around and travel the country. From the U-Bahn, to the train and bus system, you can get everywhere fairly cheap and quick. In the two months I have been here, I have had the opportunity to travel around the country to Nuremberg, Berlin, and the Neuschwanstein Castle, all places very different from each other but well worth seeing. The history of Nurnberg was fascinating and the architecture around the city was beautiful. We were also able to enjoy the delicious brats Nuremberg is known for! The day trip to Neuschwanstein castle was incredible. The views are amazing both of the castle and the lake near by. Our weekend trip to Berlin however, was simply not long enough—so much to see in so little time. Berlin was such a unique place (very different from Munich) where you can really see and experience the history and culture of the city. The city was very young and trendy and the graffiti that covered the city gave Berlin so much character. It was very apparent to see, as the Germans’ say, “Munich is where you go to work, Berlin is where you go to party.” Below are a few pictures I took of these places:

Part of Berlin Wall Neuschwanstein Castle View of Nuremberg, Germany

It is safe to say that during my time here, my first impressions of things have been incredible. Germany is such a beautiful country with so much to offer. The people are amazing, and it has been such an experience being immersed into the culture. I cannot believe how fast my time here is going—with only a few weeks left, I look forward to the rest of my time here and I know I will be sad to see it go. However, I look forward to returning to Germany in the nearby future!

Sara Hoing

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14.08.2014 / Word Cup Fever

We could not have picked a better time to be Germany. It was summer 2014 and world cup fever was in full swing. Our social lives quickly revolved around watching all the games and we all sat in class eagerly planning where to watch the next one. Whether we watched them at various beer gardens or public viewings, it was always a great excuse to get together with our new friends from the summer program and enjoy a Helles!

Sara and I attended our first public viewing at Olympia Park for the Germany-Ghana game. The stadium was packed with screaming fans in Germany’s colors, and it was still only in the group rounds. Upon arrival, we were all handed German flag face tattoos. Unfortunately, Sara and I were not paying attention and put our flags on upside down! We received many strange looks and comments because it was clear we were not from here. But we quickly learned our lesson and made sure to never make that same mistake again!

As the days progressed, I decided it was probably a good idea to purchase a “Deutschland” T-shirt to wear to the viewings (I’ll admit, I even wore it to the USA-Germany game). Win after win, it became very difficult to get a spot anywhere to watch the future games. We found ourselves having to arrive hours prior to get a decent seat at any beer garden. We watched the semi-final game against Brazil at the Nockherberg beer garden, which was easily the craziest game that I (or anyone for that matter) have ever seen. I remember I left the building for five minutes to buy some pommes and when I returned, the whole entire beer garden was chanting, screaming and climbing on tables. The score had gone from 1-0 to 5-0 in the course of minutes and I had missed all the goals! The subway after was completely packed with chanting fans. The energy and sheer happiness was incredible, but nothing could prepare us for what was yet to come: the final game.

Our program decided to watch the final game again at the Paulaner am Nockherberg, but this time getting there four hours before the game would hardly be enough time to score a seat. Some of our program members arrived at 2 pm to attempt to get a seat, but it was already completely full. We had a decent spot, but we had to stand. To pass the time, we sat on the ground and played cards while enjoying a stein… or two. The game itself was difficult to watch because so much was on the line. Nerves and hopes were so high. Even though I am not German, I had grown to love my home for the summer. I wanted to have that once-in-a-lifetime experience of being in a country during their world cup win! Luckily, all our wishes were granted when Götze scored the winning goal. The energy was surreal. The chants and celebrations rang through the hall and we stayed for about an hour extra after the game, well until the screams died down and everyone took to the streets. Many of us who still had some energy took the subway to Leopoldstraße where the celebration continued. I can still hear all the “SUPERDEUTSCHLAND” chants so vividly in my mind when I think about that night. It was such an incredible experience. I think maybe I will have to come back to Germany during the world cup 2018!

Hazel Brown

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07.05.2014 / Bad PR for PR: PR versus Journalism?

At the end of last year an article appeared in Spiegel Online, the news portal of the famous German investigative magazine, about the influence PR agencies exert on media. Wow, Spiegel Online! Spiegel online is ranked within the top 10 websites in Germany – only pages like Google, Amazon and Facebook have more hits. But between you and me, the article was the same old story about PR and how extensively PR influences the media. Don’t get me wrong - this is an important topic and it is good to have this discussion in the public, especially in Spiegel Online. But we’ve had this discussion now for a long time - about several decades. Then an agency guy took the initiative and voiced some valid arguments in the public discussion. Christmas came and went, the year closed and then there was silence again. Nevertheless, I was not really happy about how the discussion went, mainly because one important point was overlooked – one could get the impression that PR is only media relations, i.e., Press Relations.

This week, the UK Guardian and the German PR Journal picked up the news that “overpowering PR” will lead to the demise of freedom. In the US, PR professionals evidently outnumber journalists by a ratio of 4.6 to 1. In Europe, including Germany, the ratio is better, i.e., fewer PR professionals, but the proportion is “bad” here too. Again, don’t get me wrong: of course we need transparent communications, free journalism and a responsible attitude to PR for dialogue between media and PR to be productive. But, hey: has anyone taken a closer look at the numbers? The huge PR army we are talking about is not primarily engaged to influence media. These people are doing a lot of different things like growing owned media channels, making videos, and planning and executing on internal corporate communications. Public Relations is not only media relations. In fact, it’s much more. Even the term public might no longer be timely or correct. The bad thing in the discussion is that not only people get the impression that PR is an unscrupulous and undesirable thing – but, even worse, PR is reduced only to media relations. This is really bad PR for PR! So bad, that even our crisis communication skills won’t help us out of this quandary.

Thomas Hahnel, Managing Director, Lucy Turpin Communications

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21.03.2014 / Is this really funny? To all agency colleagues …

Did you see this funny picture in the Internet recently? I think it is supposed to be entertainment for the agency community. Lots of agency people immediately “liked!” them and added extra exclamation marks.

Well … let’s take a minute to think about this. I’m a true agency guy but I think this approach to our business is embarrassing, and even worse, it’s detrimental to the relationships we have to clients. “Liking” these photos demonstrates that some of us are unwilling to understand and commit to client requirements and budgets. Either that, or it shows that some of our colleagues have never been in charge of huge accounts – or both. Anyone who has worked on large accounts can explain a thing or two about client expectations, pressure and strategic outcomes. And what it feels like to be financially dependent on huge budgets.

Does anyone really believe that clients are demanding just because they want to see us suffer? Hardly. Or because they have financial clout? That’s not the point. The real challenge for us is to execute successfully within an agreed upon cost benefit ratio. Even if clients have pie-in-the sky expectations, it’s up to us to explain why strategically or tactically something will or won’t work. Moreover, it’s up to us to be creative and to present successful solutions for our clients within limited budgets. Every budget is limited in the end. I truly hope, that corporate marketing professionals – anyone’s clients - have not seen all the “likes” for this meme.

Thomas Hahnel, Managing Director, Lucy Turpin Communications
BTW: “Life of Pi” is a brilliant movie!

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27.02.2014 / Interning Abroad

Hi my name is Stephie and I am sadly coming to the end of my 7 month internship at LTC. I study Graphic and Communication Design at the University of Leeds and am currently completing a year in industry. I have always enjoyed travelling and taking on new challenges so this internship seemed the perfect opportunity to explore a new place and gain valuable insight into the German world of PR.

One of the first strange things I noticed upon arriving in Munich was the fact more than one u-bahn line shares the same platform, thus it is paramount concentration is sustained throughout the waiting process. This can be particularly challenging on a cold Monday morning. Despite this initial shock I do in fact find the transport system very efficient (as are most German things) and I find myself longing for the high ceilings and wide carriages when faced with the London underground offering. My best travel tips? Do change the language of the ticket machines to English and do download the transport app, it’ll be your new best friend. However if you do find yourself still getting lost, have no fear as even the people who claim not to speak English will be able to help you on your way. The amount of people who speak English in Munich is truly amazing and everyone is very friendly.

In terms of choosing a destination, I’ve had the chance to experience some of the best things Munich and the surrounding areas have to offer. The Bavarian summer is truly beautiful; I would definitely recommend lazing in the English Garden or by the Isar on a hot day. Munich is described as the ‘global village’ with all the cultural activities and amenities one could wish for yet still retaining a quaint feel. One of the things I have learnt during my time here is don’t expect to do any shopping on a Sunday and stock up on food the day before. We Brits love a good queue, but unless you are a particular queue enthusiast and have a good hour to spare don’t wait until seven in the evening before a bank holiday to go to the supermarket. I learnt this the hard way.

A true highlight of my time in Munich was going to Oktoberfest. Food, drink and merriment seem integral to Munich life. A lot of emphasis is placed on getting people together and community spirit. This spirit is naturally replicated in the LTC office where there is a kitchen for employees to cook their own lunches. In England it would be more common to grab lunch on the go or eat from your desk. I in fact prefer the communal dining experience, especially when once a month LTC employees take it in turns to cook a meal for the whole office. Lunch is a big deal here, so I wouldn’t recommend following my lead and bringing in the classic sandwich each day. Or if you really must be so English, be a little creative with your fillings and change it up a bit.

LTC offer a real hands on approach with the opportunity to get stuck into client work and participate in meetings as well as taking on responsibility for personal projects. The team was very welcoming and friendly, immediately making me feel integrated into the work environment, to the extent that I’m even on the kitchen duty list.

I’ve had the opportunity to combine creative, communication, strategic and research skills through a number of interesting tasks. I have particularly enjoyed working on copywriting and editing tasks for client publications, websites and PowerPoint’s as well as doing page layouts. I have had the opportunity to take on weekly client reports detailing the media coverage for the week. Another highlight of my time here has been working to produce a company newsletter as well as devising and implementing a new social strategy.  LTC are open to new ideas and suggestions which mean as well as learning a lot I’ve been able make a positive contribution to the agency as well as utilizing my graphics skills. I can definitely say I have left my mark as my eye and hands appear on the new LTC website. Who knows if PR doesn’t work out for me I could take up a career in hand and eye modelling, I certainly have the right kind of experience now! I’d like to thank the team for such a great intern experience, but especially for making me the proud recipient of a remote control car and introducing me to the delight that is the Käfer ice cream!

Stephanie Wood, Intern LTC/Student Graphic and Communication Design at the University of Leeds

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30.01.2014 / On Rubbing Those Eyes Red and Trust in Communications

Help, my eyes have gotten all red! It is my fault – I’ve rubbed them up and down, and back and forth, trying to get some clarity on what I’m reading! Does this happen to you, too, when you read the news? At the moment, the German media is beleaguered with scandals about the Automobile Club (ADAC), the NSA debacle, plagiarism in politics and explosive hate discussions online. Stunned by the rantings and ravings, my jaw has just dropped another inch and I think it’s becoming unhinged. Actually it’s not because I have a lot more to add to the conversations; I can’t even think of anything more to say! And I’m a professional communicator, and belong to that subgroup of species that should be good at repartee!

From my agency crisis communications work I know, of course, that we are privileged to only part of the truth. Attendant circumstances, power struggles or confidential information about which we are not aware are often not visible, leaving everything a bit skewed or at least open to interpretation. And you know what? I’d sometimes prefer not to know the truth. Because then I might tear out my hair, and you can tell by my photo that I can’t afford that! So let’s not be too quick to judge what we see in the news.

Nevertheless, there is a lesson here, one that can’t be often enough emphasized: at the end of the day, there is an immense and sometimes unrepairable loss of trust when something is miscommunicated or misinterpreted. One that is accelerated by our digital communication channels. So is it possible that there are still some top decision makers and VIPs that underestimate the power of communications? Managers who think that they can wheedle and manipulate editors and other responsible adults at will?

We are living in the Information Age, remember? And we’re not done with it. The Information Age is developing by leaps and bounds. I don’t mean that online media has supplanted print as the most popular information channel. The focus is no longer about the exchange of information or opinions as such. It’s about the loss of mutual trust between the sender and addressee. For only people and companies that we trust have a chance to reach us through their content. It is not new - that trust is the most stable currency in communications. But it’s still crucially important.

Actually, it’s somehow logical that the print “empire” strikes back or is at least making an attempt. The German trade media lobby recently revealed a sensational finding of its own: “Trade publications are the most important source of information for the professional decision maker and represent a meaningful guide to the B2B decision-making process …” That may not come as a surprise. I don’t intend to call into question the trustworthiness of its study findings - there might be truths in the results of the study. We are in the habit of trusting an established trade medium – provided that it is competent, offers useful information and doesn’t prostitute itself to its advertisers. Not an easy job. And that’s the quintessence, regardless of whether the media is digital or traditional. Are we, in the B2B sector, ready to accept the most stable currency, trustworthiness? What’s true in the public space is valid in our private lives – as soon as we want to be trusted, we must be open, be ready to expect and accept criticism, and be willing to invest in communications work. If a trust relationship has been established, then a mistake can be more easily forgiven. Clearly, we all make mistakes once in a long while. But if we prepare ourselves for entering in a trust relationship, succeed in attaining it and respond accordingly, then nobody has to rub their eyes until they’re red – even if we have to turn a blind eye once in a long while.

Thomas Hahnel, General Manager/Managing Director, Lucy Turpin Communications

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