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From Munich to London: 5 Key Takeaways from my Exchange at Lansons

As part of our international exchange programme, we hosted Nadine Landau, consultant, Klenk & Hoursch (our PROI Partner in Germany) for two weeks in May. Nadine is a skilled international media relations specialist and she has worked on a range of B2B and B2C clients. It was an absolute pleasure hosting Nadine, and we look forward to hosting her again in the future. Here are Nadine’s 5 key takeaways from her experience at Lansons:

Our business is developing at an enormous pace. Digitalisation has accelerated communication and also democratised it. At the same time the battle for public attention has never been harder. Clients are thinking and communicating internationally, and are expecting us to do so as well. There is no way we can stay in our comfort zones and keep on doing business as usual. Thus, it was great news when Lansons offered me the opportunity to step out of my routine and join them for two weeks in London.

But first things first…

I am a consultant at the German corporate and brand communications consultancy, Klenk & Hoursch AG. Klenk & Hoursch and Lansons are both selected agencies of the PROI network which consists of around 75 partners in more than 100 cities. The global network enables us to service our clients in all major economic regions around the world. In addition we benefit from the regular exchange of expertise and knowledge, such as my 2 week program in the UK.

After having worked for 4 years at Klenk & Hoursch – 48 months of learning to find the ideal mix of strategic foundation, creativity and excellence in execution for my clients, I felt quite settled in my job. I had been there and seen it all.

Arriving at Lansons, it was like starting all over again. Everything was new and exciting to me. Working with over 100 colleagues is very different to working with my team of 11 people in our Munich office. I had absolutely no idea what asset management, real estate or public affairs were all about, however Lansons had prepared a comprehensive schedule with various meetings for me, giving me the chance to quickly tap into their knowledge; not to mention the most important appointments such as drinks with colleagues and visiting the theatre to watch Shakespeare’s Othello with Lansons chair Clare Parsons.

To make a long story short: I had two wonderful weeks where I gained new insights and enjoyed inspiring conversations with exciting people! I could write pages on this – however, as I know you all prefer snackable content – I condensed my impressions to “5 key takeaways”:

  • “It’s all about networking“

In London you actually meet journalists and influencers on a regular basis at events, for lunch or even just for a coffee. This kind of “live experience” is of much higher importance than in Germany. Reason for this difference: in the UK most of the important editors are based in London, whereas Germany’s media-landscape is strongly decentralised. You simply can’t meet all your key editors regularly if they work in Köln, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich. However, experiencing the great value of face-to-face meetings with key contacts at Lansons encouraged me to make use of every possible opportunity to get to know our contacts in person – also in Germany.

  • “Getting inspired”

Another press release to be written, another editor to be called… The risk to be caught in the same daily routine is high. Thus, inspiration from non-PR-professionals makes so much sense. It is valuable for work but also for our personal development. At Lansons I attended several non-PR events including a presentation by a psychologist on neuroscience and an event on the female empowerment strategy – these events enlightened me to new perspectives and I came back home fully inspired!

  • “The bigger the agency, the more important employer branding is”

Employees need to identify themselves with the company and need to be kept motivated. The bigger the agency, the harder this task is. Lansons does a great job of doing this with breakfast events for new-joiners, offers for sporting events, beauty appointments and gatherings with drinks – just to name some examples!

  • “Charity is more than just charity”

Many companies do some kind of charity. It’s just something you do as you want to be a good member of society and also – let’s be honest – it’s good for your reputation too. For Lansons charity is much more than just looking good. Years ago they started an innovative partnership with the theatre company High-Tide, in which they provide office space and business support. In return actors of High-Tide stimulate Lansons creative thinking and offer speaker training. Whilst speaking to Lansons’ employees about this partnership, I noticed sparkling eyes and smiling faces. They all emphasised the importance of this engagement for their corporate culture. As the topics they usually handle at work are quite business-focused, they appreciate the experiential, cultural and social aspects of this partnership.

  • “Consider the political factor”

Brexit intimidates many companies in the UK and – of course – also their customers. Communication measures and messaging have to be adapted accordingly. Clients expect senior counsel and navigation of complexities. Even though we are not conducting public affairs at Klenk & Hoursch, my time at Lansons motivated me to also consider the political factor for my clients – asking myself, “Are there any political developments that might mean a risk or opportunity for my clients and our work?”

This was just a snapshot of all impressions gained during my time in London. Thank you so much for having me, Lansons!

Nadine Landau, Klenk & Hoursch