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Going Global: A Conversation with Thomas Hahnel of Lucy Turpin Communications (Germany)

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As part of our regular Going Global interview series — where we shine a spotlight on PAN’s trusted international agency partners — we caught up with Thomas Hahnel, MD at Lucy Turpin Communications. Thomas gave his views on the latest media and tech trends in Germany, offering expert insight for brands looking to expand into the country.

Based in Munich, Lucy Turpin is an award-winning technology focused communications firm, specialising in strategic PR and integrated marketing campaigns across the DACH region.

PAN has collaborated with Lucy Turpin on global programmes for clients including Payoneer, Degreed and HUMAN, among others.

What are the biggest media trends you are seeing in at the moment in Germany?

Thomas HahnelThomas Hahnel: Global media trends are German media trends. Sometimes we might get things a little later, or with a specific German flavour, but we see all the same big ones here.

So for example, like everywhere else, the hype around Clubhouse has largely died down at this stage, although social audio and podcasts remain very popular.

And like the rest of the world, and especially as professional communicators, we increasingly have to care to use gender-appropriate language. Although in German it is a little different.

Unlike English, personal designations in German are assigned a gender. So, for example, the word for doctor is masculine. Strictly speaking, this excludes women. So companies and institutions that stand for gender equality need new solutions for written and spoken language.

Regardless of the political and socio-cultural debate, communicators have to be aware of these new trends and adapt their language accordingly.

What are the fastest growing technology sectors?

Thomas Hahnel: There is huge amount of different cross-sector digital and tech businesses doing really exciting and innovative things in Germany at the moment. Anything IoT or 5G related is particularly hot right now. So too are solutions that master big data: Analytics and AI. This is true both on the consumer side as well in B2B, and across all industries.

What is your advice to companies that want to grow awareness using PR and integrated marketing in Germany?

Thomas Hahnel: Of course, that depends on the industry and existing brand awareness. But part of the answer lies in the question: It is about integration of activities. The customer journey must be mapped across all channels. Paid media, as part of the comms mix, plays a decisive role in the digital sector in Germany. I’m not talking about huge investments. A smart local LinkedIn campaign, or basic SEM, doesn’t have to cost a fortune to deliver high impact.

What’s the biggest misconception brands have about the German market?

Thomas Hahnel: I think many underestimate the heterogeneity and complexity in Germany. It is important to take your time to get know and understand the specific nuances here. And that includes drilling down into the industry or sector you’re targeting too.

Tailored approaches with relevant and informed data demonstrate preparation and concrete commitment. Generic and superficial information, on the other hand, has a hard time cutting through.

What’s more, we’re rather risk averse. This means that concrete technical advantage arguments alone are not enough when it comes to making purchasing decisions. If there is no business case, and no proven market, it is hard to find an early adopter. This also applies to marketing and media activity.

What do you feel is the biggest advantage of the global partnership model with PAN, and why do you think you think you work so well together?

Thomas Hahnel: “Think global, act local” is a worn out slogan. But that’s central to our partnership! And that’s what communication is all about. Implementing a global strategy nationally. But of course that’s not enough. PAN and Lucy Turpin have the same pragmatic view of things, without forgetting the strategy. And we are not just a virtual network to promote business opportunities, we know each other and we exchange ideas & knowledge.

Interested in exploring global partnership options? Learn more about our global expertise.

international public relationsFor other insights in the series, check out our conversation with Lisa George, MD, at Iris Public Relations in the UAE. 

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