Often, we are approached to help Germany-based clients with international marketing or communications projects in native-English, but every now and again we are recommended by previous clients or colleagues to support an international technology or engineering business looking for help in Germany, where we are headquartered. We had just such a request last week, that made me realize how completely individual and unique the necessary skillsets for such projects can be.
Differentiation: what’s your sweet spot?
Increasingly, clients seem to be looking for reliable partners with that ‘sweet spot’ overlap in multiple, specialized criteria. First comes functional expertise, such as messaging and storytelling knowhow, media relations skills, or social media capabilities – without this you don’t have ‘table stakes’ to begin a partnership discussion. Second – though often ranked highest in terms of importance to information experts within the client organizations – comes an understanding of the relevant business sector or industry, specific areas of innovation or applications, and the relevant trends that are driving that market currently. This is often where the competitive differentiation lies, and you may not be considered without an Engineering Degree! Third – though often taken completely for granted – is having the right combination of cultural and/or language skills. Let me explain with a current example.
Current project: industrial automation social networking in Germany
My new US-based client knows they need a specialized partner to help the company position its expertise in industrial automation to potential influencers and customers in Germany. If you think you might fit the bill – please get in touch and fill out our Partner Application Form here.
It’s not a massive budget (where is these days!), and they have also had a less than positive experience in the past with larger agencies, so they prefer to work with experienced ‘freelancers.’ The topic and engineering audience mean that a high level of technical understanding – and ability to engage people around industrial automation topics – is essential.
When it comes to culture and language, there is no one-word, simple answer (contrary to frequent expectation). In this case, native-German is essential, while the ability to translate from US-corporate-to-German-engineer (Mittlestand, even) is also desired. In these days of digital transformation and multi-generational workforces, the words, examples, and channels you use – even choosing international English for some German LinkedIn groups – may positively influence success in meeting goals.
Like I say, this is not a simple job description to write – but every project that comes through our door has a similar combination of completely unique client needs! Have you had a similar experience filling difficult to specify roles?
All in the day job
In the meantime, we’ll help the client to specify this project, look at the available budget and which goals or activities they should prioritize accordingly, and help them to develop the brief for this and related projects. Luckily, we’ve had experience of doing this for technology clients in the past! For example, a previous client at the US consumer software company Techsmith said:
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Ronna Porter for many years now. During my time at TechSmith, I worked directly with Ronna as she led the agency team in Germany to great success. Her team spearheaded TechSmith’s PR-led demand generation push in Europe to consolidate established brands in the market – Camtasia Studio and Snagit, while launching new ones including Jing. TechSmith was able to directly link weekly sales figures to coverage, reviews, and giveaways. While managing agencies long distance can be a real challenge, Ronna made this as easy for me as she could through excellent communication skills. I recommend her to other American companies looking for PR or AR help to break into lucrative European markets such as Germany.” If you are looking for this kind of support too, Just Ask!