Cohn & Wolfe Hamburg office, photo credit: Carsten Brügmann

Cohn & Wolfe is an agency from a public relations background that now focuses on the Complete Brand Experience. In Germany, we’ve seen steady growth over the last two years. Until now, we’ve been lucky enough to have no problems finding enough people to work for us. That has something to do with the fact that we have set out to build an agency for grown-ups. “Grown up” in the sense of meeting the needs of both employees and customers to establish a healthy balance.

Part of that balance involves not relegating professionals and managers returning from parental leave or…

Next Level Content Marketing

Compared with what communications already achieved over the last couple of years, Content Marketing has been kind of a step back. What may explain to some degree at least, why a lot of people in communications have been thrilled by it:

Content Marketing promised a move back to the waterfall model of communications; or even more, back to a seemingly controlled environment.

At its core Content Marketing was for some time a pretty good answer to the question, how traditional commercials might look like given the massive change in media landscape that happened about ten years ago.

But since this…

Putting best talent where it’s best

There is an ongoing discussion in Germany about the question if leadership and the role of a manager are possible if you are working part time. The last round was sparked by an editor-in-chief that wanted to stay in her role after she gave birth and come back in part time for a year or so.

And as I learned just one week ago that there is a well-known agency in my city that explicitly refuses a career in part time (what is in my not so humble opinion the dumbest thing I heard for a long time), I feel…

I’m really thankful for the year that is ending now. Only this weekend, when we wrote our regular Yearly Letter and put it into snail mail, e-mail and presents, I was fully aware of the fact that I’m so thankful. The tradition of a Yearly Letter — that we adopted from my love’s family — is besides all the other things so wonderful, because it makes me pause a little bit. Pause to rethink the year, to remember the good times and the bad.

All in all, as I said, I am thankful for this year. Yes, there have been…

Well. Communications agency, agency for strategic communications, agency beyond disciplines. Colleagues tried a lot of ideas on their way to get our industry onto the “driver’s seat”, the position we all feel we deserve.

And indeed it’s nerve wracking

Jealously a lot of us look at ad agencies’ budgets, especially as they start to come around with communication programs that look quite a bit like PR at first sight (or in their award entries).

This is why I in a way understand how nervous some leaders of (former?) PR agencies are to reposition themselves and their firms. And to get rid of the label PR…

The (anyway irrational) hope, web and social media would lead auto-magically to more transparency, more real dialogue, or better corporate citizens, was smashed by professionalization and commercialization in online communications. Maybe it’s time to rethink what strategic and value driven communication online might look like today.

The system is broken — and that’s the good news

Ethan Zuckerman in Berlin

That’s what MIT director Ethan Zuckerman called his keynote at the German conference re:publica in May. I fully agree with his analysis, which is worth listening to and watching in full length.

At the core his story is about how…

Isn’t it funny in a way? Something ephemeral that looks like it’s here to stay? This is the case with ephemeral media right now. Looking at the ongoing success of platforms and services that are built around ephemeral — like Snapchat, Periscope or Yo — it’s obvious that we as communication professionals have to deal with it not as a trend topic but as a sustainable new way to interact with a lot of audiences.

First: Let’s take a little step back to look at the phenomenon and what it means for the web.

If I look at the web today, I see three webs to be honest. Three ways of accessing content and interaction, that are quite different…

It’s a modern myth in the communications industry that being loud and exceptional is the (only) way to get attention for your messages. That this is a myth is true for all pillars of communications, I believe — but especially for PR.

“Loud” and “exceptional” might lead to some reach.
But reach alone is worth exactly nothing.

The main difference between self-referencing douche bag work and efficient communications is still relevance. What means relevance for those with whom I want to talk or to whom I want to sell something. Yes, this might sound a bit trivial. But I see…

The Changes That Determine How We Build Creative and Efficient Programs

Developing ideas and communications programs, we need to keep in mind not only changes in habit of our desired audience — but also changes in technology and platforms surrounding us. Everyone talks about social, but this is not the main driver of change anymore.

All habits and all communication is driven by the digital transformation. What might be one — if not THE — reason, why communications is the first traditional industry that totally embraced this transformation.

Roughly said, we are dealing with three different “webs” today.

And it’s a huge mistake that most people in my industry are focussing…

Indeed. In theory it’s a smart idea, this native advertising thingy. And it’s true in a way. As is the idea of content marketing.

We are talking about the idea, that there must be a way to place messages within apps, games, media, social networks — in a way that is not intrusive but nativ (what is, if you think about it, a silly word, because it suggests there would be kind of a natural law for technology and other manmade things. But this is a common misconception in a lot of Anglo-Saxon discussions).

More precisely: the idea to embed…

Wolfgang Luenenbuerger

*pecca fortiter sed fortius fide* — family, theology, green. 3 tags: #icelandichorse, #communications, #pr. job: managing director @cohnwolfe Germany.

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