Tag Archive: public link

Our clients show solidarity!   

Looking at Eastern Europe it is obvious that we all are speechless and overwhelmed. The current situation and the suffering associated with it makes many people very concerned and makes us feel helpless. Millions of people have already fled from Ukraine to escape the war – and now need support. Throughout Europe peace demonstrations are being held, shelters are being organized, and relief supplies are being collected and transported – there are countless ways to help the people from Ukraine. We at Public Link have decided that we want to get involved individually and are actively doing so. You can follow us on how we do this on our social networks Instagram and LinkedIn

Our clients are also doing their part to support the people in Ukraine and their families in Germany. Energy food manufacturer Clif Bar is working with its long-time partner Convoy of Hope to provide emergency aid and support their relief efforts on the ground. Finnish sneaker brand Rens is donating 100 percent of all proceeds from the sale of “Ocean Blue Sneakers” to charitable relief organizations for two months. MEININGER Hotels is providing some hotel rooms for refugees in Berlin.

Also the vegan fashion label Alife & Kickin shows solidarity – how exactly they support Ukraine, Lisa Schwebel from Alife & Kickin tells us in a short interview:

Alife & Kickin® is a fair and vegan street and sportswear brand with a focus on style, functionality and sustainability. The eco-friendly fashion label, which has banned all animal products from its collections since 2013, is officially PETA Approved Vegan.

PL: Dear Lisa, nice of you to take time for us. Please introduce yourself and your job briefly.

Lisa Schwebel: I’m Lisa, I work as a freelancer at Alife & Kickin and I’m mainly responsible for [the production and campaign planning of] image shoots. Currently I’m also taking over the social media account. 

PL: February 24, 2022 will probably remain one of the shock markers in all of our memories. Are you affected by the current situation and how do you deal with it? 

Lisa: Our production was not affected by this. However, it must be said that emotionally, of course, it was a standstill. I also paused the social media activities for a time, but for the reason that I helped to pack boxes at the Avus rest stop outside Berlin and was not actively working for Alife & Kickin at all. Also our CEO Nick has completely extended and renovated two apartments so that he can take in refugees, besides the usual madness.

PL: How did you get active together as a company? 

Lisa: As a company, we donated 600 winter jackets worth about €50,000 – a 12h action. [It only took one phone call and] via express, a freight forwarder came to the Avus in Berlin and there we loaded the jackets with the Berlin designers Marina Hörmanseder and Ewa Herzog directly to Ukraine.

PL: Do you have any opportunities within the company to get involved?

Lisa: Internally, we called for donations for the expansion of the two apartments of Nick. So everyone could participate in different ways: I remotely sent an IKEA gift card, others helped clean the apartments on site, or filled the fridge.

PL: What has the response been like? 

Lisa: One apartment is now occupied. We found a family through a private contact who have now moved in: a mother with twins (3.5 years old) and grandparents to boot. Nick’s family is also taking care of registration, daycare places etc. at the moment. 

The mother also has the possibility to start with us, she probably will. At the moment she is still arriving. Last weekend we all went to the zoo together to give the kids a little normality. 

For the other apartment (approx. 40qm) we are still looking for refugees. Unfortunately, the authorities in Saxony are not behind with the placement, which is a pity, because everything is completely ready for occupancy, the refrigerator is filled, etc.. 

Also the Truck with the donations from the Avus rest stop (including our jackets) arrived in Ukraine.

PL: What was your experience? Can you give any tips to other companies who also want to get involved?

Lisa: It was our private gut decision to help and to do and give what we can. If other companies decide to donate, there are a lot of fundraisers regionally and across Europe on many different platforms. Just do it and make it happen. 

We were lucky because of our short communication channels that it was super fast. One call and the jackets were ready to ship, which is actually an advantage with our company size. 

PL: Dear Lisa, thank you very much for your answers and for your commitment! 

In Berlin and all over Germany there are countless possibilities to help the people from Ukraine and we would like to give you a small overview so that you can become active yourself!

Help on arrival:

Support large aid organizations:

Organize emergency shelter:


Peacefully protest:

Attention recording! Step by step to the perfect branded podcast

Especially in the pandemic, the already increasingly popular medium podcast became an absolute hype. So it’s no wonder that companies are now also integrating the communication medium into their marketing mix as an ideal branding tool – and in a far more sophisticated way than via the classic pre-roll.
From a PR perspective in particular, the podcast is an excellent medium for sharing brand messages, exciting insights and valuable tips with the target group.how this works, we explain step by step using the example of our client, the vacation home online marketplace FeWo-direkt, with whom we created the podcast “Mit Kind und Koffer”

Step 1 – Determine topic and target group

The first consideration was the target audience. Do we make a podcast for the media or rather for consumers? Depending on the decision, this will affect the entire approach to the production, starting with the partners, the interviewees and the content topics, up to the accompanying marketing and PR measures. We decided on the target group “families who like to spend their holidays in a vacation home”.


1. The target group should be defined in advance. The sharper the definition, the easier all further steps and the identification of topics will be.

Step 2 – Find competent partners & snappy formats

For the technical implementation and production, we addressed the digital city magazine “MitVergnügen”, whose employees have already been producing such successful podcasts as “Hotel Matze”, “Familienrat”, “Beziehungsrat”, “Heute in 5 Jahren – der Zukunftspodcast” for several years.  When it came to the topic of travel, MitVergnügen was able to demonstrate expertise with their brand extension “Reisevergnügen”. 

Together, we proceeded to define the format and decided on casual conversations between the editor-in-chief of Reisevergnügen, Charlott Tornow, and the book author & family expert Nora Imlau.


1. Loose conversations are better suited for podcasts than stiff interviews.

2. Competent partners with technical know-how and production experience are essential.

Step 3 – Searching for a title, creating guidelines and getting to know the interviewees

After an intensive brainstorming session, we decided on the podcast title “Mit Kind und Koffer” (With child and suitcase). Afterwards, we were able to mutually determine the topics for the individual episodes. For the beginning, we limited ourselves to a season with four episodes. Each episode was supposed to have a clear structure, deal with a specific topic and feature a conversation between host Charlotte and Nora Imlau. The client was able to specify the topics they wanted. In the end, we agreed on a more general first episode, followed by conversations about vacations with babies and toddlers, vacations with teenagers and vacations with grandparents.

Rough guidelines for the 20-to 30-minute conversations were prepared. That way, all participants knew in advance what was going to be discussed without the conversations seeming too scripted and thus inauthentic later on. 


1. The podcast title should be short and meaningful at the same time, so that it is immediately clear what it’s all about.

2. Conversation guidelines with questions and bullet points for the answers make it easier to record and prevent people from getting bogged down or the conversation coming to a dead stop. In addition, the customer can name the topics that are most important to him in advance.

3. With a pre-announcement of the podcast via social media, potential listeners can be invited to send questions. In this way, you create the first interested followers.

4. The interviewees should not only be suitable in terms of content, it is also ideal if they already have a certain level of recognition (influencers, authors, journalists, scientists…) in order to bring along their followers as potential listeners.

5. Preliminary interviews are important so that the interviewees can get used to each other and get to know one another. Later on, the episodes will seem much more natural.

Step 4 – Compose music, design the logo and get some good technology. 

In the next step, we had MitVergnügen compose a title melody that would fit the theme and tenor of the podcast. The logo was developed on the basis of a brand photo of the client.  Due to the lockdown, it was unfortunately not possible for Nora Imlau to travel to the podcast studio in Berlin. Normally, however, this makes sense for the atmosphere of the conversation and for technical reasons. To save time, the recordings of the four episodes were scheduled for two consecutive days. 


1. An own title melody gives the podcast a recognition value. GEMA-free music is possible, but quickly sounds arbitrary.

2. For the title picture/logo, simple graphics or icons are better than photos. Company logos should not be used.

3. When branding, both visually and in terms of content, it is best to act as restrained as possible.

4. Everyone should have the same technical requirements; a professional recording studio is not a must, but it makes post-production work easier.

5. It’s recommended to record 10 minutes longer in order to have enough material for post-production and to cut less successful parts.

Step 5 – Postproduction and setting up the channel

After the recording was completed, the episodes went into post-production at MitVergnügen. A teaser was produced, the lead-in for the episodes was recorded, the misspeaks and filler words were cut from the conversations, and the acoustic artifacts were removed. Finally, the client was able to approve the finished episodes before publication. This prevented misinformation in the content. Afterwards, the MitVergnügen employees set up the channel on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


1. Every podcast needs a short, approximately 2-minute teaser that sets the direction and content.

2. Rough mistakes or too many “uhms” can be cut out in post-production.

3. Setting up a new channel takes about two days. What can be heard on Spotify and Apple Podcast will automatically run on other podcast platforms later.

Step 6 – The episodes are published and accompanied by media activities

In a two-week rhythm, the pre-produced episodes were launched live on Fridays and accompanied with social media activities – both by MitVergnügen and Reisevergnügen as well as with influencer and media cooperations via FeWo-direkt. A press release was also written for the first episode. Since podcasts are a long-lived medium and the content is still quite relevant today, references to the podcast are made in all external communication (e.g. boilerplates, emails, etc.). 


1. With a new podcast, it makes sense to put a few episodes live right at the start of the season – two or three. After that, further episodes should be published at weekly intervals. This creates better loyalty among listeners and ensures that they remember the podcast.

2. Podcasts grow slowly. The first episode will always have the most listeners. But the more often and longer you feed the podcast with new episodes, the better for the numbers.

3. Social media accompaniment is important. The more influencers with a wide reach link to the podcast via “swipe-up”, the better. It’s best to promote each episode individually. The budget for social media support should be similar to the budget for the entire podcast production.

Our conclusion – let’s do it again!

Podcasts offer many possibilities – also for PR. However, one should not expect huge media attention; podcasts mainly pay off in terms of brand awareness. Although the number of podcasts is continuously increasing and the competition is growing, brands can definitely still occupy certain niches. However, branding should be used very discreetly and with a lot of sensitivity. For “Mit Kind und Koffer” FeWo-direkt has taken a kind of pioneering position in the industry. So there are no more obstacles to a further season of the podcast. We are already looking forward to it!

© Pexels - Pablo Heimplatz

What’s next after the pandemic, Alexander Vogel?

Billion-dollar losses, layoffs, bankruptcies. The impact of the pandemic on the entertainment and event industry has been a frequent topic of controversial dispute in recent weeks and months. Often, there has only been a fine line between general social responsibility and justified concerns of members of the industry. In the meantime, we are in the second year of the pandemic and the advancing vaccination campaigns worldwide are fuelling hopes that the end of the tunnel is at hand. Time to look ahead, because we, too, can hardly wait to work with our clients again to implement communication concepts that go beyond digital alone. What will the events of the future look like? In what form will communication take place? What role will sustainability play?  

Public Link spoke with three partners and event experts who venture an outlook on the future of the event industry. 

Alexander Vogel, managing director of the Berlin communications agency “26zehn,” expects a greater awareness of ecological issues and is convinced that the hybridization of events will play a key role in the future. Together with his agency, we managed the last event before the outbreak of the pandemic in spring 2020. It is therefore only right that he is also the first person we talk to about the time after Covid.

We can agree that 2020 was a gloomy year for the event industry. Nevertheless, every crisis also brings new opportunities, and so the current pandemic is creating the necessary pressure to rethink. As a creative agency with a focus on events & live communication, we want to take advantage of that and have already positioned ourselves more broadly as an agency before the pandemic. 

Tailwind for greener digital events

Fortunately, the pandemic hit us at a time when large parts of the world were already connected with high-speed internet and had the technological capabilities available to bridge physical distance and work remotely effectively. Technology is becoming more powerful and the options for meeting are currently more plentiful than ever before. 

But the focus here is not only on the resources of time and effectiveness, but above all on the environment and our footprint. If we’re honest, it’s been clear to us for a long time that flying halfway around the world for a meeting, a symposium or a short visit to a trade fair is neither effective nor timely. Hopefully, this will continue to be limited in the future as we continue to focus on digital and hybrid solutions. The realignment of values that is currently taking place is accelerating the discovery of innovative approaches to solutions and the development of sustainable information and communication technologies. Wise use of technology is more important than ever. In this context, the hybridization of events will certainly play a key role. The combination of live events and digital interaction is already enabling completely new formats. 

Key elements: Hybridization, digital events and precise planning 

For us as an agency, one of the key factors for the successful organization of an event – in addition to compliance with hygiene standards, which is now a standard part of our work, and the development of creative event concepts, smart security and prevention concepts – will also be the precise planning of the event after the actual event. This refers to professional, targeted data management, which represents clear added value for both the organizing brands and the event attendees. In future tenders and pitches, this additional aspect will play a key role alongside the actual development of creative overall concepts, customized staging and individual event design.

Making digital options an asset and rethinking time scales 

Less physical presence also means more space. By relying on less space for digital event concepts, multiple events could be held simultaneously at one location. In addition, it would be conceivable to hold individual events over a longer period of time in order to generate adequate visitor numbers again while meeting hygiene standards. Numerous agencies and companies are also taking advantage of the currently available space in their business premises to set up professionally equipped studios and produce more of their own formats. 

But we shouldn’t kid ourselves: virtual interactions cannot ultimately replace human ones, not in real life and not in live communication either. Instead, the focus is more than ever on the quality of the encounter. The desire for closeness and overcoming distance enjoys top priority. Networking on the sidelines and spontaneous exchanges are still an inherent need. We are currently making this challenge our mission. We are looking forward to the future, while also returning to classic event formats. 

Alexander Vogel is Managing Director at 26zehn”. The communications agency from Berlin is known for its cross-media expertise and clear philosophy: according to the agency, every project starts with a white sheet of paper, 26 letters and ten numbers. Its clients include WallDecaux, ADAC, XING and the Bayer Group.

© Ferdinand Christ

Public Link in conversation with Head of Marketing & Sales Ferdinand Christ

The media industry is in a transitional phase. The Corona crisis is accelerating the digitization of our everyday lives, and mass media have been fighting for readership and viewer numbers not just since the pandemic. How does this development affect the special interest magazine sector?

Pulse Publishing is one of the largest special interest publishers in Germany. 12 magazines are published in print and digital under the umbrella of the leading marketer for a young and trend-oriented target group. The topics range from sports and travel to fashion and culture. According to the editors, they attach great importance to presenting their stories authentically and thus mirroring the lifestyle of the readers. In this interview, Ferdinand Christ, Head of Marketing & Sales at Pulse Publishing, shares his thoughts on how the media industry is changing and what he would like to see from agencies and companies in the future. 

PL: Ferdinand, your titles are primarily tailored to a modern and dynamic target group. How have you perceived the media consumption habits of your readers in recent years? 

Ferdinand Christ: Consumption behavior in the media has shifted extremely in the direction of social media and influencers in recent years. But you can see that social media is not necessarily social media. Some platforms gain, some decline rapidly, and only a few remain consistent. Nevertheless, our trend magazines are still popular and the sites remain well frequented. 

PL: As a publishing house, how have you responded to these developments? Did new formats or channels emerge or become more relevant in recent years? 

Ferdinand: As an independent medium and a publisher focused mainly on online platforms, we can respond to topics and innovations in a much more targeted way. “Service” is in pole position for us. But current features, news and stories also form other cornerstones with which we can successfully hold our own. 

PL: Many of your competitors have had a tough time financially in recent months – some titles no longer exist. In the midst of media change and the pandemic, what ways do you see to keep media houses solid?  

Ferdinand: The media – whether print or online – are having a harder time than ever. Many of our competitors have been able to just about keep their heads above water through savings, but these are very short-term funds that most of them have at their disposal. So I think it’s good that there are opportunities, for example through crowdfunding campaigns or government aid, to be able to continue pursuing your vision. We all have one goal – to share our passion and get more people involved in sports, to support and inform them. 

PL: What’s your take on paid journalism – potential option for funding, or rather exclusively advertising and brand deals? 

Ferdinand: That’ s a very difficult question! Paid journalism is definitely a potential funding option within a conditional framework. However, it should definitely not be too promotional and should also offer space for criticism. Classic brand deals and advertising still exist, but nowhere near what they were five years ago, for example. It is therefore important to constantly create new marketing formats in these areas. 

PL: How has working with PR agencies and brand managers changed in the past few years? 

Ferdinand: The expectation of many PR agencies and brands is that we, as media, share a press release selflessly and immediately through our channels. As soon as it comes to financial cooperation, on the other hand, responses are rare – and that’s a damn shame, because there are an enormous number of approaches that would offer the brands or products added media value. Unfortunately, for those responsible, this is often not even an option. 

Whether it’s with a large corporation, a small shop or a traditional PR agency, partnerships must be fair in both directions.

PL: What would you like to see in terms of the development of the industry? 

Ferdinand: From minute one, we have helped to build up sports in particular, communicated it, and offered a platform – and at the same time we have also helped to build up the surrounding brands. More people should remember this before they once again waste their tight marketing budgets on giveaways and influencers.

PL: Thank you for answering our questions!

Harry & Meghan: A PR perspective on the big royal interview

The interview of the year is still on everyone’s lips: When US talk show host Oprah Winfrey sat down with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan for some explosive revelations about the royal family’s treatment of the former actress – from harassment to accusations of racism – the world watched in shock.

The publics’ reaction: mixed. Malicious tongues claim that Meghan in particular can’t let go of fame and does everything she can to stay in the limelight and earn a penny or two.

Those who are of this opinion, however, get new fodder with the latest news, as: The Sussexes are said to have signed huge deals with giant tech companies shortly before the big interview. These include Netflix with a triple-digit deal and Spotify with a double-digit million deal.

There is no doubt that the allegations from the interview are troubling to say the least. What is doubtful, however, is the timing. One might even argue that the royal couple’s accusations should have been made public immediately – so why wait?

As “old hands” in the business, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan know exactly how to deal with the media and what information to use best, when and how. So it doesn’t come as a shock that the couple would use the momentum to cash in. For Meghan in particular, as a former actress, a deal with the steaming giant Netflix is more than beneficial – with it, documentary series and various other TV formats are virtually in the pipeline.

After the general debate on whether the royals intentions were pure or purely money driven, all eyes turned to Buckingham Palace. Would the Queen issue a statement in response or keep quiet over the allegations? 

It is said Queen Elizabeth at first refused to sign an official statement. But on Tuesday evening (March 9), Buckingham Palace did release a message from the British royal family. A statement that was to the point, straightforward and yet laced with one or two digs.

From a PR perspective, we don’t think the Palace could have reacted any differently. Though brief, the couple’s accusations were addressed with earnestness and further rumors of a divided family were quashed with the final words, “Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family”. 

Click here for the Queen’s statement: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/09/uk/buckingham-palace-response-harry-meghan-gbr-intl/index.html 

Time will tell how and if the royal family will overcome this current crisis and whether Harry & Meghan will exploit the power of the media in the future. In any case, we think both parties have played their parts well in terms of PR. 

The world is a very serious place right now, but this made us laugh in context of the Royal Interview:


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Renato Leo, Founder MAZE Management

Public Link in conversation with Agency Owner und Influencer Manager Renato Leo

Whether it be TikTok, Instagram or LinkedIn – influencer marketing has only become more popular with Corona, according to a study by Duff & Phelps. However, the use of familiar faces as ambassadors and advertising figures of a brand is nothing new: Since the beginning of advertising, stars & starlets have been used in the traditional media as so-called testimonials. Despite its profitability, influencer marketing is becoming a challenge for every advertiser due to the increasing number of channels, messages and complex, cross-channel campaigns, paired with the decreasing attention span. Luckily, we have Renato Leo in the office. 

Our newest member of the office family and valued partner Renato founded his agency MAZE Management in 2014 to support and promote emerging talents in the field of social media. As a former journalist, Renato knows exactly how messaging must look to be credible and effective and has a trained eye for exciting content creation and storytelling. We asked him what influencer management actually means, what a good cooperation should look like and where he sees the future of the industry.

PL: Hey Renato, thanks for taking the time to talk. Please introduce yourself and your agency MAZE Management.

Renato Leo: Today, we see MAZE as a talent management for social media creators, whom we support in storytelling conception, image building, positioning, marketing and content monetization. Our network includes a selected pool of photographers and videographers, who can be accessed by our talents at any time. Currently we have ten influencers from various fields under exclusive contract, with a focus on creators with a TV background. Among others we manage former Germany’s Next Topmodel participants or actors of “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten”. 

PL: Where did you come up with the idea to build up a management for Influencer and what are the characteristics of good management?

Renato Leo: Around 2016 I received more and more requests from influencers if I would consider taking over their management. Two years later, Maze had already grown so much that I was completely focused on the agency, which was one of the best decisions of my life. I really enjoy working with the talents, building and marketing them. I believe that is what good management is all about: Not relying on rapid monetization, but on the consistent and sustainable development of talents. 

PL: How does one become a talent at MAZE and what are the most important criteria in selecting your talents?

Renato Leo: All our talents are characterized by a high affinity to social media. It doesn’t really matter whether one primarily utilizes Instagram or multiple platforms.  Much more important is the quality of the content and a high quality can only be guaranteed if the creator is one hundred percent on the job. Of course we also take a close look at the statistics of the talents. If someone wants to be accepted there are several criteria to be met. These include not only a high reach and commitment, but also a following, at least 50 percent of which comes from German-speaking countries. From time to time, we receive applications from people with a six-figure number of followers, most of whom come from Brazil, the USA or elsewhere. An advertising partner with Germany as a target market would immediately turn away. 

PL: Do you specialize in a particular industry or segment at MAZE? Where do you still want to go?

Renato Leo: There are some managers who only take care of Let’s Gamer or YouTuber, which can make sense, but that’s not what we do. We feel very comfortable as an agency for influencers, who became known through a TV show or are full-time active in the film/TV business. At the moment we are looking very closely at the market for professional athletes, because there is a lot of potential in this area. In the meantime, we are also planning to set up a marketing unit that develops and rolls out campaigns for brands, which is a logical further development of MAZE. 

PL: According to which principles do you choose the appropriate brands and projects? What makes a good cooperation for both sides?

Renato Leo: In one word: Brandfit. The brand and the product have to fit the Influencer. When an inquiry reaches us, we take a very close look at the company and the products we want our talents to promote. We also let our talents test the products in advance and check the campaign concept. So there are a few parameters that have to be met before a cooperation can be established. When we started placing the first jobs six years ago, many companies were still looking at the pure channel size and less at whether an influencer and its community could really get the products across credibly. A lot of money was burned. A cooperation is only successful if the brand sees their targets fulfilled and the talent has been able to monetize the content in an authentic way – ideally, this will result in a long-term partnership. 

PL: At Public Link we are big fans of best practice examples. Is there a MAZE campaign that you especially like to remember?

Renato Leo: Just recently we implemented a campaign with KFC Germany that was a great success for all parties involved and even caused a sensation at their US headquarters. The cooperation came about by a lucky coincidence. Timur Ülker, who is an actor for “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten” and a passionate musician, sent me one of his recently produced songs to ask me for my opinion. In a text passage it was about him and his friends having a stop at a fast food chain after a party. I suggested changing this passage, offering the song to KFC and building a cooperation based on it. Not only was the song extremely well received by KFC – they even commissioned us to produce a new song to celebrate the 130th birthday of KFC founder Colonel Sanders. We joined forces with Timur’s good friend and well-known German rapper Eko Fresh and within a week the “birthday song” was finished, which then became the heart of the Colonel Sanders jubilee in Germany and was featured on a special landing page on the KFC homepage and on Instagram. 

PL: How do you think the influencer market will develop? Are there new trends that you find particularly thrilling?

Renato Leo: This professionalism will continue to advance. This is already ensured by the platforms alone with new innovations that allow influencers to create exciting and relevant content. The TikTok hype and also Instagram with reels have strengthened this development in 2020. Especially the brilliant catch-up of TikTok has surprised many. In addition, podcasts are likely to become increasingly important for advertisers. This is also shown by the recent acquisitions of streaming services such as Spotify, which bought up podcast agencies for insane sums of money and signed up star podcasters exclusively. Over the past two years, many bloggers have created their own podcast, and podcasters have become influencers. There is still quite a lot to happen in Germany.

PL: What is your personal opinion about younger platforms such as TikTok? Is this where the future of influencer marketing is headed?

Renato Leo: The TikTok creators did a lot of things right and recognized the right opportunities in the Corona crisis to attract new users. The further development from the Lipsync app for kids to an entertainment platform for young people has been extremely successful. Most creators, whether YouTuber or Instragrammer, have quickly picked up the new TikTok hype and used it for their own purposes. Our talents are all represented on TikTok as well because it is another pillar: on the one hand, to create exciting content, on the other hand, of course, to be relevant for advertising partners. In any case, TikTok is a great addition for social media creators. 

But for brands, TikTok is still a difficult platform at the moment. For brand awareness campaigns, the platform is great, since you can achieve high reach with the right concept. However, TikTok cannot generate direct sales like Instagram – at least not yet. I’m sure that Bytedance will come up with a solution for this in the near future to catch up with Instagram & Co. 

PL: And finally: Can brands or products still be successful today without influencer marketing?

Renato Leo: As soon as a brand or product is intended to appeal to a broad mass, there is no way around influencer marketing. In the beauty, food, sports and fashion industries, influencers have become an integral part of the marketing mix that can significantly drive growth and sales. And compared to Asia, where influencers are the most important advertising media, we are still in the early stages of influencer marketing in Europe.  

PL: Thanks for the great talk Renato!

Shortened, postponed, cancelled – Public Link speaks with travel journalists on their current situation

Despite Corona, travelling is possible again to a limited extent. However, the entire travel and tourism industry was turned completely upside down in 2020. The consequences will not only be felt by the industry itself – according to UNWTO, around 120 million jobs worldwide will be affected by the consequences for travel – travel journalism has also experienced a hard hit. After all, no travel means no destination articles, and that in turn means: cut, postponed, cancelled – as the new daily routine for travel journalists. Instead, Germany-based topics and regional vacations, excursion articles and DACH-region travel blogs are becoming more popular and seem to be the future of “long-distance travel”. Tourism itself thrives on personal encounters and experiences. Hardly any other industry has met as often and as happily at trade fairs, annual conferences, congresses and events in recent years as the travel and tourism industry . But as Verena Wolff, travel journalist and freelance journalist, describes the present situation and problem of travel journalism: “Travel journalism without travel – that is like climbing mountains in the lowlands, like riding a bicycle with a flat tire…”. She and two other colleagues told Public Link about their experiences in the past months, changes in the industry and the advantages for the future of travel journalism:

“The situation for travel journalists is problematic for two reasons. On the one hand, many publications currently publish no or significantly fewer articles due to a lack of advertisements and if they do, then mostly only on German regions. Other publications are bankrupt or postponing their publication dates. Secondly, research trips are now only possible to a very limited extent. Many service providers no longer support journalists. Even the cancellation of trips that have already been firmly planned has resulted in some cases of considerable costs that cannot be reimbursed. I think that a recovery will only start very slowly and will not lead back to the level before Corona. These are my experiences.” – Detlef Berg, various daily newspapers

“The strangest thing was the time from March on, when during the lockdown no travel sections appeared at all. During this time I mainly wrote service stories about traveling in corona times for the paper. When it became clear that at least domestic travel – at first only Bavaria was considered a perspective – was possible, we finally put the supplement Gute Reise back in the paper on May 9th. Since then, it is only two, sometimes three pages thin, although there would even be ads for more pages. But Corona forces us to reduce the size of the paper. It’s strange not to have any long-distance travel in the issue, while the editorial offices are virtually overwhelmed by German and Austrian topics. But that will certainly come back when there is a vaccine, hopefully in 2021. All in all, Corona was also a reason to remain thematically regional in the future. But I’m not missing out on long-distance press trips at the moment, I’ve simply taken more modest trips in Europe this year, and instead of Corfu I went to the Black Forest. My France summer journey with the family and the camper to Burgundy was planned anyway, as well as a week on the houseboat. In this respect nothing has changed. We’ll still get through the year. The main beneficiaries are vacation rentals and the camping industry. At the moment I am most curious if the winter season will run under restrictions as well or whether we’ll have to skip skiing this year.” – Matthias Niese, Nürnberger Nachrichten

“Travel journalism without traveling – it’s like climbing mountains in the lowlands, like riding a bicycle with a flat tire. One is thwarted, nothing functions anymore. Of course you can look at pictures, travel in your head again to the places you have already been. But there is something missing – most of it. The sounds, the smells, the experience. The feeling of whether or not one feels comfortable in the place. And above all: the people. The hosts. Those who make sure every day that a reporter on his travels knows the best spots to watch the Northern Lights, the secret places where you can get a moose or a reindeer in front of your lens. The stories are told from their homeland, which make a place experienceable. You have to like travelling, being on the road. Also the life out of the suitcase, every night in another accommodation. But anyone who likes and that currently feels rather locked up. Because many things are not possible or only possible with restrictions. And some things have the aftertaste of a bad feeling,  especially being in crowds. However, the situation also has one good thing: instead of wandering off into the distance, you get to know the local area better.” – Verena Wolff, Freie Journalistin (dpa and others)

Public Link in conversation with actress and presenter Andrea Gerhard

We regularly meet and interview professionals from our agency environment, who are experts in many different fields, on core issues of their work and developments in the industry.

In the current interview, actress and presenter Andrea Gerhard introduces us to the secrets of the podcast world and explains how she and partner David Wehle created the sustainability podcast ZWEIvorZWÖLF. Andrea also gives a few tangible tips for agencies that want to use podcasts as a medium efficiently for their clients.

PL: Dear Andrea, what made you decide to start your own podcast?

Andrea Gerhard: My partner, David Wehle, and I had actually written a concept for a sustainability entertainment show for TV. But it all dragged on a bit, and that’s when we came up with the idea of launching the concept, in a modified form, as a podcast. A podcast is technically much less complex than moving images and can be realized with two people. Since I myself have been consuming podcasts for years, the medium was very familiar to me.

We also wanted to bring the topic of sustainability more into the media. TV was obviously not ready for it in recent years but the topic is so important to me personally that I wanted to get it out into the world.

PL: What do you think makes podcasts so popular as a medium?

Andrea: Podcasts are more relaxing than video. We are oversupplied with animated images in everyday life. Listening to podcasts can ease our stressed eyes. In addition, podcasts are also great to listen to on the fly: Whilst cooking, bathing, ironing, travelling etc.

Another point is also that you absorb information in a very compressed way. This is ideal for people who have little time due to job and family, but still want to educate themselves and learn about different topics.

PL: Which elements are vital for a successful podcast?

Andrea: An intro with sound logo or your own music. Plus, a pleasant moderating voice in a good tempo from a well-prepared moderator. And an outro. In addition, a recognition in the podcast image and a good, concise name will help. Furthermore, gathered information in a brief summary, the so-called “shownotes”.

PL: How do you foresee the podcast scene evolving in the coming years? Is the market already saturated or is there still room for newcomers?

Andrea: There is no way the market is saturated at this point – I think it will continue to grow and produce big names. We will also see more and more advertising in podcasts, because for over a year now companies have increasingly been spending marketing budgets on placing products in podcasts. We are just at the beginning of this development, and it is only just beginning to reach companies and decision makers.

PL: How can the PR support podcasters?

Andrea: On the one hand, agencies can check if there are podcasts suitable for their clients and then simply suggest these clients as guests. If this works, it is up to the PR to create a lot of attention for the episode, so that additional media may report about it. PR can also create media partnerships and place advertising in podcasts.

PL: What does an ideal cooperation look like for you?

Andrea: For us it is the perfect situation when an agency suggests a sensational guest to us – with you it was the NATRUE natural cosmetics label. That was a great fit for us. We recorded an episode with NATRUE and you shared the episode on all channels. That way we could reach another ten to thirty percent of new listeners and everyone was able to benefit.

PL: Thank you very much Andrea!

You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

©image: Pexels

Size doesn’t matter – How the influencer next door changes the game

Influencer marketing is still a proven trend in Germany and has become an integral part of the marketing mix. A digital survey of conducted by the German Digital Industry Association (BVDW) has now revealed in April 2020 that more than one in five Germans (21.6 percent) has already bought a product at least once after seeing it on an influencer. This goes to show how vital the social media stars are for the customer journey and the success of a brand.

But as with every hype, the marketing method also raises negative voices: The posts are too fake, while the market is oversaturated with sponsored posts.

That view is reflected by the German government, investigating the question of how influencer advertising must be labelled to be transparent for consumers.

In a time of confusion how can brands use influencers effectively?

While the boom continues, brands now have to deal with the influencer phenomenon in a professional manner. At Public Link we therefore recommend the cooperation with micro- and medi-influencers (up to 100.000 followers), especially to our clients with products situated in a particular field of interest.

These smaller influencers are not only attractive for brands with smaller budgets – there are 5 main reasons to work with them:

  1. The basic formula is: The higher the reach, the lower the engagement rate – but the better the engagement rate, the greater the relevance and credibility of an influencer.
  2. Smaller influencers have an intimate community. They are authentic and thus create trust. Any referral is like a recommendation from a good friend. As they are specialists in a particular field of interest (e.g. family or plant-based nutrition) where followers tend to be more engaged.
  3. Their content is mostly embedded in their daily life where brands can place themselves more authentically.
  4. Collaboration terms, such as labelling requirements, can be more easily driven by the brand, who often serves as the more experienced partner in this relationship.
  5. Micro-influencers show greater enthusiasm and initiative for the brand and collaboration – it’s not just the money that counts.

Choosing the right micro-influencer

The smaller the influencer’s reach the more difficult the identification of the right partners. Search engines, databases and social listening tools can help to find the right match. If resources are scarce, the selection should be handled by specialized agencies.

First step is defining the target – e.g. should the campaign push awareness or increase sales?

To reach the target group effectively, the right social media platform should be defined next. Here, the content of the influencer should be checked as a reference for future results. Finally, it is recommendable to find out:

  • If demography and geography of the followers match the campaign?
  • If followers and engagement are real and positive?
  • If the influencer fits the brand to be able to reach potential customers?

There is no doubt that working with micro-influencers involves more work, as often several of them have to be activated and tended to at the same time. The investment, on the other hand, remains almost identical to collaborating with one celebrity and is therefore definitely worth considering for certain brands.

Nevertheless, they persisted – The corona recovery plan for brand communication

COVID-19 is a global humanitarian, health and economic crisis, and the implications for business are significant. A brand’s strategic approach to communications marketing and public relations could not be more important than at the current time. Brand reputation can be broken during a crisis, but let us not forget that how businesses respond to a crisis can also position them positively and build their reputation for the years ahead.

To assist brand leaders and marketers with strategy development, the Asia-based PR, digital and experiential marketing communications agency Sinclair created the Sinclair Insights Report. It outlines the roadmap to recovery and guidance on how to respond to a situation that is changing daily. Expected consumer sentiment and communications strategies for each phase of the crisis, and along the journey towards recovery, allow for a new way of thinking and planning. We have summarised the most important learnings for you here and give examples from the German market. We also strongly recommend reading the whole report by Sinclair here.

1. Embrace change: The path towards recovery is a journey. We do not just resume where we left off before COVID-19. We’ve been through an emotional experience together. We have grown and changed; our perspectives are altered. Brands that acknowledge and embrace this sentiment through their communications strategies and recovery planning can win hearts and minds as we move towards the new normal.

2. Stay present and contribute: In midst of the initial outbreak, brands questioned the appropriateness of continued engagement on social media and proactive media outreach. Examples from China show that brands who continued engagement with positive, supportive and informative messaging about the proactive actions they were taking to be of service to the community garnered positive response. Brands across industries also contributed by funding or donating supplies or offering support to stakeholders. 

In Germany, too, many companies and brands are involved in the fight against corona with innovative, collaborative activities:

  • With #füreinander, the first joint campaign by dm, Müller and Rossmann, the drugstore giants are campaigning for more solidarity and expressing their gratitude to their more than 100,000 employees for their commitment. See here the YouTube video.
  • The underwear manufacturer Mey converted part of its production to manufacture urgently needed mouth and nose protection and thus alleviate bottlenecks in clinics. See here for more information.
  • Subsidiaries of the Volkswagen Group such as Seat and Lamborgini are building ventilators instead of cars. In addition, VW supports the #Stayhome campaign on their social media.

3. Adapt to the new normal: It’s important that brands understand constantly shifting audience perceptions and needs (rise of home-based activities, working from home, thirst for information), while taking the opportunity to showcases their brand’s unique response. An inspiring example is the new campaign “Gemeinsam da durch” (“Get through this toghether) by the German bank Sparkasse. The campaign impresses with facts instead of emotions and is adapted to the needs of German citizens during the crisis.

4. Keep in mind shifting consumer touchpoints: The focus is now on digital and social media rather than large-scale OOH campaigns. In the long term, this may be an opportunity, especially for smaller companies that have been forced to build their online presence in the crisis and can use these new (sales) channels in a lucrative way after the quarantine ends. Positive examples from Germany can be found here.

5. Plan for the future: Consider your brand recovery plan. Keep in mind that not only are brands in recovery, consumers are too. There are likely to be changes reflected in people’s daily habits and consumption patterns.

6. Celebrate: As the market rejuvenates, remember to celebrate with your teams, your stakeholders and your customers. We got through this together.