The Power of PR: How to Build Relations with German Media

The German media landscape differs fundamentally from that in China, both in its structures and in its way of publishing and developing media reports. With the aim to bring Chinese companies and German media closer, on July 17th, 2019, together with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CHKD), PIABO organized a workshop, The Power of PR: How to Build Relations with German Media, for Chinese companies in Germany.

Based on our observations and the experience of client services in both China and Germany, Chinese companies often feel that German media are critical about the enterprises in their reports that often seem to have a preconceived, subjective and critical challenge. However, German journalists often feel that Chinese companies refuse to be in contact and lack of transparency. Such misunderstandings and limited interaction often lead the relationship between the two parties into a vicious circle.

With the aim to bring Chinese companies and German media closer, on July 17th, 2019, together with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CHKD), PIABO organized a workshop, The Power of PR: How to Build Relations with German Media, for Chinese companies in Germany. Tilo Bonow, CEO and founder of PIABO PR, gave key insights into innovative PR methods and storytelling, while Michelle Liao, President East Asia, took a deep-dive into the German media landscape.

Besides several senior Chinese representatives Mr. WANG Weidong, Minister-Counsellor, Head of the Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, also attended the workshop and contributed with his supports and thoughts about how the open communications can help engage both Chinese companies in Germany and German media. 

Next to the presentation about the German media landscape, the interactive format of the workshop supported the idea of exchanging personal experiences. Within the variety of many interesting topics, one central question was, what means could be done to help German media better understand Chinese companies in Germany. 

Speaking from the perspective of the German media, PIABO offers the following advice:

See Journalists As Partners, Not Enemies, and Be Open for Communication. Once we understand the differences in both communication styles between China and Germany and the local operating environment, we can adjust the response styles accordingly, respond calmly and even discuss how to help companies develop better brand image through media reports.

Respect German Media’s Professionalism and Understand Their Needs. Understanding and respecting German journalists’ news standards is essential. It is important to learn how German journalists proceed and which criteria need to be met to write reports. Assisting in providing information and materials will effectively establish the first step of good media relations.

Last but not least, professional public relations with an in-depth understanding of your business and good media networks and resources can definitely help and prepare Chinese companies to build up and manage the required media relations to grow the businesses in Germany. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle Liao, President East Asia.