Tag Archives: Global Exchange

An American in Munich

I’m nearing the end of my second day in the Munich office as part of Global Exchange. Munich itself has been stunning—modern and historical at once. After subsisting on a diet of Bavarian sausage and beer for my first two days, I’ve made the transition to pasta and salad. And that’s good news because Munich is home to a very large Italian community—after all, it’s only 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Italy’s northern border—with a trattoria on nearly every corner. It’s also evident how much Munich is a compact city. I’ve heard it described more than once as like a village—a village that happens to be home to 1.3 million residents and the global headquarters of BMW, Siemens and Allianz.

And don’t forget to look out for bikes! Bicycle commuting in Munich is everywhere, accounting for 14% of all traffic. In the central city nearly every street has dedicated bike lanes set apart from auto traffic, often with the bike lane sharing half the sidewalk with pedestrians. It’s not uncommon to see hundreds of bikes parked outside a U-Bahn station. In fact, most cyclists don’t bother wearing helmets given how prevalent biking is here.

This Monday also marked the beginning of the new Munich office with the combined forces of WE Munich and Patzer PR. I’m told that the former WE office here was in a converted apartment which, while it had lovely fin de siècle chandeliers, never quite felt like a full office. WE München has now arrived. The new office is beautiful—a loft-like space with glass walls everywhere. It’s in a neighborhood full of other marketing agencies. I knew I was in the right place on my first day when I walked into the courtyard where the office is located and saw a red Mini Cooper suspended upside down from a skybridge.

The team here in Munich has been incredibly gracious toward me, especially with seamlessly switching to perfectly fluent English whenever I’m around. (In fact, most of the people I’ve spoken with have three or more languages.) We talked about how compact and tightly connected markets are in the Europe compared to the U.S.—the longest flight in Germany is 1 hour and a 2-hour flight gets you outside Europe. They in turn were struck by the distances between WE’s U.S. offices and how we operate differently from our presence here in Europe.

Over the next few days I’m going to continue sharing what I’m learning here. Look for a post soon on the renewable energy industry in Germany and the opportunity for communications. Until then, tschüss!

This post was originally published at WaggenerEdstrom.com.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane for Global Exchange

Tomorrow I get on a plane and fly halfway around the world from Seattle to Munich. On Tuesday I walk into Waggener Edstrom’s brand new Munich office—the office doubled in size following our purchase of healthcare PR firm Patzer earlier this year—for a two-week visit as part of WE’s Global Exchange program. While there I’ll work alongside our account team focused on renewable energy and get an inside look at how communications professionals ply their trade in Germany.

The Global Exchange program started a little over five years ago as an opportunity to create stronger ties across our offices around the world. A small handful of people participated in the first year program—and this year it’s expanded to 18 of us in 10 offices, from Beijing to Johannesburg and from San Francisco to London. For an agency with Northwest roots and a global footprint, the opportunity to go on Global Exchange allows WE employees to better understand the work that WE does on an international scale.

Why Munich? When applying for the exchange, I selected Munich in large part because it’s an exciting time to be in Germany. Over the past 20 years Germany has instituted economic policies that have helped grow one of the largest solar energy industries in the world—in May solar energy accounted for 10% of Germany’s electricity consumption, a 40% increase over May of 2011. Some of WE’s key clients in our Munich office are leading solar energy companies. For someone whose communications work focuses on supporting environmental sustainability for clients like Microsoft, it’s a great opportunity to see first-hand how renewable energy is succeeding in the marketplace. After its strong economy largely weathered the global recession of the past four years, Germany is now in a position to play an important role in deciding the future of the euro zone, making it a fascinating place for an American like myself to learn about doing business globally.

Watch WaggenerEdstrom.com over the next two weeks for updates from me on the ground in Munich. I’ll be writing about what I’m learning from our colleagues in Munich and the broader business landscape in Germany. Look for my first dispatch from Munich early next week!

This post was originally published on WaggenerEdstrom.com.

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