Bertelsmann SE & Co. in Gütersloh, Germany won a Gold Stevie® for their 2013 Online Annual Report in the publication awards categories of The 2014 International Business Awards.
The 2015 International Business Awards will open for entries in January. You can learn more about it here. In the meantime, the deadline for entries for the 2015 German Stevie® Awards has been extended to February 11, 2015. Find out more about how to enter here.
We asked Karin Schlautmann, Executive Vice President Corporate Communications of Bertelsmann and responsible for the Stevie® Award-winning annual report, for some comments on what winning a Stevie® Award has meant to her and an overview of the creative and media scene in Germany today.
Bertelsmann decided to publish the content of their 2013 Annual Report on as many platforms as possible when it was published in March, 2014. The report was made available in print form, as an interactive online version, and as an app. Bertelsmann also presented the report’s content on its social media platforms and on media walls at the company’s various sites.
The online versions of the Annual Report included a variety of interactive extras, such as four short films showing the progress made in implementing the Group's strategy, as well as an exclusive “making-of” on the photo shoot for the Annual Report, plus interviews with the Bertelsmann Executive Board and Group Management Committee.
“We’re very happy about the various Stevie Awards that both the print and online versions of our 2013 Annual Report have won,” Karin told us. “The awards honor the unusual, bold concept we chose for our Annual Report, which serves as our company’s business card. Our heart and soul and a lot of hard work went into every page, so prizes like the Stevies are a reward for this, and also a motivation to make next year’s even better!”
Transformation to Digital
With the upcoming German Stevie® Awards, we are asking German-based companies and organizations for their expertise on a variety of topics. We asked Karin for her tips on the creative media and communications scene in Germany.
“The most important job of communications is to support a given business strategy everywhere in the world. So in this respect, the essentials of communications in Germany probably only differ marginally from communications in other countries,” Karin suggested.
“In general, of course, you should always understand and consider the individual cultural practices of the country in which you’re doing business and conducting communications,” Karin added. “At Bertelsmann, we are very eager to constantly develop innovative communications offerings, without neglecting tried and tested channels. This is especially true in the digital domain. At Bertelsmann, the transformation to digital is a core component of our corporate strategy and has long since become a reality in our businesses. We need to take this into account in communications as well.”
Understanding Digital Channels
Karin also commented on the plethora of apps and blogs that abound in her industry. “Personally, I’m a great fan of magazine apps and I’m always looking at new ones to find inspiration. But the crucial thing isn’t what appeals to me personally: what’s crucial is that you know your way around all the digital channels and develop a feel for themes, options for dialog, and ways to go about things,” explained Karin. “We’ve significantly strengthened Bertelsmann’s social media presence in the past years. For example, we now have a “Social Cloud” that pools all the social media activities of Bertelsmann companies. It currently depicts more than 6,000 channels with a total of around 636 million followers.”
Communication for Inspiration
Karin enjoys the challenges of her profession. “Communicating means connecting with people, moving them, eliciting reactions, and getting feedback–that’s what I love about my work,” she told us. “And nothing’s going to change about these basic elements, regardless of what channels they takes place on in the future.”
About Karin Schlautmann
Karin Schlautmann is Executive Vice President Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, and Marketing at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. She became Head of Communications of the Bertelsmann Foundation in May 2007 and a member of the Group Management Committee (GMC) in December 2011.
As a student, Karin studied literature and history, and completed an internship at the Westfalen-Blatt newspaper in Bielefeld, Germany. She then joined Bild newspaper in Chemnitz in 1991 and in 1994 she became a member of the editorial team of Thomas Gottschalk’s late night show on German television.
In 1995, Karin was appointed chief reporter of “Bild” newspaper in Munich, followed by posts in Hamburg and Berlin as chief reporter and head of the entertainment desk. In 2001, Karin became an editor for the women’s magazine Bunte. She joined Gala magazine as Deputy Editor-in-Chief in 2002 before taking up successive executive roles at Frau im Spiegel magazine in October 2002, where she served as Editor-in-Chief from March 2003.
Bertelsmann is an international media company encompassing television, book publishing, magazine publishing, media services, and media clubs in more than 50 countries. Bertelsmann’s claim is to inspire people around the world with first-class media and communications offerings–entertainment, information, and services–and to occupy leading positions in its respective markets.