#ErasmusCanela: Germany and Spain are not as different as they seem Part 1
Thanks to the #ErasmusCanela programme, this year I was able to do an exchange at Adel&Link, a communications agency based in Frankfurt, Germany. Like Canela, Adel&Link also belongs to the international network of independent agencies Brands2Life and specialises in corporate and financial communication, storytelling, and digital services. Like the movie The Holidays, while I lived for two weeks in Rebekka’s house and went to her office, she did the same from my flat in Barcelona and Canela’s offices in the Poblenou neighbourhood.
During my stay in Frankfurt, I had the opportunity to share knowledge with communication consultants at Adel&Link. Between coffees, team lunches and meetings, I realized that, deep down, Germany and Spain are not so different, at least when it comes to the PR sector. In this article, I aim to review the minor differences between the media landscapes of the two countries, and then point out the main similarities.
As cool as Berlin is, it is not the media capital
If you were to organise a press event in Spain, your first choice would probably be Madrid. The second choice would be Barcelona. Although our country is particularly rich in regional media, the concentration of journalists is in these two cities. This can be proved by most national media, such as El País and ABC, whose main newsrooms are in the capital. Media such as La Vanguardia and El Periódico, with their headquarters in Barcelona, are the exceptions. Thus, we can say that in Spain we are faced with a rather centralised media landscape.
In Germany, on the other hand, mass media is distributed in a much more diverse way. The main newsrooms, and thus the journalists, are not only located in Berlin, as one might think with Berlin being the capital. On the contrary, every major city has some of the most important media outlets. For example, Munich and Hamburg are home to the newsrooms of major consumer technology and lifestyle magazines. This is the case with the international Glamour and Women’s Health. Hamburg is also home to the renowned Spiegel, while Berlin hosts the most widely read national media, Bild. In Frankfurt, the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine or the public television station 2DF stand out, among others.
If you were to organise an event in Germany, you would probably choose the location according to the sector of economic activity of your brand and not so much on the density of journalists. However, in the current post pandemic context, organising press events in Germany is no longer a headache. The hybrid event model now allows journalists to attend both in person and virtually from any region of Germany.
Distance from journalists, for better or worse
Without falling into the stereotype that Germans are serious and straightforward people, and that the Spanish are unprofessional, it is a reality that formality is important in Germany, especially when it comes to relationships with journalists. While in Spain PR consultants find it normal to have lunch with journalists, to establish relationships that border on friendship with them or even to use WhatsApp as a channel of communication with the media, in Germany the relationship is more cordial and does not go beyond exchanging emails. On the other hand, keeping a distance avoids possible tensions when it comes to granting exclusivity or asking for embargoes to be respected.
So far, we have looked at the two most significant differences in the communication and PR sector in Germany and Spain. To find out more about the similarities, keep reading on Part 2!
By Elena Mañas, Account Manager at Canela