Transformative Communication: How Storytelling Fosters Inclusivity & Community

With Nils Haupt

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Ready to talk diversifications, narrative, and digital transformation? Then give the next episode of the Aspire to Inspire podcast a listen.

Cohost Frank Wolf is joined by Nils Haupt, Hapag-Lloyd Senior Director of Corporate Communication. Nils is a seasoned strategic communicator who built a storied career in the logistics industry and has a lot of actionable insights to share.

Discover how he helps to keep a 177-year-old company at the forefront of its industry.


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Staffbase is the fastest-growing, most experienced employee communications platform provider for enterprise companies seeking to inspire diverse, disconnected, and distributed workforces. Staffbase is on a mission to empower communicators worldwide with a platform that equips companies aspiring to reach every employee with communication that inspires them to work together to achieve positive business outcomes. 

Headquartered in Chemnitz, Germany, Staffbase has offices worldwide, including New York City, London, Berlin, Sydney, and Vancouver.

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Frank Wolf: So, hello and welcome to another episode of the Aspire to Inspire podcast. My name is Frank Wolf. I’m Chief Strategy Officer and cofounder of Staffbase. And I’m happy to welcome today Nils Haupt. Nils is Senior Director of Corporate Comms at Hapag-Lloyd.

And Nils, you also have a second role. And I guess a very important role in PR in Germany. You’re the president of the German Public Relations Society. So really great to have you here and welcome.

Nils Haupt: Thank you. And hi from Hamburg.

Frank Wolf: Great. Nils, maybe one very personal question first because of the two roles. And I always ask myself, like you are very busy in your job at Hapag-Lloyd and then being the president of this PR society, so how much work is this actually to be the president of an organization like this?

Nils Haupt: Well, it’s like very often when things happen like that. So you were asked if you could do it and then you ask back, how much time will it be? It’s half a day a week, probably. And then when you start, you find out it’s much more than that. If I knew before, I probably wouldn’t have done it, but still, yeah, it’s a substantial amount of work which sometimes needs to be done on the weekend or in the evenings, but I still like it. I don’t regret it. And it’s amazing. And in these times where communication is so substantial and very important, when we talk about democracy and when we talk about the future of society, that, you know, professional, authentic communication is so important. So, I love the job, which I’m doing for Hapag-Lloyd. But I also like what I do for the DPRG.

Frank Wolf: Great. And we want to talk more about Hapag-Lloyd, and your comms strategy and content there and so on. But, maybe before we go into that, like one quick look into the PR side of things of the society. If you would have to name, like the two or three major topics that are on the agenda right now of the PR, public relations organization, what would they be?

Nils Haupt: So, as I started, I think it’s the fight for freedom and democracy. On the 23rd of May, the German constitution, the “Grundgesetz,” turned 75. So this was the start of the modern federal Germany of today. What we are seeing at the moment in terms of fake news and disinformation, of hate speech, of troll factories and whatever, this gives me and gives us as communicators the very strong feeling that we need to fight for democracy.

Democracy is not there when you open the door in the morning, it needs to be fought for, and this is what we want to do. And this is why we unite with the two other communication organizations in Germany. And we will start next week our campaign, and our communication is strengthening democracy. This is what I firmly believe as well, and that we need to work and to fight for democracy because it is substantial for our countries, is substantial for Europe, and I think it’s substantial for worldwide societies.

Frank Wolf: Absolutely. Yeah.

Nils Haupt: And the second thing is the chances we see in artificial intelligence. I think artificial intelligence is changing a lot. Also in communication. There are risks, but there’s also lots of chances and, and lots of opportunities, which we see. And this is what we try to bring across, when we talk about communication in the future.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. Okay. Great point. I think AI is everywhere and everyone needs to deal with it. And, definitely great to see the society take a leading role there. Yeah. On the politics side, I would entirely agree specifically, if you look at the Edelman Trust Barometer and others, where you say, who are the institutions people trust most? It’s their own employers. So I think specifically organizations, companies moving forward and like having a bit more of a stand there is highly important.

Nils Haupt: Exactly, and I see that this is, I mean, me working in an industry and in a company with 15,000 people across the world. So it’s a huge opportunity. If people trust us, we seem to do something right. Yeah? And we need to educate everybody who is in PR, you know, how to make this opportunity happen in his or her organization as well.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. Great. Turning to Hapag-Lloyd and your agenda there, and looking at, let’s say your communications strategy or the major topics, I know you just are coming out of a meeting with your top executive. What are, if you had to summarize, what are the major topics that are on your table, on your agenda right now? And I guess throughout the year or the past years?

Nils Haupt: I would say that the first point is the economic situation. We are coming out from the COVID pandemic where the industry made a lot of money. It was raining money, basically, in that time, due to the disruption of the supply chains. And as soon as the pandemic was over, we were facing a really difficult and challenging situation, which we expect to keep on going for the next two or three years.

Why is that? Because during the pandemic, everybody in this industry ordered ships. These ships are now coming into the systems and we expect that there will be some overcapacity in the next years, which will bring rates down. So this is something you need to prepare for. This is normal in our industry. We are a very cyclical industry where you see, you know, the upturns for a year or two and then you see the downturns again. So this is totally normal. But we need to fight this and we need to come through this period of the downturn still as a successful company. So this is the first point. The second point is . . .

Frank Wolf: Nils, maybe on that point, let me just interrupt quickly. Hapag-Lloyd, just for our listeners, is a logistics company. You operate ships. You’re very long in the market, 176 years now. 

Nils Haupt: 177, even. Yes.

Frank Wolf: 177. How many ships are you operating worldwide?

Nils Haupt: We are operating, at the moment, roughly 270 ships. We are a pure play container shipping line number five in the world. We do some landside business as well, but mainly it’s transportation from port to port. And, basically we are dealing with the entire world, so to say.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. Great. So your major topic was, COVID was hard. Then you earned a lot of money, and now, we are back at some geopolitical risks. The Red Sea and other things. Right? 

Nils Haupt: Yes. I mean, talking about the financial risk, I just did that.

Secondly, yes, there are geopolitical risks, of course. I mean, we are still avoiding the Red Sea on the Suez Canal, which is quite a challenge because ships need longer, it’s more expensive, we have more CO2 emissions, which is, of course, not good. But still after, you know, four or five weeks when the entire schedule was a chaos, so now the situation is normalizing again or is normalized. And we would expect that the situation will be hopefully solved within this year. But still, we don’t know. I mean, this is something you would not know. We look at the situation around Israel and the Middle East, which is challenging, of course. Hopefully, this will not further increase the risks for the industry.

And then, of course, for more than two years now, we see the situation in Russia and the Ukraine. Hapag-Lloyd was the very last shipping line who got a ship out of the port of Odessa on the 24th of February, 2022. Russia and Ukraine are not so very important like some other countries worldwide, but still, I mean, we had 20 people, 20 employees in the Ukraine, which we are taking care of. And of course, the situation is extremely unpleasant. And of course, we don’t know what will happen in the future. So geopolitics always is an issue we have to deal with. And yeah. So several crises in the world are keeping us busy as well.

The third thing, probably when you talk about the agenda, is decarbonization. I just mentioned it briefly, but decarbonization of our industry is extremely important. So we have CO2 emissions of 13 million tons a year. So this is pretty much. And we want to be CO2 neutral by 2045. This still sounds like a lot of years, but as I just said, 270 ships, some of them built 10, 15, 17 years ago. And decarbonization is a top point on our agenda. And, yeah, I believe we can do it, but still, we are not sure which will be the fuel of the future. Is it methanol? Is it ammonium? Might it be nuclear power even? Might it be some gas? So this is a difficult way to go. But we are very committed to go for it, and we are very committed to be among the top four, top five to solve it.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. I am having discussions with a lot of other companies around, like, the strategy around decarbonization and the messaging they are doing. From outside looking at Hapag-Lloyd, I think, the major point you are having is your ships and the services you offer are absolutely important for whatever is happening, like climate change, new technology coming into play. We can’t do this out of nothing, right? So we need a global supply chain. We need global exchange, global innovation. And I think you are playing a pretty big part in that, right?

Nils Haupt: That’s true. And the pressure is huge. The pressure is not only coming from the regulation authorities from the government. It’s coming from our clients as well. So many clients ask for: we want a solution for decarbonization because we want to convince our customers as well to work with us. So, some automotive companies, some chemical companies are urging us to do it faster.

And also we shouldn’t forget employees. Employees are asking for that as well because they have kids as well. You know, they have grandkids and they want this company where they work from, they want this company to be committed to climate change or the solutions for climate change.

Frank Wolf: Yep. And I guess, looking at the employees, sustainability, climate change is a big topic. Are there other topics that you face specifically when talking to your employees?

Nils Haupt: Yeah, I think what is extremely important today is that companies have a purpose. People want to work for a company where they feel it’s worth working for this company. It’s worth not only in terms of, you know, having a good financial situation of the company, but it makes sense working for this company. And I think this is something which we tackled many years ago already.

And, when we say that our purpose or the purpose for the company is connecting the world across oceans, because this is what we do, making globalization happen. And we all know that globalization has for many years and decades been very helpful for many countries in the world which made some countries win, not only in terms of financials, but also for societies, for their people, and to connect the world better. And I firmly believe that world trade is also helping to keep a peaceful world, because countries and people working together, helps to avoid, perhaps not to avoid wars, but makes it happen so that solidarity is felt. You know, working together always helps. Collaboration helps. And, this is something where I firmly believe that a purpose and a mission and the values for a company, for the employees is important.

And I just came out from a breakfast today we had with the CEO. And, once a month, he invites employees, and we had 20 people in the morning. And we asked, what are we doing well? And what are we not doing so well? And when we talked about what we are doing well, it is always this: this company takes care of its people. And when I said, you know, our three values are we care, we move, we deliver. Then the value of we care shows that the company is committed to take care of the employees, but also take care of society, take care of the environment. Taking care does mean a lot. And this morning I felt again, you know, we are doing something very well and it is felt by the people, which is good.

Frank Wolf: Amazing. This reminds me, I have this case study in my book The Narrative Age, the book that I just published, from Lufthansa. And they have this core narrative which is, “We take off to take care.” And they expanded this core narrative of taking care from justice, sort of, like we operate airplanes and we make sure passengers arrive safely where they want to go, to we take care of our people, of the environment. So kind of an expansion of the idea of taking care beyond like their own company and also to the planet, let’s put it like this. Sounds a bit like you’re having the same thing, right?

Nils Haupt: Yeah. And then when you think back of the pandemic 2021, it was the first time that society felt how important logistics is. And that made our people proud as well a little bit, because when you felt that it would take six months until you get the bike you’ve ordered because the people in the shop tell you, no, we don’t have any bikes anymore here in the shop. Or remember the mask issue. I mean, when the first masks came over. So the world is so connected today. And we are so used to go to the supermarket and the shelves are full and we can fulfill our consumer wishes the soonest as possible. And then when the system is suddenly interrupted and the supply chains are disrupted, you know, people could feel it personally in the shops in their personal consumer life.

So this helped our industry to really show, you know, what we are doing day by day, right, to take care of transport, to take care of the consumers and their consumer wishes.

Frank Wolf: Absolutely. Yeah. Looking at the topics that you just described, what I’d love to understand is, if you look at timelines in terms of, let’s say, some companies, to find a yearly strategy or review a strategy every year or some topics run over like a couple of years or even shorter. Is there an approach that you are using to kind of say, [when is it time] to revamp a strategy or redefine it? And specifically these major topics. I guess they are there all the time. So what’s your approach as the Head of Comms to do that?

Nils Haupt: I mean, when we look at the company’s strategy, we just defined our strategy and called it strategy 2030 though. So that shows that we overlook a span of six years. But I am a very firm believer in rechecking strategies all the time, right? I mean, for some people it looks like, oh, now we have a strategy to 2030, now we can lean back and the leadership is taking care. No, I think strategy is something which you need to check regularly. And when we talk about communication strategy, which is of course aligned with the company strategy, then you always need to check if you are on the right path or not. And this is what we regularly are doing.

This is why we have very clear planning in my department. So we have a daily, a weekly, a monthly, a quarterly and a yearly planning. So, the quarterly and the yearly planning of communication is done with the CEO because he would like to know what we are planning. It’s very public because each and every board member would know what we plan in his or her department.

And then we have to work on execution. And execution, as we know, this is the daily work. But sometimes, you know, you have to face changes, you have to face new challenges, and then you have to readapt. And this is what basically we do day by day.

Frank Wolf: Great. Is there, looking at other organizations — and this was also a big topic we had at the recent VOICES conference — around the role of communications in setting the agenda versus being a service department where other people in the company set the agenda. It sounds right now very active, strategy-driven.

Is there also demand in your organization to say, I have a great story here, help me tell it, where you reject and say, no, that’s not part of it. Is this happening? How do you feel about that? And how are you dealing with that?

Nils Haupt: It is happening. And let me give you some examples where I believe that we didn’t have a clear order or a clear wish to do stuff, but we anyhow did it. And then we found out that it is working out perfectly. So two examples.

One is during the pandemic, we started a series on our intranet, which we called “We are Hapag-Lloyd,” and it was a communication issue where we wanted to show people in their diverse ways of living. And, at that time, we didn’t have a very clear diversity strategy, but we thought we should talk about our people and the different ways they live their lives. We started with a person in Atlanta who was born in an African-American family and who talked about his daily experiences of racism. Very openly talking about his experience, and the quarter he lived in, in Atlanta, which was a pure African-American part of the city where he said, you only have one chance to leave this part of the city. One is you are a professional sportsman, second is you are a rapper, and the third is you are dealing drugs successfully. And, he was a very successful sportsman. So he came to a white college and he heard the N-word the very first day he started and then he talked about the feeling he still has when he sees a police car driving by, and also the experience within Hapag-Lloyd that he had the feeling that, he, as an Afro-American, has less chances for career building than others.

And when we published this interview, which was really coming truly from his heart, he was a little bit scared to have it published. But we tried to convince him that it is very important because he speaks up for many others in the US and in other countries. And the feedback was amazing. So there were lots of comments for this person. And you could really feel the love and the passion of the people embracing him and telling him, you know, you are loved in this company. You might be different than others, but you belong to the family. 

And the second person we asked was a Brazilian colleague in our office in Santos in Brazil, and she was talking about her first marriage and her divorce from her husband, and being left behind with her two girls. And she fell in love with a woman, and she married this woman and is now married with a woman and taking care of the two kids. And again, there was this huge feedback wave and a wave of warmth and a wave of understanding. And, you know, it’s your life. If you are in love, this is the most important thing.

And since then we do this as a four weekly series on our intranet, and this is the most beloved series we have in the intranet, because people love to read stories about people who might be different than themselves. So we had the story of an American. She was dealing a lot with depression. And then with COVID, it got much worse for her. And she was very openly talking about, you know, having huge depressions and then going into COVID, not being able to see your family in the US. Or a person we have in Pakistan, she was the very first person Hapag-Lloyd hired as a trans person. And she was talking about her life before working in a, so to say, normal industrial company and then how life has changed since she has a job, because being a trans person in Pakistan is not funny, because normally you wouldn’t get a job and she was hired, she was doing a great job and she was talking about her experience being left behind by her family, being left behind by her friends and how she felt accepted now working in a global company. So there was lots of warmth as well.

Yes, it is still difficult to get comments from probably Middle East, from China, from South Korea. You know, we feel that people are still very much shy to comment on this, but especially when we look at South America, US, Canada, Europe, even Africa, we get lots of comments on these issues.

Second example, where we really try to show the different life and the different culture and the different challenges people in the organization have, was when every two weeks represented somebody in his or her personal situation of COVID. And, not only talking with people who had long COVID, people who have lost a father or a mother during COVID, people who were in Ecuador where the corpses were put on the street, they rolled the corpses in carpets and put them on the street because the government was not able to collect all the dead people from the houses and apartments.

And getting these stories across into the organization and make people feel the pain and the life of these people who are colleagues. It was an amazing success as well. I remember one story which really touched my heart as well. We had a colleague in India who had a bicycle accident, and he had to go to the hospital, and in the hospital he contracted COVID and he died. He was a 33-year-old colleague, and he left behind his wife and the kid and really a huge tragedy. And then Hapag-Lloyd spontaneously decided to hire his wife for Hapag-Lloyd to get a job within Hapag-Lloyd and to guarantee the education for their son for the next 20 years.

So I thought this was not only a very tragic story, but also showing that the company not only has the value “We care,” but lives the value as well. So lots of stories to tell. And I can only recommend that to other companies and organizations. Talk with your people and talk about your people because there’s so much wealth in hearing this story and make people read or hear the stories of your colleagues. And this is helping to really have a very strong feeling of belonging. And as we talked about purpose, you know, this also helps to create the purpose or to make the purpose even bigger and give the people a family feeling of the company.

Frank Wolf: Definitely. You, as a global organization, how do you find these stories and how do you align? I guess there’s, are there local communicators involved in also finding these stories and telling them? And how do you align this on a global level?

Nils Haupt: When I talk about the role of a communicator or my own role, I always say that it’s three different roles I see for myself. One is being the lighthouse because the lighthouse at the coast shows you where’s the way to go or the way to avoid. And we are the lighthouse showing into the organization, where is the ship headed?

Secondly, it’s being kind of seismographic to feel, you know, to feel an earthquake before it happens. So you have to see the issues, the problems, the communication issues and the company. You have to feel it. And if you feel them, you know, you have already to find the answer on them. I mean, you have to keep the top management posted on what’s going on in the company. And this is why it’s so important to feel the seismographic movements.

And thirdly, it’s the satellite. Being a satellite, and you’re always, you know, going around not the globe, but here around the company, the whole organization. Keep your ears open, keep your eyes open; communicate regularly with your peers.

And that is what I expect from my colleagues and also I expect from myself. So I’m regularly in touch with people all over the world. And then I hear stories and I hear them talking about people and this is how you can do it. I mean, you can’t call HR departments and ask them, so give me three names of people who have a drug problem. This is not how it works, right? Yeah, it works by personal contact and it works by talking to the people. And convince them to tell their story, which is not always easy.

I remember a story, I nearly cried when I had the interview with a person in the US, and she told her story, how she grew up in a family where both parents were crack-addicted, and they basically couldn’t take care of the kids. They didn’t have a bed. So the kids were sleeping in the living room on the floor. And, the parents always were out at night to get drugs and an awful story. But she managed then to really drag herself out of this life and to study. And now she is a very accepted colleague.

And when she read the story, which I wrote down, the interview, she said, I cried, I cried reading my own story, and she decided not to publish it because she felt so heartbroken to read it, and she realized what she went through. That was also for me a very touching and kind of also heartbreaking story. I would have loved to show it also to the rest of the organization, what people sometimes have to go through. But of course, I respected the wishes of the person and we didn’t publish it. But this is an example, you know, how you need to get the trust of the people, that you are not abusing them to make their story heard, but you want to help them.

And very often I heard, after having published the story, that people didn’t expect the warmth and the sympathy and the support of people from all over the world they got confirming, you know, you are on the right track. Love whomever you want to love, be it a man or a woman or whatever, for example. Right? So I’m a firm believer in telling the story of the people you are dealing with in the organization.

Frank Wolf: Yeah, yeah. That aligns really well and reminds me of the discussion we had at the conference VOICES and also kind of why this podcast is called inspiration. So you can have a very diverse set of people around the world. But if you tell stories which resonate to values we all have. Like everyone wants to be safe. Everyone values family. You know, everyone values if an underdog from a tough environment through hard work gets a career, right? So wherever you are in the world, everyone understands these stories. So I get the message that you were telling years also, good storytelling in terms of breaking this down to the basic human values can help to align also a global audience, even if you, as you said, like you have the Middle East, you have the US, you have Europe, you have Asia, like you are really everywhere in the world. Right? So a lot of the current issues might be highly controversial, but, I would say you find in the kind of narrative map of your audience to the common spots, that align people, correct?

Nils Haupt: Yes. And, probably not everybody agrees with the personal stories, but we are humans and we are a company with European values, which we tell the people, you know, we live diversity. And if you work for this company, whoever you are and whatever personal values you might have, you know, you are accepted as a member of the company. And this is what we expect from each and everybody in the company. So whatever this person does and whatever this person likes in his or her personal life, you know, you have to accept the person. This is sometimes a challenge. Yes. Because some values we have in Europe might not be the values people have in Africa, but still we firmly believe that we have to fight for these European values because we are a European based and a European founded company from 1847.

And, I mean, we don’t want to educate and if you have like, to give you an example, we have lots of Muslims in the company and for them it might be from their religion, it might be very difficult to accept a gay person or a lesbian person, but in the company, you know, put your being Muslim aside and just be a human and accept the person which is sitting at the other desk of your office.

Let me just add a second story, which I also personally like a lot. Of course, we have lots of captains, which are basically leaders of a ship. Which are sailing for three months, four months through the oceans. And we let them tell their stories. And it’s not only the young captains. It’s the very old captains as well. We have a so-called Hapag-Lloyd Captains Association, which was founded in 1918. And they meet every year. Once a year they meet in December, they come together, and there we have captains 85, 88, 91 years. And we let them tell their stories before container shipping even existed. We let the young captains tell their stories. And then the captains who have lots of experience of 20 or 30 years. And we make a book out of it every year. It’s our captain’s book, and we give that to employees. We give that to our young sailors, and we give that also to clients, because these people have to tell so many stories.

And, you know, each ship is a factory on its own. You know, 23 people living together for three months, sharing a ship which is 400m long and 62m wide. And it’s like a city, big as a small city. And they have to deal with each other. Different nationalities, different cultures, very diverse crew. And they need to get along for three months and then everybody goes his or her way again. And these are also beautiful stories. I love that because they are so international. They talk about special weather situations, special technical complications. You know, for me it’s the great stories of sailing around the world. And of course, it’s also this romance of being on a ship, when there’s the sundown or going with the dolphins or seeing the whales.

So there’s also the romance of shipping sometimes. So I like these stories a lot. You can feel there’s a lot of stories in this industry, and there’s lots of stories in this very old and very traditional company as well.

Frank Wolf: I can imagine. Because I think this is so interesting, just one quick question about that. I think one could compare captains as they are sort of line managers in your organization, right? So they are like, and I guess they are quite an important part of the communication hierarchy to some degree. Right?

And if I’m on the ship, like, will I be engaged on the ship, yes or no? I guess it depends a lot also on the captain. Do you have a program for captains to learn communication? And before they actually do that?

Nils Haupt: Yes, it’s a very important part of their education and when they study. And I mean, just an example, during COVID, crews were not allowed to leave the ship. Normally, if you are at a port, you can leave the port and you can walk around or go to the city and buy stuff. This was not allowed. There was barely any country in the world which allowed people to leave the ship during the pandemic. And you can imagine how hard that was for the crew to be, some of our Filipino crew members, they are months on the ships, and you only stay on the ship and you are not allowed to go.

So it’s very important to have a leader on the ship, a captain on the ship, who is able to motivate the crew in this difficult time. So he needs to find ways to bring the crew together instead of, you know, everybody going in his cabin at night and having depression or frustrations. So, you know, you need to organize a barbecue evening. You need to organize a basketball tournament. You need to do a table tennis session. You probably need to make a karaoke evening. You need to keep the spirit up. This is so important. So you need to have people, leaders on the ship who are very much into communication and keeping spirits up.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. Great. Looking at the time, one final question about storytelling that I wanted to ask you specifically, I know you’ve been a journalist before, and you changed seats to become a corporate communicator. From your perspective, journalism and corporate communication, and I guess we can all agree, as a journalist, you learn a lot of fantastic skills about storytelling and everything else that’s highly valuable in the profession.

But it’s also kind of, what’s changing from your perspective? Are journalists great communicators and what are the things they need to learn? And, maybe what could journalists learn from corporate communicators from your perspective?

Nils Haupt: So, I have to admit that I always felt like a journalist. And I know many PR people say that. And of course, journalists don’t like it when PR people say that they are still journalists. So it’s a bit difficult, but I left journalism in 2000 and I went into PR and in the beginning, I didn’t like it because in journalism you learn to look at the story from the different angles.

And when you work in PR, of course, you see stories also from different angles. But as a communicator who is working for a company, you have to represent the company. And you have to bring the positive stories of the company across. And when there are negative stories, you have to bring them across as professionally as possible. Right? So, I still see a huge difference. But it is very helpful if both sides not only know what the other side has in mind and what the job of the other side is, but also to talk to each other. So it helps me a lot, whenever I have a TV crew here, it helps me a lot that I know, I mean, if I will be in the news section of the news on TV tonight, I will maximum have 12 to 15 seconds for my quote. That helps me because then I won’t talk for ten minutes and probably make three mistakes in the ten minutes. Instead of that I will do 15 seconds professionally and hopefully right.

Sometimes I wish that journalists better understand how we work and how we work with narratives and how we do professional communications, because sometimes I still have the feeling that there’s, some journalists still feel that we are superficial and they don’t really accept us as kind of colleagues. Now, and then I’m coming back to the start of this interview. Now in this situation we are in, where democracy and freedom is extremely endangered by several sides, by fake news, disinformation, hate speech, you know, by people who are really trying to undermine our democracy or not even people, also organizations. I think journalists and PR people have to stand at the front line and fight for our freedom and fight for this democracy. And this is what I would really like to see in the next months and years, and hopefully always in the future, that together we accept that real, authentic, trustful ethical communication is key for keeping our democracy and our freedom intact.

Frank Wolf: Beautiful. Like, I think that’s a great take. The only thing I would add on that is, I think corporate communications, you could say, does only play sometimes to one side of a story. But what it does with this in many ways is build a vision of a future for employees, for stakeholders of the company, and to say, this is where we need to go.

And if you see the current situation, like what’s missing, this is the thing that’s missing, like, what’s the big narrative that people can aspire to that’s inspiring for everyone involved? And I guess that’s what corporate communicators are much better at than journalists, because journalists, by definition, shouldn’t build narratives. They should tell the story. They should tell how things are. And corporate communication is like building something that people can follow. So I would entirely agree with you. It’s really both sides that can learn from each other, and that’s hopefully something we will see more in the future. Like a lot of mutual respect from each other. Right? So I think that’s a beautiful take.

Yeah. So, Nils, thanks so much for the insights. Thanks so much for the great stories and insights into your work. It sounds really amazing. I love how you live your values specifically around taking care, that was a great insight for that. And, yeah. Thanks so much for joining. And, yeah, everyone else, listeners, please join us again very soon on this podcast. We’ll keep bringing up great episodes. I’ve heard about many new exciting guests coming up. So, stay tuned and see you soon. Bye bye.

Nils Haupt: Thank you, Frank and the Staffbase team. Bye from Hamburg.

Frank Wolf: Thank you. Bye bye.

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