HeadlineAffairs Expedition: Exploring the field of on-site communications
October 21, 2015 - “Good on-site communications is transparent and conversational.” Equipped with this particular thesis, we visited the Haus der Bayerischen Wirtschaft (House of the Bavarian Economy) on October 7, 2015 for a breakfast discussion of the opportunities and challenges of on-site communications with PR colleagues from Wacker Chemie AG, Amazon Germany Services GmbH, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH and the Schreiner Group GmbH & Co.KG. The location for the meeting could not have been more fitting: Here, companies, ministries and organizations come and go to establish and cultivate contacts - an important aspect of on-site communications. By establishing trust-based relationships to residents and local politicians, organizations and media, local topics of legitimate public concern can be better addressed – whether they are site expansion plans or acute crises.
At our working breakfast, it quickly became clear how diverse the field of on-site communications is. Online communications, internal communications, public affairs, crisis communications or the direct dialogue with neighbors – many fields of activity of public relations have a role to play here. For Klaus Millrath, head of communications at Wacker Chemie AG in Burghausen, forms of direct communication such as town meetings or visits at schools are paramount. This conversational approach to communications has proved its worth: residents attribute a high level of authenticity to the company and its transparent actions have received a positive echo from local politicians, too.
One of the special features of on-site communications we identified is that the two target groups of employees and residents are largely identical. The organization and content of internal communications was therefore another important topic. All corporate spokespersons agreed that employees are appreciative of special regional contents and personal stories.
In the two-hour session, we could only briefly sketch the diverse range of activities of on-site communications, but discussed many interesting practical examples. The first step has been taken. We look forward to an early reunion with many more insightful discussions and inside views.