Job opening for a Communications Trainee

We are on the lookout for an enthusiastic, media-minded and social media savvy trainee to support our consumer team!

The following skills and competences are what we are looking for in a candidate:

• Research skills
• Copywriting
• Creativity
• A feel for social media
• An interest in media relations
• Fluent in Dutch & English (any additional language is a plus!)
• A hands-on mentality

Depending on the profile of the student, we will make sure she or he gets a tailor-made trainee program which builds on the student’s individual talents and selected assignments from the following categories:

– Support in the day-to-day client work
• Monitoring and evaluation of media programs for consumer clients
• Research / data mining for specific client projects
• Copywriting for social media, press releases, fact sheets, backgrounders, Q & A’s
• Support media outreach and follow-up of media requests
• Blogger outreach
• Content development for social media programs
• Development of collateral material (Powerpoint, Word) for client meetings

– Support of new business projects
• Research and creation of new bizz presentations
• Participating in creative brainstorms

– Sharpening writing skills (social media copy, press release drafts, memo’s, ‘pr-style’ writing)

– Attending consultancy training sessions (pr skills, business development, aspects of management)

Interested? Please send your CV to Febe Boone (febe.boone@porternovelli.be).



Let’s have a moment of silence for Social Media Experts

By Jeroen Gaudissabois (@JGaudiss)

I would like to bring to your attention that a once majestic species is on the verge of extinction. I am talking about the Social Media Expert. It was only a couple of years ago that a lack of knowledge about social media proved fertile ground for the rise of scores of these self-declared experts. If you believed them, these lone predators-for-hire were raised by the internet itself and were a one-stop shop for digital success! But something has changed. The number of these “experts” is declining and one cannot help but wonder what is going on here.


The last of their kind? Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anonymous9000/4281777022/

The last of their kind? Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anonymous9000/4281777022/


The habitat that was once so inviting to these “experts” has changed. The ignorance about social media and digital communications is gradually making way for a general level of basic understanding. A lot of the expertise that the experts claimed is now freely accessible online. Furthermore, companies are realising that digital communications, like every form of communication, are no exact science. The very concept of communication hinges on the most unpredictable parameter of all: people.

On top of this, digital communications have additional difficulties to cope with. They are indirect, lack a supporting context and take place in a landscape that is subject to rapid changes. It is now clear that “expertise” is a false claim. How can you master a subject on which the book is being written faster than you could ever hope to read it?

Is there no hope then? Are we to stand by and watch this once majestic species fall? Will companies have to stumble around the internet blindly, hoping for a kind soul to illuminate a portion of the treacherous path they’re walking? Do we throw in the towel and roll over the floor crying because there will be no one left to help? Of course not.

Luckily for us, a new species has risen: the Digital Strategist! Strategists, as opposed to their solitary predecessors, live in communities and refuse to boast complete knowledge of social media. They base their decisions and recommendations on experience, data analysis and shared knowledge. By continuously gathering and sharing experience, they can partially predict the unfathomable course of digital communications.

Undoubtedly, there are some very smart cookies out there, but unless they become part of a network that actively shares experience, best practices and data analyses, their position will become untenable. The isolated experts, whatever the level of their expertise may be, will have to make way for strategists that are supported by a wider network and have access to a sufficient pool of data.

So will the “experts” go extinct? As a species, yes, but we can find comfort in the thought that the brightest of them will find a new home in a pack of strategists. As my favourite scientist of all time, Dr. Ian Malcolm, once said it: “Life finds a way.”



The (non)sense of social media engagement

By Jeroen Gaudissabois (@JGaudiss)


Engagement has been worshipped as the golden calf of social media for as long as we can remember. Having a lot of that sweet, sweet engagement meant that you were doing good. The more people liking your content, the better your organisation was doing in the digital landscape! Seems obvious, right? Right?

Discussions, retweets, likes, comments – because such engagement is the easiest quantifiable outcome of a brand’s social efforts, it has become one of the standards to measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns. But how does engagement really help a company?

If a popular consumer brand posts an otherwise irrelevant picture of a Lolcat at the right time on the right channel, chances are that this will create a lot of engagement. Great! Fans will react to the picture, share it and “engage” with the brand. But does this kind of engagement help you obtain your objectives? If you’re not selling cats or pet accessories, chances are it isn’t.



What is then meaningful social media engagement?

This all depends on where your organisation wants to go. Rather than having futile – and often desperate – cries for social media engagement, an organisation’s social efforts should be in line with its overarching goals and strategies. As a very wise cat once said: “If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which road you pick.”

Once you get your goals sorted, it all comes down to content. Content was, is and will always be king. Rather than going for content that will drive meaningless engagement, organisations should get to know their target audience and prepare high-quality content, tailored to their needs and interests. This content should then be spread through a combination of organic and paid means. If you reach the right audience with the right content, meaningful engagement will follow. This high-quality, relevant engagement is worth more than all the likes your crazy cat pictures can get.

Engagement is not a useless metric. In many cases it’s a good indicator of how you’re doing. But rather than looking at the quantity of engagement you’re getting, the focus should be on its quality with a focus on the end goals – e.g. tracking referrals to your e-commerce site and eventual purchase. Engagement is essential and good, it’s what makes social media social, but it’s not the way to measure success.



Porter Novelli Traffic Jam In Pictures!

Dear Guest,

Thank you for attending the Porter Novelli Traffic Jam social event on Sunday, 12 May. We hope you enjoyed the short film, the atmosphere, the entertainment and, of course, the company. We look forward to welcoming you at one of Porter Novelli’s future events!

The PN team


* Please don’t hesitate to contact Yasmina Plas, PR & Marketing Manager at Porter Novelli on yasmina.plas@porternovelli.be should you want high resolution pictures or if Porter Novelli can be of any service. 
* Photos taken by http://www.brunocornil.be/ 

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In someone’s shoes

By Luc Missinne (@Margil)

Original post on http://www.lucmissinne.be/?p=384

When I was a little boy, it was common practice for kids to wear the clothes of their elder brothers or sisters. Except for the shoes. And exactly that piece of clothing is what we like to share the most: how often do we not hear ‘put yourself in my/his/her shoes’? With that suggestion we try to convince others of our/his/her point of view. Looking at things from another angle, from another perspective makes sense, because there is more than one truth to any matter. The question is: of all the possible view points, which is the most valid?

For a mother to want the drunk driver that killed her child to be put in prison for life immediately is a legitimate desire. For the judge to follow the mother’s craving would be stupid. It is okay to try on different pairs of shoes, but it would be wrong to keep wearing them. Too much personal emotion would get stuck in the soles/souls of people to be able to make a sustainable decision. To get the best view, it takes a certain distance. And the broader the impact, the more distance it takes to get the complete picture.

We all wear shoes in which we feel comfortable and we hate to take them off. But every now and then we should. My feeling is that we do too little of that. With summer at hand this may be the right season: let’s not forget what it feels like to walk barefoot.



By Luc Missinne (@Margil)


As the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours (and that’s not just a reference to the weather). In the space of a week we have received an influx of energy suppliers contacting us, including two phone calls from and a representative of a third one turning up at our front door. It makes you wonder…why now? Do they suspect people to be more open for change on that matter now that spring is finally in the air?

Only recently and years after the liberation of the energy market in Belgium in July 2003, consumers have started questioning what they pay for gas and electricity. And it looks like energy suppliers have finally managed to get the message through to their target group: change of supplier does not imply new cabling, there is no risk of being temporarily cut off, no discouraging pile of paperwork and no poorer quality of the product delivered. It took them almost 10 years to communicate this message to the masses, and it seems that the next step is to individually contact every possible customer to win him over?

No doubt about it, energy is a ‘must have’, there is no need to convince people of the product itself. The pros are self-evident. It is not a product which requires an in-depth investigation as to which supplier to choose to get the right product: whether you buy via supplier A or B, you get the same thing. And for the price: a handy tool to compare prices is available on the internet. Apparently that leaves face-to-face marketing, a one-on-one commercial talk with a friendly face as the favoured avenue to win the client. Network providers do it too, which seems to make sense: phone and the internet have also reached the status of ‘indispensable product’. The chimney sweep and the cutlery salesmen are more traditional door-to-door salesmen. But what about this one … I can’t be the only living soul at whose front door a Jehovah or Mormon preacher turns up every now and then to convince me to ‘buy’ his religion? Does that make his ‘product’ an indispensable one too? I wonder…




Global communications leader Porter Novelli announced that the agency won a total of five 2012 SABRE Awards for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, with Apex Porter Novelli of Kenya winning the coveted Platinum Award for Best PR Program of the Year. Porter Novelli also was named the Best Multinational PR Consultancy to Work for in EMEA for the second consecutive year, and the third time in six years.


The SABRE Awards, which recognize Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation, are presented by The Holmes Group, a leading global public relations publishing operation, and were recently announced at a ceremony in Brussels.


“I am delighted that Apex Porter Novelli took the top prize of the night for its work with Unilever Kenya,” said Gary Stockman, CEO, Porter Novelli. “The ‘School of 5 Hand Washing Campaign’ delivered extraordinary results in increasing the frequency of hand washing and educating the community on the direct connection between hand washing and improved health and hygiene.


“On top of our network’s campaign wins, we are honored to be named the top multinational agency network across EMEA for the second consecutive year,” Stockman continued. “This award confirms that we can make the most transformative impact for our clients when our colleagues are encouraged to thrive and are given the tools and the opportunity to think big, act big and provoke the change the client needs. I applaud our leadership across EMEA for putting those principles into action and giving our staff the opportunity to truly be their best.”

 Platinum SABRE

  •  Apex Porter Novelli of Kenya took home the Platinum SABRE Award for the EMEA region’s best public relations program of 2011, on behalf of its cause-related and public education effort, the “Lifebuoy School of 5 Hand Washing Campaign” for Unilever Kenya.



  • Apex Porter Novelli (Kenya) for the “Lifebuoy School of 5 Hand Washing Campaign” on behalf of Unilever Kenya, in the Africa geographic category.
  • Porter Novelli (Netherlands) won for “JIJ & Provincie Overijssel,” in the Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg (BENELUX) geographic category.
  • Prat Porter Novelli (Sweden) won in the Marketing to Youth category for its “Durex Condom Tester Campaign” on behalf of Durex (Reckitt Benckiser).

Silver SABRE

  • F&H Porter Novelli (Germany) for best press kit for Mattel, “Comeback of the Year: Ken.”

Porter Novelli named finalist for 15 Sabre Awards

By Kathy Van Looy & Molly Verbeeck

Porter Novelli has been named a finalist for 15 SABRE Awards in EMEA, The Holmes Report announced last week. The SABRE Awards, which recognize Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation, are managed by The Holmes Group, a leading global public relations publishing operation. The Brussels office has been nominated for a Gold SABRE Award in the category Blogger Outreach for the campaign “Are you having an Affair with your Hair” for Wella Pro Series. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Brussels on May 31.

 A short description of the Wella Pro Series campaign:



In April 2011, Procter & Gamble launched its first professionally inspired retail hair care brand, Wella Pro Series, in Belgium, and asked Porter Novelli to make the products the talk of the Belgian beauty world.


The team carried out research among beauty bloggers to see what topics they blogged about. This showed that most beauty bloggers were focused on make-up and nail products, and rarely blogged about hair and hair care products.


Wella wanted to get people talking about hair online. The team’s strategy was to introduce the products directly to bloggers at a workshop, and run a competition to find ambassadors for Wella Pro Series among the community of beauty bloggers.


PN organised two workshops to introduce the new products to key journalists during the day and then selected bloggers the same evening. During the workshops, the team presented the new product range, and then the journalists’/bloggers’ hair was washed. They were split into groups, and each group was encouraged to create a certain look, using Wella products. On the night, the team announced the Wella Pro Series Ambassador competition for beauty bloggers. Ten bloggers would be chosen as Wella Pro Series ambassadors.


Each of the ambassadors received a toolbox of products and haircare tools, and had six weeks to put together a portfolio of blog posts, reviews, and how-to videos. The public could vote for their favourite ambassador via Wella’s Facebook page.



Porter Novelli’s blogger and media relations campaign to launch Wella Pro Series created a huge amount of offline and online buzz in Belgium. The total reach of the campaign was approximately 15m online and 12 million offline.



Aston Martin Appoints Porter Novelli as China AOR

Aston Martin has confirmed the appointment of Porter Novelli as its agency of record in China.

The appointment follows a competitive pitch to select a PR agency partner to build brand engagement with Aston Martin’s target audience of ultra high net worth individuals in China. The Porter Novelli team’s work includes building social media, lifestyle and auto media and influencer relationships.

Marcel Fabris, Aston Martin’s Asia Pacific marketing and communications manager, said: “We have been looking for a PR partner who can really help us connect with our target audiences, building effective relationships between our brand, our dealers and our current and potential consumers. Porter Novelli ticked all the boxes, combining pragmatic strategy, market insights, traditional and social media savvy and on-the-ground resources.”

John Orme, senior partner, Porter Novelli, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with a brand with such a powerful global heritage and style. Our initial focus is the launch of Aston Martin’s Weibo (Chinese Twitter) brand account, and supporting the brand at the Beijing Auto Show in April.”


Kiki McLean on Belgian national television

Kiki McLean, our MD of the Washington office and global leader of the Public Affairs practice, appeared on Belgian national television on Super Tuesday. Watch the video here