Graduate traineeship in Digital Communications
There is a well-known Egyptian fable about an ant and a camel meeting at an oasis. The ant is carrying two straws that are many times bigger and heavier than itself. The camel, which also has to carry heavy loads at times, admires the tiny creature and asks: “Where do you get the strength and stamina to carry things that are ten times heavier than you, little ant? Especially as I can see that you are very happy carrying them. I often find the few sacks that are loaded onto me too heavy. Can you explain it to me?”
“It’s easy to explain: I’m not carrying them for myself, but for a big community. It’s passion that makes the big difference,” replies the ant, then it picks up the straws and runs on.
I was often reminded of this fable at the start of my traineeship in Corporate Communications at Bayer. When I started in July 2015, I was given a notepad that I still have today. Between the pages there are inspiring quotations from people like Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs and Ralph Waldo Emerson. And on the cover, in big letters, it says: “Discover your Assignment”. Underneath is the employer branding slogan “Passion To Innovate | Power To Change”. Like the ant, I have learned that this is not an empty promise. Because a career with Bayer means an opportunity to initiate projects with passion and to see them through.
Discovering, developing and building on my strengths
My path to my present position comprised various phases, which helped me to discover, develop and extend my personal strengths. While studying German philology and history, I was able to gain experience of working as a journalist, for example, for public TV stations, as a freelancer and writer in the online editorial office of one of Germany’s most popular newspapers, as a photo journalist at Europe’s largest publishing house and a freelance teacher of German as a foreign language at a language school.
Today, I support the Digital Communications team in the Corporate Brand, Communications and Governmental Relations unit. My tasks are very varied and exciting: as well as developing communication concepts for digital channels, I assist my colleagues in the operational and strategic positioning of global social media channels.
Developing and managing my own projects
My daily work includes developing and managing web and social media communication strategies, implementing and evaluating campaigns for and with various in-house departments and supporting international colleagues in other countries in questions relating to digital communication. My tasks also include preparing content from various publications such as research and Bayer magazine. In addition, I have opportunities to develop and manage projects independently at Bayer. Examples are a blog concept for Bayer Arts and Culture, a global communication strategy for the company’s Instagram channel, and communications support for the Jugend forscht competition for young scientists in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the award of the Otto Bayer Prize and the development of a communication concept for the nationwide “Industry Week” in Germany.
My project: a social media strategy for the Arab region
I would like to highlight just one of the many fascinating projects that I have been involved in: developing an extensive social media strategy for the Arab region.
Based on a prior analysis of the penetration and use of social media in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region and the related potential for the company, I was able to spend six weeks in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Together with local colleagues, I was responsible for setting up a Facebook channel for the entire region. Our aim was to raise the visibility and relevance of the company for local and regional Arab-speaking users and drive forward the positioning of Bayer as a leading global Life Science and innovation company.
As well as working on the communication strategy, my assignment included project planning, developing a detailed briefing and organizing and conducting a pitch to find a suitable partner agency. In addition, I trained the employees involved in the use of social media and defined editorial workflows for generating content, community management and permitting processes with the team.
Alongside working on this project, I assisted the Head of Communications in media crisis training, publication of the regional newsletter and writing various articles for the intranet. During my time in Dubai, I was also able to get to know and work with many other units. Overall, I gained a lot of professional experience in a relatively short time and got to know many new people. As well as the professional experience, it was very interesting for me to work in a completely new social and cultural context. Dubai is fascinating – the city is a pulsating international melting pot. It is also the economic hub of the entire region and therefore very important for Bayer.
If I can give the young readers of this blog a tip for their careers, it would be: don’t be the camel, be the ant: discover the challenge that rouses your passion and enthusiasm. At Bayer, you have the opportunity to develop your own ideas and make a difference.
This post is also available in: German