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Christoph Horn is senior vp of company communications and advertising and marketing at ZF Group, a worldwide expertise firm supplying techniques for vehicles, business autos and industrial expertise, headquartered in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
He grew up in Germany, Belgium and the US and has labored as a journalist and with numerous firms together with Basic Motors Europe and Adam Opel AG. Previous to ZF, he led worldwide communications and launches at DaimlerChrysler and was head of communications for Mercedes-Benz Automotive manufacturers for a few years.
As a CCO/CMO, what greatest practices are you seeing globally along with your groups?
After the primary yr of COVID we reorganized communications and advertising and marketing at ZF. Sharing greatest practices among the many groups was one driving ingredient. One other was to react to de-globalization with a extra resilient group.
At the start of 2022 we began with a brand new organizational setup and a worldwide management group that now contains regional leaders from North America and Asia Pacific in addition to divisional leaders from the larger divisions.
Are you able to describe an instance the place native observe and wish for nuance may trump how issues are performed globally? How a lot flexibility do you give native groups?
With the brand new construction, the regional practices are shared on the highest degree within the group. Native groups get all the pliability they want as a result of they’re near the enterprise. There’s much less flexibility on the subject of company identification/design and model points. That is an space the place we really feel that central governance is required
My purchasers in China rely closely on tremendous app WeChat, creating interactive content material and driving gross sales with intricate, but easy content material that permits for interplay and typically the power to buy gadgets in-app. Are you able to describe your method to WeChat in Asia and are you seeing an equal anyplace?
Our group in Asia-Pacific expertly makes use of WeChat and different social media channels to tell and work together with totally different stakeholder teams. They faucet into international content material, choose and select after which tailor it to fulfill regional necessities. This content material is then shared with international groups and typically translated to work in company or different regional social media channels.
Are you optimizing international workflow through the use of time zone variations to your benefit?
Sure, and we additionally ask regional groups to co-lead or lead international actions of their area. In a world with journey restrictions, it doesn’t make a lot sense to run a Shanghai Auto Present mission or a buyer TechDay from (ZF HQ) Friedrichshafen.
Are there cultural moments like holidays that your international groups have actually embraced internally and on social and maybe moments that aren’t so international the place the native group has flexibility however content material isn’t shared globally? Do you will have tips round how far and broad you acknowledge non secular holidays?
We respect all areas and their holidays however in communication, we deal with our firm’s values and ideas which embrace accountability, anticipation, empowerment, ardour and variety. These are common for ZF‘s staff and join all of us at ZF. In case you are take a look right here.
How a lot content material is your group producing and adapting for native markets? Do you will have an 80:20 rule to maximise effectivity?
We’re a expertise and B2B firm with sturdy divisions that assist us in creating content material for purchasers, media and different stakeholder teams. Most strategic content material comes from the company group however the development within the divisions — particularly within the electrical Powertrain and business automobile divisions — is to contribute increasingly.
Are there attention-grabbing greatest practices in disaster mitigation that you just’re both taking to markets or studying from them?
Experiences and good concepts are at all times shared. If a disaster has a possible to go international, we take care of it with a disaster group that represents all areas of the corporate.
Are some markets extra immune to U.S./HQ efforts to rejoice inclusion? How do you handle that?
Isn’t the query whether or not a globally working firm can anticipate that each one central initiatives are accepted by its groups in all places on the planet? I assume you possibly can’t promote range with out respecting cultural variations. That doesn’t imply such initiatives shouldn’t be promoted — it signifies that you might have to just accept ignorance and push-back and begin to have interaction in a significant dialogue.
Any developments in giving and CSR globally that both you might be sharing with markets which have come from HQ, or that you’re studying from areas/markets?
Now we have a worldwide CSR marketing campaign by the title of ZF Helps. It’s centrally orchestrated and the areas can carry their very own actions beneath its wing. In occasions of disaster, we have now skilled unprecedented solidarity within the ZF group. Our ZF colleagues within the German Ahr Valley have been hit by a devastating flood final yr. ZF and its international groups donated greater than one million Euros to assist and donations got here from so far as China and Japan.
Hale World Communications founder Trevor C. Hale helps firms and leaders articulate and amplify their tales. Having led international communications for Fortune 100 firms in APAC, EMEA and the Americas, he now collaborates with purchasers and companies throughout mobility, AI, crypto, management, ESG and luxurious sectors. He’s the 2022 PRSA worldwide meeting delegate.
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