Branding Berlin, from London (SoundCloud’s PR speaks up en route to Berlin)

lukefeatured
lukefeatured

Luke Geoghegan runs Social Media Marketing & Social Technology PR at 33Seconds, a London-based company responsible for marketing a range of Berlin’s top startups, from SoundCloud to EyeEm, Moviepilot, and Phonedeck. We first met him on a press tour in London, and hosted him on his recent trip to Berlin this month. Here are his insights on branding Berlin, from London!

The red-eyed plight of the London-based, Berlin-serving PR

“There is a safety card in the seat pocket in front of you that shows the position you must adopt when you hear the command; Brace! Brace!” The easyJet pre-flight safety warning, as read by occasional UK TV news type Phil Gayle, for some reason never fails to amuse. It’s become a running joke amongst my team – and a few clients – such is the calm and soothing clarity with which he outlines the rehearsal of what would certainly be the last seconds of all our lives.

width="516"

On a 06:40 flight to Berlin, frankly, you take your laughs where you can get them. And they’re certainly not coming from the price of airport amenities, never mind the 03:30 wake-up call.

Such is the red-eyed plight of the London-based, Berlin-serving PR. In pure business terms, the early starts demanded by this particular role are a boon. Landed, through security and in the city by 10:00; when you’re working with startups, sometimes that means you’re up and at ‘em before your clients are.

From woe betides to a second home and work place

Since joining 33Seconds one balmy July Monday in London last year, the German capital has fast become a second home for me, and more specifically a second workplace too. My previous relationship with the city was less professional; a source of a steady stream of stories and woe betides from bleary-eyed friends, ravers and stag party soldiers, all with nothing but goodness to share, spare perhaps the subzero winter temperatures and near ubiquity of sausage and beer-based sustenance.

width="516"

My personal experiences have proved to be far richer in all regards. For me, it’s no surprise the city has become such a darling of the city-break crowd, not to mention one of Europe’s creative hubs, and while despite my best efforts my German rarely threatens to improve beyond, “haben sie eine quittung, bitte?” my personal affection for the place grows with each visit.

Parnering with SoundCloud, EyeEm, Phonedeck…

And it’s just as well too. Our Berlin client list is on the up, ranging from fledgling startups preparing to launch, like web mobile phone management toolPhonedeck, to more established players, like leading social sound platform SoundCloud. Skype and various other video chatting and screen sharing are my lifeblood and make my job possible, but as anyone worth their salt in PR will tell you, nothing replaces a bit of time well spent in the company of the people you work for.

Visiting Berlin means meeting partners on home-court

As a startup ourselves, we know the value of keeping your partners as close as possible, and we try to make ourselves as much a part of the teams we work with as we can in order to react with the same speed and efficiency as an in house PR. In my experience at least, things just run that bit smoother when you’re really a part of it.

My recent trip to Berlin started at SoundCloud HQ

That’s why making the most out of each trip is always of maximum importance. As with any other job I’ve done in this industry, it’s the variety of work that simultaneously maintains my interest and keeps me on my toes. This was no better exemplified than by being kindly asked on my last visit at the end of February to give a PR ‘masterclass’ at SoundCloud HQ alongside their red hot internal PR team, only to help out at Berlin’s very first Photo Hack Day a few hours later.

width="516"

EyeEm on the inside: a partner and photo hack day host

Hosted by smartphone photography and discovery app EyeEm, who we helped to launch to press back in August 2011 and continue to represent, the event drew some of the capital’s up and coming developer talent to exercise their craft on the recently released EyeEm developer API. I can’t deny that the impressive resulting hacks did make me wistfully wonder if maybe I should have paid a little more attention in computer science.

From the bedroom developer types to the established tech stars, all of the innovative and often inspirational people I’ve met in this role so far have reached to us for greater exposure in English speaking markets. It was a trend indentified by TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher back in November last year, and our early wins in Berlin have helped us to capture a little bit of that spirit since we launched ourselves in January 2011, not to mention to do some of the most interesting work I’ve been involved with to date.

Links between London and Berlin: Startup-wise

The links between Berlin and London’s own Tech City startup scene are becoming more fluid, as we see more and more of the people we work with regularly crop up on both sides of the continent. It seems almost cliché to comment on that infectious air of optimism and willingness to get things done that runs through the tech startup environment, but given the doom and gloom engulfing almost every other walk of life at the moment, it’s a particularly invigorating place to be.

 

People who have thrown in everything to chase a dream

In short, it’s hard to get bored of seeing people who have often thrown in everything to chase a dream and build something special achieve their immediate goals, and it often helps me to reevaluate and set some for myself. Reaching Phil Gayle’s people to get him to record and share that dulcet warning message on SoundCloud might just be a good start.