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Spotlight On: Ana Bernal – Alumna International Brand Communication M.A.

Ana Maria Bernal Suárez

September 2018

Study Programme
International Brand Communication M.A.

Title of Thesis
The importance of being trained in visual rhetoric to understand award-winning print ads in developed and developing countries

Hi Ana, what have you been up to since your graduation from Brand Academy?
Actually, a lot has happened. Before my graduation, I started a Content Management internship at The NAGA Group, a German fintech company. After 3 months of internship, they offered me a full-time job as a Junior Marketing Manager. There I was doing social media and content management mixed with web conceptualization and usability research. Unfortunately, the company didn’t do well in 2018, and in January they decided to close the Hamburg office. February to May were really hard months for me. Job searching is a difficult task, even more, if you are not in your country and you don’t speak the native language. After applying to countless positions and going to more than 30 interviews, on July 1st I started working at Siemens Gamesa, one of the biggest wind power companies in the world.

Where do you work now, what’s your job title and what are your tasks?
Right now, I’m a Communications and Marketing Manager at Siemens Gamesa. I work in the internal communications department, developing social and digital communication. It’s a mixture of tasks, from strategy to creation, which I enjoy a lot.

What’s your greatest challenge at work?
I’m very surprised about how difficult it is to communicate with employees. One of the biggest challenges is to get to know the audience because there is no consumer research or generation profile. Siemens Gamesa has more than 23.000 employees from various nationalities who are located all over the world. The diversity element adds an extra difficulty factor to the communication because it is necessary to find a cultural balance. Therefore, it is important to know the needs of each group of workers and to try to find solutions for them. By managing the internal social media channels I get to know the feelings and opinions of the employees and communicate them to the management.

What do you like about your job?
After three years of working in advertising agencies as a creative copywriter, and almost a year as a marketing manager in a company, it is interesting to see another facet of brand communication. Now, in an internal communications department, I see how the communication for the employees works, and let me tell you, it is not easier than the consumer-oriented communication. The good and fun part here is that you get quite a quick reaction form the audience. Your target group is at the next-door office. Therefore, communication has to be fast, easy and concrete. You don’t want to waste your colleagues’ time.

What are your plans for the future?
It is difficult for me to make long term plans, I’m trying to go with the flow. That is how I ended up in internal communications. I want to stay in Hamburg and learn more about internal communications, maybe I will explore employer branding too. What I do know is that I don’t want to work for advertising agencies nor for a brand that doesn’t care about the planet or sustainability.

Looking back at your studies at Brand Academy, what do you see?
Brand Academy teaches you the power of creativity, strategy, and culture for successful brand communication. It doesn’t matter if it is for B2C, B2B, or B2E communication. Creativity for the sake of creativity is nothing. In my current job as a Marketing and Communications Manager at Siemens Gamesa, I realized how important these three factors are to be efficient with the communication.

Do you have any advice for prospect students or first semesters?
My advice is to absorb and learn as much as you can from your classmates’ culture. One of the best things about studying at BA is the opportunity to share a classroom with students from different nationalities. That is something that no teacher can teach you. Take advantage of this multiculturality to learn how to work with all of them. In the end, if you want to work for an international brand, you will be either working with people from other cultures or creating communication for them.

What do you do when you’re not working?
I always like to have personal projects to explore my ideas and creativity without needing any boss or client approval. Since 2014 I have a fashion blog, called the Orange Raccoon, that has been evolving until these days. Right now, it is an Instagram account full of ethical and sustainable fashion content. My goal is nothing else than to exercise my creativity in a topic I love, the followers are not my driver.