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Spotlight On: Rieke Strutz – Alumna Brand Management B.A.

Rieke Strutz

September 2019

Study Course
Brand Management B.A.

Auswirkungen von Dynamic Pricing im Online-Handel auf das Markenvertrauen am Beispiel von Amazon.

Hi Rieke, what have you been doing since you graduated?
Hello ☺ After graduating, I took a little time off and went back home to the beautiful Lüneburger Heide. I spent a lot of time there with my family, my boyfriend and with my horse. My highlight was then the road trip through South Africa with the whole family in January 2020, before the “seriousness of life” should start again. We were really lucky that we were able to do all this without any worries before the first lockdown came. In February, I started as a junior brand consultant at Pahnke Markenmacherei in Hamburg, and I moved back to Hamburg for that. I was in charge of the brands Hengstenberg and Zott, among others, and acted as an interface between internal graphics and production and the client. I was responsible for project management. However, I quit after 5 months, for reasons mentioned later, and went back to my home town. Now I have founded “vom Laend” with my brother and two friends, an agency for agricultural marketing, and I am super happy and excited about what else is going to happen.

How did you become self-employed?
Due to the pandemic and the lockdown in spring, I worked almost exclusively from home at Pahnke. I immediately “fled” back to the countryside. During that time, I realized how much I like being in my hometown and how nice it is to head to the stables after work to clear my head. In addition, my parents have an agricultural business, which I have become increasingly interested in. Even though I had great colleagues and customers, the work didn’t fulfill me 100%. I decided to combine my marketing know-how in some way with agriculture or agribusiness. This industry is undergoing enormous change due to issues such as climate change, digitalization and, above all, the resulting changes in consumer behavior, as well as increasing competition. Marketing offers considerable potential for companies here and is now also almost unavoidable. Especially for small farmers and direct marketers, who have relied on their local to regional customers, marketing was never a big issue – ” it always worked out so well”. But especially due to the consequences of digitalization, old structures have to be broken up there as well in order to continue to exist on the market.
In an optimistic mood, I initially applied to a number of agricultural companies here in my area – and there really are a lot of them. However, it’s no secret that finding a job in the current situation is difficult. This gave rise to the idea of starting something “of my own”. Since I had no luck with the applications, a solution had to be found. I talked about it a lot with my brother. He had a similar idea. One day he came to me and said that he had two friends who already had a lot of experience in the field of creation and content production and also saw potential in the agricultural sector. So in a short time “vom LÆND” was born. An agency for agricultural marketing – for farmers, direct marketers and companies from the agribusiness. Here, in addition to a lot of time and brain power, our passion comes into play! ☺

What are your tasks in the agency?
My brother and I take on the sales responsibilities together. We are in direct contact with the customers, acquire and advise them. Then we work together with the guys from creation on strategic and conceptual solutions. In this way, we are the interface and lubricant between the customer and our creation and production department. Of course, I also consider the area of branding to be my responsibility. However, no one should be limited in their abilities and competencies. Especially at the beginning, the areas of responsibility are still a bit blurred. We simply support each other and thus get the best out of a project. Over time, everyone will find out what they are particularly good at and what they really enjoy doing.

What is the best thing about your job?
I’m happy to have found something that allows me to combine my interest in agriculture and my professional skills – and to do it together with my brother. Also, our team is made up of such different personalities, which makes working together super interesting. Otherwise, we would probably never have come together like this.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to BU?
I think back to a very instructive, but also demanding time with many experiences and exciting projects. It was never boring. But I not only laid the foundation for my professional development there, I also made some real friends.

Why did you decide to go to BU?
After my apprenticeship, I wasn’t sure at first whether I wanted to study. Nowadays, there are more and more study programmes in Germany that almost only include marketing, but at that time there wasn’t much choice. Business administration with a marketing component was not an option for me, because the marketing part was always too little. Brand Management at BU seemed ideal to me. The specialization in brands seemed particularly appealing.

Did you know what you wanted to become before you started your studies? How did BU shape your career ambitions?
Before I started studying, I had already trained as a marketing communications specialist, so I already knew that I wanted to stay in this industry. However, I didn’t yet know what I wanted to become or what I wanted to specialize in. I did my training at web-netz, an online agency in Lüneburg. Here I was able to gain experience in the areas of search engine marketing and social media marketing. That was already a lot of fun for me. However, I knew that I definitely wanted to get to know the “classic” area in practice. But when I came across BU and the Brand Management program, I knew right away that this was what I was interested in and that I wanted to gain a professional foothold in this area.

Which experience has remained particularly memorable for you?
Basically, the practical projects are what I remember most. It was totally exciting to see what challenges companies face and to “look behind the scenes”. However, my highlight was the interdisciplinary practical project with the agency thjnk and the Paulaner brewery. The task was to develop a communication concept for the Paulaner Zwickl brand. With our result, we were even allowed to travel to Munich for the GWA Junior Agency Award.

What advice do you have for students to make the leap into a career right after graduation?
In my opinion, there is not ONE recipe for success. What is important, of course, are student jobs and internships during your studies to find out what you enjoy doing. You should cultivate the contacts that arise from this and also make use of them. “Vitamin B” should not be underestimated. It can open one or two doors for you! Nevertheless things just work out differently for everyone. Whether you stay where you may have previously done your student job or internship, apply normally or take some time off – the important thing is that you don’t force anything just because others may take a different path. Do what you feel like doing. And if it’s not the best-known agency or the biggest corporation, but the start-up in your small hometown, that’s fine too, as long as you feel comfortable.

What are your plans for the future?
Of course, my focus is first and foremost on our agency. There is still a lot of work to be done. The goal, or rather, a matter of the heart, is to support agricultural businesses of all shapes and sizes in digitalisation and to exploit their potential. My brother and I grew up in this sector and therefore know very well how difficult it is for the majority to stay “up-to-date” or to keep up with the times. This is especially due to the fact that there are many small, long-established family businesses where many generations are still working at the same time. Here, values, tradition and above all habit still play a very important role. This will also be a real challenge for us in the future.

Hamburg is for me…
my second home. Moving out was a big step for me and I wouldn’t have thought back then that I would settle in Hamburg so quickly and feel at home. I made so many wonderful memories there and met lovely people. Even though I no longer live there officially, it remains my second home.

Where do people meet you when you’re not in the office?
You can probably find me either in the stable with my horse, in front of the KitchenAid baking cakes and biscuits or in theory on the high seat (but visitors are rather unwelcome here ;)).