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Spotlight On: Valentin Zehnder – Alumnus Brand Management B.A.

Valentin Zehnder

March 2019

Study Programme
Brand Management

Title of Thesis
Employer Branding in der Kreuzfahrtbranche – Erfolgsfaktoren der bewerberorientierten Kommunikation einer Arbeitgebermarke am Beispiel der Marke sea chefs

Hi Valentin, what have you been doing since graduating?
Cruise! Since my graduation I have been working for sea chefs. We operate the hotel, catering and spa areas on cruise ships all over the world, for example on board the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet and the Mein Schiff fleet of TUI Cruises.

How did you find your way to sea chefs?
During my apprenticeship in an advertising agency I already worked on sea chefs and during my studies I was allowed to develop social media campaigns for them on a freelance basis. When it came to finding a topic for my thesis, sea chefs offered themselves as a practical partner and shortly afterwards made me a job offer.

What are your tasks at sea chefs?
As “Junior Social Media & Brand Manager” in the field of HR marketing, I am responsible for taking our target group on board the cruise ships we manage and showing them via social media the unique moments and opportunities a career on board can bring. Here I am responsible for organic content as well as for the implementation of performance campaigns. I am also in charge of SEA and as a brand manager I ensure a clear brand image for our employer brand. In my opinion, this is a combination that makes a lot of sense at a time when the Internet still seems ominous in Germany.

What is the best part of your job?
The topic “Marketing & Branding” has been completely rethought by sea chefs within the last year and a half. We are a small team in a large company with over 15.000 employees. This gives me the chance every day to redesign our employer branding, to implement my ideas on my own responsibility and to take on a lot of responsibility right from the start. Of course, cruising is really fun. Every day I get pictures from Bali, New York, the Caribbean or Antarctica and have been suffering from chronic wanderlust ever since. That’s why the occasional onboard visits are an absolute highlight.

What do you first think of when you think back to the BU?
There are two things that immediately pop into my head: On the one hand the legendary BU parties with a view of the Elbe and the harbour, on the other hand: Presentations that would have made even our most difficult clients in the agency tremble with regard to demands and deadlines.

Why did you decide to study at BU?
I chose the BU because the course combines creative conception – as I knew it from the agency – with strategic corporate and brand management. I couldn’t find this combination at any other university. In addition, I always wanted to learn how to sell coffee for 6€ just by writing the name of the customer (wrong) on a cup.

What do you advise students to do so that they can make the leap into their career right after their studies?
In any case, gain practical experience during your studies and make use of all your contacts! Through the practical partners, you come into contact with many companies and the lecturers can often also arrange great working student jobs. If you take advantage of these opportunities, gain some experience during your studies and build up a small network, you will certainly have no problem starting your career after graduation. This also includes the guest lectures at BU. ABSOLUTELY: Go there!

What are your plans for the future?
In the future I would like to devote myself above all to digital topics. Here in Germany we are unfortunately still far too cautious and must not lose touch (we missed it long ago). Brands are a great way to positively position new technology and I really enjoy creating digital brand worlds.

Hamburg is for me…
…the most beautiful city in the world and since nearly seven years the only German alternative to the Ländle of Spätzle and Maultaschen!

Where can you be found when you’re not in the office?
Not at sports, but rather at Drilling in Othmarschen on a protein-rich whisky sour.