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"Fifteen minutes until the virtual coffee party."

When I started at Wiesbaden-based IoT Venture GmbH as a working student in March 2020, my aim was to gain a deep insight into a digital company’s corporate communications and demonstrate a high level of motivation. This start-up is part of the globally active investment and service holding company mind venture AG, which employs a total workforce of 500 at thirteen locations. Everything is connected is IoT Venture’s brand promise as a company dedicated to the Internet of Things. The team develops hardware, software and data platforms and advises companies on creating new digital business models.

IT’S MY BIKE connects electric bikes to the Internet

Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to learn about a highly dynamic sector which is completely new to me. IoT Venture’s first trade brand is IT’S MY BIKE, a solution which connects e-bikes to the Internet. A GPS tracker is built into the bike where it can’t be seen. This allows owners to find their bike again if it goes missing – when it has been stolen, for example. A digital emergency assistant will be added shortly, which will send help to the accident location if the rider should fall. I assisted my two colleagues in our small marketing and communications team with promoting the brand to the specialist bicycle trade and among end customers and drawing attention to the opportunities that digitisation offers. This is a task that required a great deal of creativity, brainstorming and constant research into different trends and topics.

During my work, I also gained an insight into the criteria used to select and design promotional material for points of sale, such as the branded face mask that we had made for customers (see photo). I also enjoyed a brief taste of producing training material for sales staff.

Creating posts for social media

Online communication, including social media, plays an important role in the company’s communication mix. I see the company’s posts on different channels every day. I was not aware of the amount of work which goes into producing a post. It was quite a challenge to find the right relevant content which offered added value. I learned a great deal about how a brand presents itself effectively in social networks and, above all, how important visualisation is in this process. I created briefings for graphics for the external designer and approved designs. I also organised a photo shoot and selected images from databases.

Talking of online communication, I also learned a great deal about internal communication at IoT Venture during the Covid lockdown. The everyday work environment transformed virtually overnight as people started to work from home. Suddenly, it was no longer the joint lunch which brought us together but an Outlook reminder instead: “Fifteen minutes until the virtual coffee party”.

Learning from others

Forced changes make you creative – with the help of digital tools, we ensured that the team’s communication and spirit was maintained, even though circumstances were difficult. Employees held Zoom or Microsoft Team meetings on a regular basis to coordinate business or converse on a personal level. This meant I had the chance to get to know everyone despite the coronavirus. It is something I truly appreciate – it is important to learn from colleagues and it is an experience that I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

Everything is connected – let’s stay in touch

I’ll remember my time as a working student in Corporate Communications at IoT Venture GmbH as a positive, diverse experience. But it is not only the tasks and projects which made the last six months so enriching. It was also great to be regarded and appreciated as a full team member with responsibilities and a say in the decisions. This is not automatically the case in every company. Thanks to my colleagues Bettina Schmidt and Nina Freiberger and to the entire IoT Venture team. I am glad that you have helped me and I am able to take so much with me. Time has passed by all too quickly. Everything is connected, as IoT Venture’s slogan states, so, in that spirit, let’s stay connected.

 

Field report by Laurette Ribel, Working student in Corporate Communications at IoT Venture GmbH between 1 March and 15 August.

Image: Photo shoot with Nina Freiberger (left), Bettina Schmidt (centre) and Laurette Ribel (right).