Sunday, May 17, 2015

Catching Up .... Paderborn - Round 1

We had another great Case Competition with the students at Uni Paderborn.  Dr. Andreas Eggert started the day with a great lecture on Customer Value and then the combined German/US teams went and worked on case solutions.  In the late afternoon each team presented their solutions and the day finished with a great celebration dinner at the Paderborner Brauhaus.

A few photos.....

 Dr. Eggert is looking dang good in his WMU t-shirt after his customer value lecture!
 The winning team from the case presentations!
The entire crew at our celebration dinner!

Catching Up ...... The Rhein

A very active schedule and weak internet has me way behind.  So I am going to catch up via photos ...
 On Thursday we did a day of hiking on the Rheinsteig Trail.  The day included a train ride, a ferry ride and a cable car.  The photo is the Neiderwald Denkmal that celebrates the birth of Germany as a modern nation state in 1871.  The day included beautiful weather and a unexpected picnic lunch when we found our usual lunch place no longer open. 

 On Friday we hiked into the hills around Bacharach and met Cecilia Jost, the owner of Weingut Toni Jost and she shared her passion with us related to the growing, making and marketing of her wines.  We toured her vineyards on the slopes above the Rhein and finished at her facility in the Bacharach city center.
Our hotel was the Bacharacher Hof in Bacharach.  Our hosts, Dirk & Ellen Scherschlicht could not have treated us any better.  We had a fantastic Rhein Specialties dinner on Wednesday and were treated to their hospitality and enthusiasm for our entire stay.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Reichtag Tour

Had a great tour of the Reichtag, Germany's capital building which is home to the German congress called the Bundestag.  The tour explored a building rich with history from the days of Prussian Kaisers, to Hiltlers burning of the building as a way to purge his political enemies, to its role in the cold war, and finally its recent reuse as Germany's unified capital building.  As usual stories tell the better story.....
 Gathering to enter the Reichtag.  The building is called the Reichtag, but the congress is is known as the Bundestag. It was redesigned by a British architect and has a large glass dome on the top.
 The ladies of the group infront of Angela Merkel's office within the Reichtag.
 Learning about the multi-party system and how they have to physically rearrange the room after every election. 
 The interior of the dome - the center column reflects light into the Bundestag meeting room and also acts as a funnel for hot air to escape (the kind politicians create!)
By the time we got dome the sun had set and it was getting dark.  The words at top basically translate to "For the German People"

Sunday, May 10, 2015

East Berlin Neighborhood Tour

Thursday afternoon we had a fascinating neighborhood tour focusing on three former East Berlin neighborhoods all is different states of gentrification and we had a great conversation with our tour guide.  He brought a wide open view of whether gentrification is a good thing or bad.  It was a great way to challenge the thinking of our business students who are more likely to be the developer versus the anti-development forces.  We looked at questions such as what are the right levels of development and how progress creates problems for those who cannot afford the new rents.  We also learned about how Germany has rent controls and in Berlin how the neighborhood has actual control over development issues thru direct voting. 

And besides this we explored very cool neighborhoods most tourists would never get to.  At the end, Dr. Zondag and I made the group leave without us and use the tram system to get home.  The next morning we heard the proud stories on how everyone figured it out an got home easily!

A few photos .....

 Jared our gude at the bridge that leads to the Kreuzburg Neighboorhood
 Some graffiti that is in a space of an old rail yard now occupied by everything from clubs, a climbing wall center, a anarchistic, vegan commune and a children's center.
The Frankforter Strasse Towers in Friedeschain neighborhood.  This former east Berlin high end neighborhood is now a mainly student neighborhood with a immense number of shops and small restaurants.

Schultheis Brewery Tour

Thursday started with a tour of the Schultheis Brewery.  We saw a marketing video and even had a chance to chat with their marketing director.  We also saw their production facility. They are a Berlin based beer and by US standards they would be a very large Micro-Brewery. 

photos tell the story better.....

They have three primary beers all Pilsner style and priced about the same.  Their marketing attempts to create three separate brews ....  I will tell the story via the stain glassed windows in their restaurant area .....

Schultheis is the oldest brand and is marketed as traditional and working class.  The bottle shape is different and it is a bit less bitter as Pilsner beers go.

Berliner Kindl, or Berlin's Child, is the upscale sophisticated brand.  It is also an older brand, but with a while foil label and champagne style glasses to serve it in it becomes the choice of the upscale and sophisticated audience. 

Berliner Pilser is the young, hip, go to a music festival beer.  They do a lot of event marketing around millennials and sponsor a new music competition. 

The production facility is highly automated and produces 50,000 bottles a day.

 The kid peeking out of the beer stein - not a brand logo that could be created today, but they keep it as it has a long tradition.
 50, 000 bottles a day in a highly automated process
The brewery welcomed us with a company and brand history video

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Volkswagen & the AutoStadt

We made it to Wolfsburg to visit VW and the Autostadt.  This was accomplished by chartering a bus since the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail company) is on strike.  We were a little late but all worked out as we went to the Autostadt first and explored their beautiful grounds, visted the 12 VW brands, and took a ride to the top of the Autoturm, or car tower where they store cars to be picked up by customers. 

Then it was over to the VW production facility for a great marketing strategy and branding lecture by Dr. Stefan Hoernemann from the VW Group Strategic Marketing group.  This was followed by a 90 minute tour of the production facility.  The facility turns out about 4000 cars a day, or one very 18.6 seconds!

We finished the evening with a trip to Fallersleben, which was the original town before the VW plant in essence created Wolfsburg.  We had a great German Specialties dinner and some hausgemachte brau!

Some photos ......

 Logan and Katie on the grounds of the Autostadt with the famous VW smoke stacks behind them
 The silver clad Bugati!  They only make 40 Bugati's a year at about 2 million Euros each.
 Getting ready to enter the largest car manufacturing facility in the world.  It is larger than the Principality of Monaco!
 Our marketing strategy lecture by Dr. Stefan Hoernemann
 Our ride for the VW factory tour
The group after a long satisfying day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fat Tire Bike Tour

Everyone arrived as scheduled and we had a very nice opening dinner on Monday night.  Today we did a Fat Tire Bike Tour of Berlin.  It is a great first full day event as it keeps everyone moving and we get to see the city as a whole.  The ride involves stops at key spots with Prussian history, Berlin city history, WWII / Nazi history and Cold War / Berlin Wall history.  Throw in the Tier Park and a nice Biergarten for lunch and its a great day.  We capped the day with a nice dinner that included Apfel Strudel for dessert!  Tomorrow we are off to Wolfsburg to visit VW.

A few photos (just of half the group as we split up into two groups) ......

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 GBC Arrival Day!

Arrival day!  Dr. Zondag and I are waiting in the lobby for the arrivals to start.  An exciting day.  The early arrivals came yesterday and we had a great day exploring Berlin including the Brandenburger Tor, The Siegessaule (Lady on a Stick) and a fussball match at the 1936 Olympic Stadium.  Great fun.
 Taking a stroll along the Spree River
 The Brandenburger Tor - still quiet early on a Saturday
 The Siegessaule - A victory Monument from 1871 Skirmish with France.
Known as the Lady on a Stick!
 1936 Olympic Stadium for a Hertha BSC Fussball Match.  The stadium is famous for being where Jesse Owens won gold in front of Hitler showing the world that Hitler's Arian race idea was not so superior. 
The Olympic rings at the stadium - also was the Olympic caldron where the flame would have been kept within the stadium.  Pretty cool experience.