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My top 5 tips for entering the German market – Guest Blog by David Imberman, CSO @ Axel Springer

David Imberman, CSO

David Imberman, CSO

Over the last five years I have been working for Axel-Springer, since January 2017 I’m head of Corporate Security & CEO of the Axel-Springer Security GmbH responsible for the development, implementation and management of the organization’s corporate security vision, strategy and programs. Many companies contact me on a regular basis offering their solutions in the fields of physical security, information & cyber security, security technology, safety etc. I also maintain close ties with various government agencies and non-governmental entities throughout Germany.

Axel-Springer SE is Europe’s leading digital publisher as a result of, consistent internationalization and digitization, Axel Springer today is not only market leader in the German media business but is also active in more than 40 countries through subsidiaries, joint ventures and licenses. In the tradition of its founder, who fostered journalistic and technological innovations in his time, Axel Springer is breaking new ground. The company is consistently pursuing the objective of building up a fast-growing and profitable digital portfolio in News Media Marketing Media and Classified Media, which are the three business segments in which the company is traditionally strong.

Media companies have societal responsibility in a democracy, because they shape the way their readers, listeners, viewers, and users form their opinions. Therefore, Axel Springer is the only independent publishing house to have had a corporate constitution through the Essentials since 1967, to ensure it takes account of this responsibility in a transparent manner.

The Axel Springer Essentials:

  • We stand up for freedom, the rule of law, democracy and a united Europe.
  • We support the Jewish people and the right of existence of the State of Israel.
  • We demonstrate solidarity with the free values of the United States of America.
  • We uphold the principles of a free market economy and its social responsibility.
  • We reject political and religious extremism.

Top 5 tips for entering the German market

Business Entry Strategy to the German market is not an easy task for a foreign company as it’s extremely difficult to stand out from the competition. Planning and market research, legal and data protection issues are essential.

  1. “long distance run” – Decision-making is conducted in an organized and structured manner don’t expect to come out of a presentation meeting with a hand shake contract and don’t push to receive an answer after the meeting, it will take time.
  2. Be prepared – Executives are most interested in facts, numbers and objectives. Germans are very detail oriented and will certainly be well prepared and informed.
  3. Customer support and delivery German companies have high expectations in terms of quality of service.
  4. Location, Berlin is a good place for start-ups you can easily find your early tryout. It’s also a good place to hire key employees. Frankfurt is more fintech industry, Munich is great for high-end tech products and Düsseldorf hosts a lot of B2B software companies.
  5. Honesty – The advantages must be explained in detail, but the disadvantages or gaps must also be detailed. Openness and honesty are the key to successful cooperation.

Things to Keep in mind:

  • Language, German is the official language
  • Culture – Punctuality, business strictly separated from personal relationships. Use ‘last name’ (Mr/Ms and academic title) it is not customary to use each other’s first names.
  • Dress code – Neat and tidy (Depending on the company but formal business clothing is recommended).

David Imberman, CSO