She took office on 1 November of last year. Since then Jacqueline Casini has set new accents in Lufthansa Cargo’s media relations strategy and marketing activities. CargoForwarder Global was the first publication to speak with her in depth about her aims, ambitions and visions in her new role as head of the freight carrier’s communications department. We met up with a highly extraordinary person.
Nils Haupt, Matthias Eberle, Michael Goentgens, followed last November by Jacqueline Casini. Quite an impressive line-up of renowned names in cargo communication, with Jacqueline being the first
female to sit on the chair for public relations at Lufthansa Cargo’s FRA headquarters.
But besides being a woman, there are some noteworthy characteristics that distinguish the 44-year-old from her predecessors and who has graduated in “National Economics” and holds a “Master of Communication and Leadership”. She is responsible not only for letting the public know what’s happening at LH Cargo, but also for spreading important marketing and environmental issues, thus bringing together topics from different company departments, sorting and concentrating them in a customer focused communication approach. Seen in that way, she is entrusted more competencies by LHC’s executive managers compared to her former peers.
However, it was not formal responsibilities that convinced her to apply for the vacant communications job at LH Cargo after Michael Goentgens decided to continue his professional career at carmaker Opel. It was predominantly the opportunity she was offered to integrate marketing and public relations issues, which most airlines clearly separate in contrast to LH Cargo. The challenge is to shape a unified product suitably presented to the trade and public but also one which at the same time can be optimally translated by LH Cargo’s staff..
In this communications strategy, social media such as Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook as well as online publications focusing on logistics and air freight matters, play an increasingly important role. This way, decisions can be presented directly to specific target groups, conversely, the electronic tools enable fast reactions by users. Hence, a platform for a dialogue-oriented exchange of views is created. Sending out PR releases whenever a topic pops up, as was done in the old days, has become old fashioned and meanwhile does not play the VIP role under Jacqueline’s leadership. “When discussing our approach and future focus of activities within our team some weeks ago, we identified four global target media groups with high market penetration and credibility that we decided to concentrate cooperating closely with in the future,” Jacqueline states. CargoForwarder Global is honoured to belong to this selected quartet.
LH Cargo is part of people’s everyday life
To exemplify her and her team’s PR and Marketing strategy, Jacqueline states: “Lufthansa Cargo is part of many products, be it cars, vessels, pharmaceuticals or foodstuff, for example. Apart from that, we fly automobile components, ship spares, IT items, vaccines or foodstuff, to name just a few goods we frequently transport to markets all over the world. Making people increasingly aware of the indispensable role we play for their every day’s life is the task we have put very high on our communications and marketing agenda.”
So it’s mostly content driven stories she develops the framework for other than sending out just factual news, making people aware that LH Cargo plays an important role in everyday life. “This is what we have to tell the broad public much more than we did so far, stimulating their attention and emotions,” she emphasizes.
LHC focusses on two main topics
Having said this Jacqueline outlines two contextual relevant topics that are at the top of LH Cargo’s current list: airline partnerships and digitization.
As to the first, she says that liaising with other carriers for jointly transporting air freight consignments is well under way, particularly the route joint ventures with ANA Cargo and Cathay Pacific Cargo. “We hope that our intended cooperation on North Atlantic sectors with United Cargo will follow suit soon.” That mustn’t be the end of the line. “Basically, we are open for additional pacts of this kind,” Jacqueline stresses, emphasizing however, that LH Cargo is currently concentrating on sealing and delivering on the existing ANA and Cathay agreements. Despite market rumors Jacqueline adds to this that presently there are no discussions in place for any form of cargo cooperation with Etihad Cargo and LH Cargo, despite the previously announced collaborative working agreement in catering and on the technical side between both airlines.
Digitization is a most pressing task, enabling paperless transport, reducing errors and speeding up the entire supply chain. “We are getting there, but processes could be faster.”
Realignment process is under way
Putting all of this into perspective, Jacqueline Casini is convinced that LH Cargo is in the middle of an important realignment process.
She informed us that among the key issues is an improvement on customer focus, as well as making more use of the internal logistics expertise to present their clients with viable solutions for their own logistics problems.
The Communications department plays an important role in enabling all these changes and new ideas to be put into motion. She added that the department’s role has changed considerably in the past years and is not just a relayer of messages, but more importantly, listens, evaluates and through information gathered from employees, clients and social networks, tables these internally in the marketing sector.
Andreas Bartels triggered Jacqueline’s move
Asked about her decision to apply for her current job at LH Cargo she says that Lufthansa is an extremely renowned and powerful brand equaling the nimbus of a German embassy. When attending a presentation given by Lufthansa Senior Vice President Group Communications, Andreas Bartels in 2015 explaining LH’s crisis communication strategy, she was attracted by the points Andreas tabled on this occasion.
For her, the carrier’s doors opened up when the job at LH Cargo became vacant after Michael Goentgen’s decision last summer to exit the airline.
After graduating from Berlin Free University in Economics, Mrs Casini started her career 2001 in a Berlin-based Software company in the Marketing department. In 2004 she moved to France and took over the role as Head of Communications and Marketing at the French mobile handset developer Purple Labs. After exiting the company in 2006, she took over similar responsibilities with the Spanish Dekra subsidiary AT4 wireless, based in Malaga. In 2013, she and her Italian husband together with their three children decided to return to Germany, where she became Head of Corporate Communication at Erwin Hymer Group, Europe’s leading motor home and caravan producer.
In the field of aviation, particularly cargo, she is a newcomer. This is certainly not a disadvantage. On the contrary, her past media experience in other fields allows for an unobstructed look at the air cargo industry and the chance to bring a new impetus in LH cargo’s product line.
Heiner Siegmund / John McDonagh