Aylin Flegel loves variety – particularly when it comes to her job. As a Marketing and Public Relations Manager at EvoBus in Switzerland, she makes sure that Daimler Buses is visible in the Swiss market with its Mercedes-Benz, Setra, OMNIplus and BusStore brands, and that our customers are kept up-to-date regarding new and used buses as well as the services and replacement parts we offer. In her interview, the communications expert tells us why personal contact is particularly important in the market for buses, why she did not find her dream job until later in life, and what her next steps are at Daimler.
Ms. Flegel, you are responsible for marketing and public relations for the Buses division of EvoBus (Schweiz) AG. What exactly do you do?
EvoBus is Daimler's full-line provider when it comes to buses. We offer our customers everything, from new Mercedes-Benz and Setra vehicles and a full range of services with our OMNIplus brand to BusStore, our brand for used buses. In this context, as a Marketing and Public Relations Manager, I plan the marketing measures and small-scale campaigns from the concept through to implementation, for example for our online channels and print media. Another part of my work involves organizing events here at our premises. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, this included our in-house trade fair with almost 1,000 visitors. I also organize ceremonial bus handovers to customers, often together with my co-worker Julia.
What is particularly important when it comes to communications in the bus sector?
Personal contact really is the most important thing in Switzerland. Many of our customers are SMEs and family-run enterprises. A new bus is an investment that can make or break an entire company. Every bus that we hand over is a token of trust. We often get companies who travel with their entire workforce or family to collect their new bus. Furthermore, public transport accounts for a large part of our business – for example, when a new urban bus fleet is being put together. This is also a case in which personal contact is important to us.
What is your work environment like?
This year, we moved to our new premises in Winterthur. This is the site of one of Europe's most state-of-the-art centers of competence for buses. With the know-how that is now bundled at a single location (i.e. sales, workshop, body, replacement part storage and the entire after-sales division), I now have an even better insight into what the current issues are, and what new technologies are in the pipeline. If the new eCitaro electric bus is being presented, for example, I always take a look at it in the lot and find out more about the details or any questions that I have. As a Marketing and Public Relations Manager, I represent our company externally. My curiosity and passion for technology is of course helpful in this respect.
What do you really enjoy about your work?
I am a hands-on kind of person, and I love setting a new course, being creative, and implementing new projects. For me, being creative doesn't just mean designing flyers or brochures, but also working creatively on the problem-solving process, or on motivating employees! In my job, I am given a lot of freedom to implement my ideas. My boss supports me in this regard. One of my favorite projects at the moment is our new, interactive company image brochure. This is something that has never been done before. In the new format, in addition to our products, we also introduce our specialist teams personally, both in print and online with photos and videos. And users can now enjoy a virtual tour of our facility using Google Street View. With regard to my work environment, I just know that I can rely on my co-workers. That gives me a lot of peace of mind.
A new bus is an investment that can make or break an entire company. Every bus that we hand over is a token of trust.
What is it like working in your team?
There are two of us in Marketing at our location. My co-worker deals specifically with sales and social media. We really complement each other well, and make a great team. When it comes to strategic issues, I work closely with the central Marketing unit in Stuttgart and Neu-Ulm. And in terms of planning the annual budget, I can of course make good use of my experience in Controlling.
From Controlling to Marketing: that's an interesting switch. How did that come about?
At school, I was very interested in mathematics. So when I was choosing a career, accounting made sense for me. I first studied for a diploma in business management and administration, before completing a Master's degree in International and General Management. After graduating, I spent six years working in controlling at various different companies. There were a lot of standardized processes and recurring tasks involved. At some point, I realized that it wasn't for me. I wanted to work creatively with a broad range of tasks, and have more to do with people. That is why I went back to university again. In Switzerland you can study for what is known as a CAS, or Certificate of Advanced Studies. I studied Marketing and Communications at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) in Winterthur.
And how did you end up at Daimler Buses?
After my CAS, I made a list of what I want from an employer. Having gained insights into four different companies, I knew what was important to me. I was looking for a company with short decision-making pathways, where I could contribute my own ideas and be given responsibility. At the same time, I wanted to focus on topics such as mobility and technology. I sent an unsolicited application to EvoBus in the form of a brief video. Then I talked to Frank Scherhag, my current boss, the chemistry was just right. And today I can say that I am working in my dream job.
What do you think makes EvoBus unique as an employer?
I like the familiar and cordial atmosphere here. There are about 100 people working for our subsidiary. Everyone knows everyone, from the teams in the workshop to the managers. That makes working together more personal and effective. As an international corporation, Daimler Buses or Daimler offers me a wide range of options when it comes to training and career opportunities. I am planning to start a post-graduate degree in Digital Marketing in the near future. Daimler offers me the necessary flexibility and support for this.
And on a personal note: what is essential in your dream office?
Actually I'm already in my dream office (laughs). We have a lot of wonderful, bright and well-lit rooms at our location. I really enjoy working here. But one thing that is absolutely essential for me is the photo of my family on my desk. They will always be my number one priority.
After my CAS, I made a list of what I want from an employer. I sent an unsolicited application to EvoBus in the form of a brief video. And today I can say that I am working in my dream job.
In person: Aylin Flegel (38) At school, Aylin Flegel loved mathematics, science and art. The first years of her career, which she spent in Controlling departments, gave her a strategic insight into various corporate structures, but the recurring processes and tasks were not ideal for her. In her job as a Marketing and PR Manager at EvoBus in Switzerland, she now particularly enjoys the freedom of being able to give her creativity free rein. Today, Aylin Flegel doesn't just apply all of her energy to making EvoBus (Schweiz) AG look good on the market, but also in her spare time. Whether it's cycling with her family, going climbing, rollerblading, skydiving or going on city breaks: "There are so many wonderful things to discover, and you can constantly expand your own horizons.