Episode 7 – Bernd Linnhoff, Journalist, Author, Expat, Blogger


“Living the dream: retiring abroad”


About Bernd Linnhoff: journalist, author, expat, blogger

Once chief soccer reporter for German news agencies Sport-Informations-Dienst (SID) and Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), Bernd Linnhoff today publishes popular German blog Faszination Fernost (Fascination Far East), which features interesting, entertaining, and sometimes feuilleton-style articles on culture, travel, and life in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Linnhoff, who heralds from the German region of Westphalia, lives and works with his wife in Chiang Mai, North-West Thailand. As we chat, Linnhoff shares with us his fascinating life in what is for many of us a very alien world. We also discuss whether the expat life is for everyone, and what you need to consider before making such a life-changing move.


Former soccer royalty

Before embarking on a career in journalism, Linnhoff was a professional soccer player in Germany’s second division, the 2. Bundesliga. Finding the right balance between his proximity to those still playing the game – many of whom he’d played against – and the inner distance necessary for his job was always a challenge for him. But the players did, and could trust him.

Since Linnhoff’s day, the game has become much faster, and the world of soccer more professional. Today, players on the pitch are able to make split-second decisions under the pressure of the game and need to be able to get themselves out of the trickiest of situations. Professional soccer has become something of an art. That’s why Linnhoff still loves watching soccer today.


The reason behind Germany’s 1990 World Cup win

DBJ: How has the profession of sports journalist changed?

Linnhoff: Sports journalists generally used to have a closer relationship with the players. Back then, only a handful of reporters ever travelled with teams to international matches. In 1986, there were just 30 of us at the World Cup in Mexico. As in Spain in 1982, we once again stayed in the same place as the German team, but no one was happy with this arrangement, and so in 1990, Beckenbauer – the German manager – arranged for the team to stay in different accommodation. That was probably one of the main reasons behind Germany’s 1990 World Cup win in Italy!


“My decision to move to Thailand was without doubt the best decision of my life”

DBJ: You subsequently spent a number of years working for yourself, and then, in 2008, you moved to Thailand. What made you decide to do this?

Linnhoff: The first time I went to Thailand was in 1994. I was going through a bit of a rough time and went out there with a colleague for Christmas. I spent four weeks in the Gulf of Thailand, visiting the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Phú Quốc. While travelling, I realized just how few material possessions I needed to be happy. I had the most amazing time, and it left a lasting impression on me.

Afterwards, I went to Thailand on vacation every year, usually to the south of the country, but later also sometimes to Bangkok. Every year, I couldn’t wait to go back. To arrive in Phuket, and shortly afterwards be people-watching or dozing on the deck of a ferry, my head on my rucksack, was for me the ultimate freedom. A kind of freedom I’d never experienced before and that I felt an ever-increasing pull toward. Over the years, I also started making more and more friends among the locals.

Then, on New Year’s Eve 2007, I was standing on a friend’s balcony on the 21st floor, looking out over the bright lights of the capital. And that’s when it hit me. I said to myself: “God, there are so many adventures for you to have here, new people to meet, new experiences to enjoy!” That’s when I made my decision. I moved out here nine months later. I celebrated my 60th birthday as a new expat in my new home, Bangkok.

My decision to move to Thailand was without doubt the best decision of my life.


“I wanted to travel light”

DBJ: Did you have to leave much behind in Germany?

Linnhoff: I was single, and so had no ties in that respect. As for my material possessions, I in particular had to leave my over 1,000 books and vast collection of CDs behind. I wanted to travel light – both literally and figuratively. It’s a very strange feeling to close the door in Germany after 60 years of living there, knowing fine well there’s no going back.


The challenge of learning Thai!

DBJ: How well do you think you’ve integrated into life in Thailand?

Linnhoff: I generally know a lot of locals already. My wife’s Thai. By nature, though, I’m not really one for socializing and meeting people. I much prefer the company of my close friends. My two attempts to learn Thai have, admittedly, been a bit of a disaster. The grammar’s relatively easy to learn, but Thai is a very tonal language. So, one word can have completely different meanings depending on the tone. After once calling a mother “horse” because of my poor mispronunciation, I’m very wary about speaking Thai.


Europe isn’t the center of the world here – either on the map or otherwise!

DBJ: What challenges are there with the relationship between expats and the Thais?

Linnhoff: I’m sometimes taken aback when I hear other expats complaining about the Thais. Sometimes there’s a certain feeling of superiority about it. I really don’t understand it when people say things like “The Thais never learn!” Understandably, the Thais get annoyed about it.

Imagine if it was the other way round, and Thai people living in Germany were always criticizing the Germans. I think the Germans would be annoyed, too.

In Western countries, we often tend to think our democracy’s the best and so all countries should follow the same system of government. But the very idea of imposing our democracy on to Thailand 1:1 is ludicrous. It simply wouldn’t work in such a completely different culture. Thailand is a very different world.

And Europe isn’t the center of the world here – either on the map or otherwise!


“Parents often have to rely on their children financially here in their old age”

DBJ: What’s the relationship like between the young and the old in Thailand?

Linnhoff: There’s effectively no old-age pension in Thailand. Parents still often have to rely on their children financially here in their old age. People work until they no longer can or want to work. Then they’re either supported financially by their children or are among the few who’ve managed to put aside some money.

Despite its growing middle class, Thailand is still very much an agricultural country. Just like in other countries, in Thailand, too, lots of young people move away from the countryside to the cities to work and send money back home to support their families. This brings its own set of, new, problems. For example, a young woman coming to Bangkok can earn 12,000 baht (€350) a month working in a supermarket, or triple or quadruple that working in a bar, if you get my drift. Not that I want to make any hasty sweeping judgements here.


“And if you want it badly enough, you can transcend all barriers” (Udo Jürgens)

DBJ: Lots of people secretly dream of moving to another country one day and making a fresh start. How can they know for sure that living in a foreign country, like Thailand, will be right for them?

Linnhoff: For some people, the main motivation behind their decision to move abroad is a rational one – for financial reasons, for example, because the cost of living is lower in the host country.

Most people, though – me included – start thinking about moving abroad because they feel an intense pull to live in another country. As Austrian singer and songwriter Udo Jürgens put it: “And if you want it badly enough, you can transcend all barriers.”

You need to think carefully about what you want and need. If you can, it’s a good idea to first spend three or four months in the place you want to move to. It’s always far easier to cope with a different culture when you’re on vacation than when you’re actually living there. In everyday life, Asian cultures are in many respects very different to western European cultures, and these are things you don’t necessarily notice on vacation.

Expats usually go through five stages before they feel at home in their new country.

  • Euphoria
  • Doubt
  • Culture shock
  • Acceptance
  • Living

For me, this cycle went on for two to three years. Each stage has its positives. But none are necessarily obstacles. Many Europeans, Americans, and myself too are happy here and feel at home.


“This is Thailand – if you’re looking for an ‘ordinary’ life, then Thailand’s perhaps not the country for you”

DBJ: Throughout our conversation, it’s become clear that Thailand is a completely different world. To finish off, could you give us a few examples to illustrate this?

Linnhoff: I like bizarre things. And bizarre things happen a lot here. If you’re looking for an ‘ordinary’ life, then Thailand’s perhaps not the country for you. A lot of foreigners experience things that take them by surprise – me, too, of course. Here are three examples:

When tradition comes first

My wife and I were sat on the floor for a special dinner at the home of some family friends. Our host was preparing by hand a bite-size portion of fish and rice especially for me. I could tell even from quite far away that it was incredibly spicy and would be far too hot for me. I looked to my wife for help, but she didn’t react. I ended up having to get out of eating it myself. Later, my wife explained to me that she hadn’t been able to help me because it would have gone against Thai culture and tradition, according to which a woman cannot speak for a man older than her in such situations. What I wanted or needed right then obviously came second here.

When names bring luck

Naming conventions follow some very special rules in Thailand: If you feel like things aren’t going very well for you, you can change your name, in the hope that your new name will bring you better luck. You can change your last name, too, but your family must choose a name not already taken by another family. Two families cannot have the same last name.

When twins ‘get married’ to be able to live separate lives

In ancient Siam, Buddhism and animism (belief in spirits) coexisted peacefully. Today, Thai people are still very much interested in the supernatural. For example, parents of mixed-sex twins organize a kind of wedding ceremony for their children when they’re about two or three years old. It’s believed that brother and sister were lovers in a past life, but that their relationship, for whatever reason, ended before they could get married. Through their birth, they’ve been given another chance of finding fulfilling love. Holding the marriage ceremony ensures that brother and sister will live a life free of bad luck in the future – separate from each other.


© 2021 FRIMESO All rights reserved

Episode 6 – Frank Leyhausen, SENovation Award, Strengthening the Silver Economoy

Frank Leyhausen


“Successful founders talk to the seniors, not about them”


About Frank Leyhausen:

Frank Leyhausen is the director of the management consultancy MedCom International, which helps its customers to address the “third-generation” target group effectively. The Cologne native first came into contact with the senior market as a young marketeer. Ever since then, he can’t seem to shake the subject of our aging society. Thus, his decision to commit himself to this topic with MedCom was only logical.


The SENovation Award – “following the example of America’s culture of startups”

He got the idea to found the SENovation Award when he traveled to the United States, where many innovative products are being developed for the older part of the population. To see how much is possible in a country with a much younger population. The AARP there (the equivalent of the German Seniors’ League), with its approximately 36 million members, has revitalized the startup scene with numerous initiatives. Leyhausen has successfully introduced this dynamic to Germany with the SENovation Award. 20% of the population is 65 or older, making for a vast market of opportunities. The award is intended to raise awareness for the “Silver Economy” among the startup scene in the German-speaking countries.


Involving older people in developing products

Frimeso: On your homepage, you state that those startups can apply who “intentionally target older people.” When is this the case?

Leyhausen: There are traditional products for seniors, like rollators. With many products, though, it’s specifically about making an effort to comprehensively explain the product to older customers and involve older people in the product development process. If you’re developing an app, for example, it should be easy to use. Language has to be used in a way that the target audience will understand. Technical terms and slang can make older people feel excluded from the start. So it’s all about a holistic approach.


Germany still lags behind the USA

Frimeso: You say on your homepage that Germany is not a classic start-up nation compared to countries like the USA. Why is that?

Leyhausen: We don’t have the same entrepreneurial spirit yet.

Thanks to our great social security system, civil service, and a stable labor market, starting a business is primarily considered a risk. Thus, many people start their businesses while continuing to work. People prefer to stay in their well-paid jobs at first. In the US, the risk of losing your job is as high as driving your startup against the wall.


Startups as a lifestyle concept

Frimeso:  It seems to be a general trait of Germans to be afraid of failure, whereas, in America, failure is considered as part of the process.

Leyhausen: Our culture does not cope well with failure. If you fail in the US, it’s: “So, what are you going to do next?”. If you fail in Germany, others may label you a “loser.” There is an inherent fear of being socially sidelined. That is a pity because, personally, I actually learn more from my mistakes. You question mistakes. You celebrate successes.

Still, much is changing in Germany right as we speak. Many want to launch something. We are well on the way. Above all, public perception has changed. Founding a company is now “cool.” A new generation is growing up with a lifestyle concept of shaping their own everyday work life.


Focusing on your key strengths is better than poorly copying the strengths of others

Frimeso: What industry generally has the most startups today?

Leyhausen: Our strengths still lie in engineering. But we are also at the forefront within some tech sectors. We generally look to Silicon Valley too much and always want to digitize everything, even though we are far more skilled in other areas. We should focus on our own strengths. That also applies to “age tech.” Germany has the largest living laboratory in the world. We should focus on what we already have and build on it. That is better than to look to America and copy them poorly.


Target group “Silver Economy” –“ it’s not about age, it’s about the stage.”

Frimeso: How old does one have to be to belong to the target group “Silver Economy”?

Leyhausen: We’re opposed to 50+, 60+, 70+. This segmentation according to calendar age makes no sense. My actual age is of little interest to me and does not define what I need. We live and advise according to the motto: “It’s not about age, it’s about the stage.” It doesn’t matter if someone is 40 or 50. But if they become a caregiver for members of the family during that period, their life changes. Accordingly, startups should seek to define their customers according to changing needs.


“Successful founders talk to the seniors, not about them”

Frimeso: Many founders are younger than their target group. How do these young people manage to empathize with older customers.

Leyhausen: We have a very simple slogan: ‘Talk to the seniors, don’t talk about them.’ Many products are developed with the best interests and best intentions. However, older people should be involved in the development process early on as sparring partners, monitoring bodies, or even innovators. Only those who talk to seniors can be empathetic towards them. Founders ask our seniors far too little.

The challenge of the digital divide – humility and empathy are required in product development

Frimeso: Are older consumers ready for digital innovations? Does the digital divide play a role for innovative start-ups? Is the older part of the population embracing digital innovations?


Leyhausen: There is a digital divide. According to the digital index for Germany there are still almost 12 million people in Germany who are not digital at all. I

Additionally, 40 % percent of the population are digitally sidelined as “minimal onliners”. Digital startups face the challenge of also appealing to this part of the population. The willingness to download an app is relatively low. Therefore, these people need to be instructed, either in person or by employing other means like YouTube videos.

Businesses in Germany generally struggle with tackling the digital divide. Many older people have taken the arduous route of setting up a personal account on the app store. But when they then get an unsolicited update where all of a sudden, the button is right and no longer left, green and no longer red, it frustrates them. These people have always used the remote control and now have to deal with a volatile interface. In the USA, it’s been made possible to call an Uber using your telephone since there wasn’t enough demand from older people for their services on their app. Car manufacturers here should humbly note that the average age of car buyers is 52.


Two of the winners so far: Pflegix, the platform for caregivers, and Rufus, the phone filter

Frimeso: Can you highlight one or two of your winners?

Leyhausen: In 2018, the platform Pflegix won our award. Their concept was compelling. Pflegix connects freelancing caregivers and families looking for caregivers. Today, they are part of a group that acts internationally.

Last year, Rufus – Der Telefonfilter won, a young startup that deals with the topic of phone scams. Every year, millions of euros are made by criminals who pretend to be grandchildren or impersonate police officers on the phone. With the Telefonfilter, the startup has developed a box that is installed between the port and the phone. Unknown or blocked numbers are filtered out as desired. For unknown numbers, however, there is also the option that callers first have to identify themselves or agree to calls being recorded. Rufus collaborated with the police, universities, and Caritas during development and conducted a field test with 100 households. Over 99% percent of them used the box. The company also made sure to use means of control that users already knew, like controlling it using the phone. There’s no app or interface. It’s a simple product that conveys a quality of life and security to people—a genuine product for seniors.

Frimeso: Are there other notable examples of participants who didn’t win but stayed on your mind for other reasons?

Leyhausen: A 66-year-old engineer used a 3D printer to make a plastic disc with an eyelet for his 90-year-old mother to clamp between the ceiling magnet and the smoke detector. His mother could then simply pull down the smoke detector with a broom in the event of a false alarm without having to climb onto a chair.

One submission was about a platform that provides pet chickens for hire. Those chickens are used in therapy for dementia patients as pet animals. Some providers transport the chickens for hire to care facilities. This platform would then allow owners to market their chickens.


Key aspects of the SENovation Award:


Participation of requirements:
Two types of company are awarded:

  • Young startups, (maximum three years old)
  • Pre-founders who haven’t founded yet but can present a compelling concept

The product has to be relevant for older people and be able to be established on the market.


Application deadline: June 30th.
Final: September 22nd.
Application via the SENovation Awards website

€5.000 per winner and intensive coaching for the companies
All participants benefit from the enormous exposure through participation
Members of the jury are the managing director of the German Seniors League and the CEO of the Signal Iduna Group, as well as a diverse  group of experts from a wide variety of disciplines. The pitches also take place in front of selected members of the silver economy.


© 2021 FRIMESO All rights reserved

Episode 5 – Dr. med. Stefan Woinoff, expert for love

Love is always great

About Dr. Woinoff:

Dr. Woinoff has been a practicing physician and psychotherapist for over 30 years and owns a practice in the heart of Munich. Woinoff offers one-on-one, couples, and group therapy. 

Woinoff ist auch Autor von zwei Büchern. Die Idee für sein Buch „Überlisten sie Ihr Beuteschema“   entstand, als er merkte, dass ihn immer mehr Frauen zwischen 35 und 40 Jahren aufsuchten, die beruflich alles richtig gemacht hatten, aber nicht den richtigen Partner fürs Leben fanden. Dies lässt darauf zurückzuführen, dass Frauen oft nach jemanden suchten, der ihnen auf beruflicher Ebene mindestens gleichgestellt sei. Die beruflich unabhängige Frau sollte aber eher nach ihrem Herzenskandidaten Ausschau halten.  Der Beziehungsratgeber „Er steht auf Dich!“ erklärt, wie man mit seinem Charaktertyp am besten einen Partner findet, und dass sich unterschiedliche Charakterzüge wunderbar ergänzen können. 

Finally, Woinoff is an advisor for the dating website 50plus-treff.de, where he supports the message that people over 50 are free to choose a partner and that it is possible to fall in love again, just like in the past -during youth and college times.

Relationships are changing

Frimeso: How have relationships changed during your long years of practice?

Woinoff: In the past, men used to have to meet traditional demands of being breadwinners. Women often took on the role of the housewife. This has changed. A career and education now are as important to them as it is for men. The demands on both sides have increased significantly. Now both sexes are responsible for everything.

“Singles are even lonelier in COVID times than they were before..”

Frimeso: The current COVID crisis affects many single people particularly hard. Do singles feel particularly lonely in these times?

Woinoff: Singles often feel even lonelier than they were feeling before. They are working from home and aren’t invited anywhere because of the restrictions, which poses a real problem. A patient told me that she simply misses touching her colleagues in the morning. No one has touched her for weeks. When your family then also lives far away, you can feel trapped in a difficult situation. 

Frimeso: Can young people feel “lonely” like old people do, or do they feel more” alone”?

Woinoff: Old and young people alike can experience the feeling of loneliness. “Being lonely” and “being alone” are not necessarily the same thing here. You can be alone and not feel lonely. You can feel lonely while standing in the middle of a vast crowd. Loneliness actually is the feeling of being excluded from everything. Brain morphological studies have shown that this feeling of loneliness sparks where the pain matrix is located in the limbic system. Loneliness hurts! It’s a life-threatening emotional state. This can be derived from evolutionary history. Back then, you could only survive as clans. Those who were excluded were doomed.

Dr. Stefan Woinoff: Er steht auf dich!

Great love All love is great!

Frimeso: Is there one true “great love”?

Woinoff: Counter question: Is there such a thing as a “small love”? No, all love is great! Love is a beautiful feeling. You emerge from the foggy haze of being compared and constantly pondering. Love is what we all rightfully strive for. Sometimes people are madly in love, but it does not work out in everyday life. That’s when they often say: “it’s still the man or woman I want to start a family with.” That’s okay, too. Tranquil love can still be big love.

Frimeso: What percentage of marriages or partnerships last “forever”? How many happy marriages are there?

Woinoff: The divorce rate has gone down significantly again. A third of all marriages end up in divorce. The average marriage lasts for 14 years. Many married couples either divorce early, for example, when they have their first child, and then again later, when the children are out of the house.

“COVID will result in more children and also more divorces.”

Frimeso: Nowadays, many couples work from home all day because of the COVID crisis. There aren’t many opportunities to get out of each other’s way in the evenings, either. Is the COVID crisis a relationship killer?

Woinoff:  That’s where the wheat is separated from the chaff. Some find it quite cozy and spend their evenings with their partner and children. Those who get along well during vacations generally get along well during the pandemic. Those who usually only get along when they don’t get in each other’s way are currently massively getting on each other’s nerves. That’s where people clash. COVID will result in more children and also more divorces.

Frimeso: Older couples who have been together for a long time often drift apart. What are the exact reasons for separation?

Woinoff: The reasons vary individually. Generally, people break up for two main reasons: They hope for something better, or they are simply unhappy in their relationship. Often, it’s the women who end the relationship. At 30, she’s looking for a man to start a family with and thus uses objective criteria in the selection process. Whether he is a soul mate or the ideal partner sexually is often not the decisive factor. Once the children are out of the house, she considers whether she really wants to stay with this partner for the rest of her life. There is dissatisfaction among both men and women. In my practice, however, I experience that men tend to come to terms with the respective situation. Men tend to keep up appearances in the spirit of a solid double standard and carry on.


Love and loneliness in old age

Frimeso: Are there people who purposefully choose to live alone and not enter into partnerships?

Woinoff: It does exist. Those people usually have other attachment figures, for example, their children. So it doesn’t always have to be a partner. There are, by the way, even some who don’t dare to date again because they already had the “full package” once and don’t want it again. But you can also have a relationship without living together, where you only do things that you like to do together and that you do well.

Sex and affection in old age: an unnecessary taboo that needs to be relinquished.

Frimeso: Sex during older years of age still seems to be taboo. Is sexuality important, or does its significance decrease with age?

Woinoff: The need for sex decreases a little over the years, of course. This is compensated, however, by an increased desire for affection and touch. Many old people aren’t touched anymore. This is also because, especially in advertising, sex and love are always associated with beautiful young people. Old people don’t dare to show that desire anymore because of this. But that’s wrong. There are enough old people who give each other just that. Affection and sex can take place up to the highest age. This taboo should definitely be relinquished.


Happiness despite grief

Frimeso: When a spouse dies, the other partner naturally grieves. How long does grief last, and what is the best way to deal with grief and loneliness?

Woinoff: There are many ways to deal with grief, but the most reliable way is a partnership. The duration of grief also varies. In any case, you should allow yourself at least one year to grieve. Some people grieve a little throughout their whole lives. However, they can still be happy and even enter into a new partnership. Usually, there are different stages of grief: After initial shock and stress, which is characterized by increased release of cortisone and adrenaline, you enter another nervous system, the so-called parasympathetic nervous system, where you calm down, but there’s also a feeling of gloom, even depression. It’s essential to embrace these phases and allow them to happen. At some point, it will get better, and reorientation will occur.

Frimeso: Is love different with age than it is in younger years?

Woinoff: Love changes. Nevertheless, love can be even crazier with age than among younger people who sometimes give into optimization frenzies. Once happiness hormones kick in, the balloons rise just as high. In old age, you accept yourself more as you are. The many things that bother you are often just the things that your partner likes. Often, we don’t even know what riches we have because we take them for granted. And for the other person, it’s something really great and new. That’s what I wanted to point out in my book   „Er steht auf Dich!“. You are right, just the way you are! Perfection and being human are mutually exclusive. Nobody is perfect!

Frimeso: How can you combat loneliness? Do you have any tips? Love online?

Woinoff: Nowadays, it’s possible to find love online, and it offers viable addition to getting to know someone in the wild. Of course, getting to know each other in everyday situations remains as relevant as ever. But online platforms like 50plus-treff.de are very reputable and user-friendly these days. Furthermore, older people feel that they are among themselves on such dating platforms and not like competing with young people. I can only encourage people to use these platforms.

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© 2021 FRIMESO All rights reserved

Episode 4 – Josef Rankl, the Social Media Consultant

Social Media Berater, Josef Rankl


The growing impact of social media on the longevity economy 

About Josef Rankl, the social media consultant :

The social media consultant mastering two particular languages: the one of the digital natives and the one of the “elder” generation.

Josef Rankl, works as business consultant for approximately 10 years now. Earlier in his career, he gained first-hand marketing experiences in various leadership positions, mainly within large publishing and mail-order companies as well as other larger corporations. During this time, he witnessed and also participated actively in the beginnings of social media, learning how to develop and implement social media strategies in its very early days and and in an autodidact manner. Mind you that these were the times when everything was new, and no external support was available. Today, he is working as a successful social media consultant with companies from all sorts of industries. He also shares his knowledge as speaker and social media industry-influencer on various platforms.

The social media consultant speaks two languages: the one of the digital natives and the one of the “elder” generation. His customers appreciate this since many c-level associates of companies do have little direct contact with social media but understand, nevertheless, that their companies will not get around a viable social media strategy in the long run.

What does it take to be a successful social media manager? According to Rankl, a successful social media manager has to be versatile like a swiss army knife. Besides marketing knowledge, there is also the need to employ skills from many different areas.

His projects usually start with a strategic outlook. A concise definition of the target audience is invaluable for a successful social media presence. This leads a company almost automatically to the right platform. The next steps is to identify and develop the topics a company would like to address and adapt it to the most suitable format for the particular platform. Rankl higlights how a successful social media presence affects almost all areas of a company, such as its workflows, culture, and organization. This requires a certain awareness and sensitivity around social media on all levels of the organization.   

Brief overview over the most significant platforms:

To get started, we ask Josef Rankl to describe the most significant platforms in just a few words:

Twitter? ‘ Relevance

‘LinkedIn / Xing?’ Traditional business marketing, social selling, social recruiting, employer branding 

‚Facebook?‘- Reach  

Instagram? ‘ Primarily emotive visual Imagery. Creative pool. Ideas. This platform has evolved. It now combines various functions all under one roof.

‚Pinterest? ‘ Imagery that pleases the audience. Main function: being a traffic machine for online-shops that target mainly women. 

‚Snapchat? ‘ You can cover most with Instagram. Snapchat is growing essentially in the US. 

‚Tiktok?‘ Micro Video Content (MVC). Very creative. Target group.: youth.

‚Clubhouse? ‘ – Focus: the spoken word. All those who love podcasts will love Clubhouse.


“I publish what creates added value for my followers.”

Frimeso: How do you decide whether or not to publish something? Have you established criteria for yourself?

Rankl: I post what creates added value for my customers and followers. My vow is: I provide relevant information on social media through my channels. The presentation may vary depending on the channel. 

Frimeso: Do you have a favorite platform?

Rankl: I like them all, but if I had to choose one, it would actually have to be Facebook. Facebook is still the biggest platform with the broadest outreach, a great set of features, and advertising opportunities. Thus, many companies use Facebook because there, they can advertise most effectively and get through to their target audience. Instagram is also fun. LinkedIn is getting more and more popular now. If you want to convey your offer through dancing on Tiktok, that’s great and exotic. But you don’t always know where you end up. You can get immersed in a hype, like with Clubhouse now. Snapchat made a comeback, and it’s not clear if it’s working out again. Google Plus is over. But Facebook is here to stay.   

Frimeso:  How do you rank your own blog or website in terms of social media marketing? 

The core of social media marketing is almost always the company’s own website. Activity on there spreads concentrically. In 95% of all cases, the strategic goal is to generate traffic for your own website or blog. That’s where the offers are that bring in the money.


“Older people’s pasts are analog: Nothing much can go wrong!”

Frimeso:  Exceptions prove the rule, but often, older people struggle with their own social media presence. Why is that? 

Rankl:  Surely, there were reservations at first. For example, 10 years ago, those horror stories of overrun private birthday parties came up after young people posted theirs. There are always stories about being addicted to social media. Documentaries, such as the recently released The Social Dilemma „on Netflix, vividly highlight the issues.

Of course, there also are disadvantages. That’s only normal, though. Because when you use a tool as powerful as social media, there will always be pros and cons. You have to feel it out. I always manage to comfort older people by saying, ‘Our past is analog, so nothing much can go wrong.’ Teenagers are at risk of posting a lot that doesn’t belong on social media. A 16-year-old doesn’t know yet that they will become a lawyer or mayor. They don’t realize that they will have a digital past that they might regret later. That doesn’t happen to us who are older.


“Most people know their way around social media without realizing it!”

Frimeso: What advice do you have for older potential newcomers? Do you have any tips for a successful approach?

Rankl: Even before we start working together, I sometimes propose to older entrepreneurs that it would be sensible to first have a look around the social media world from home and take in the vibe: ‘Talk to your kids. They can help you.’

You see, there are different levels of activity on social media: I can check it out first and see what’s actually being posted. Next, I can ‘start commenting and work my way up. Maybe after that, I’ll even dare to create a post.

There are only a few basic principles to keep in mind: ‘Don’t post what you wouldn’t put on your school’s or city hall’s bulletin board. Always comment factually, which is not always self-evident for many given the supposed anonymity’. 

It’s also advisable to start with one channel. When you begin to know your way around one channel, you can start browsing the others. The basic principles of sharing, posting, and commenting are the same everywhere. 

However, most people know their way around social media already without realizing it: Nowadays, more and more older people enjoy talking to their grandchildren via video chat. More than 60 million people use WhatsApp in Germany. That’s social media, too.

Frimeso: Is social media marketing harder for companies traditionally servicing an older clientele? For example, I’m thinking cruise companies, resort hotels or care products for elderly people, etc.

Rankl: Companies working with older target groups have a more challenging time than companies with very young target groups. Nevertheless, those companies can’t get past social media. Older people get more and more competent. More and more older people roam social networks. Consider Facebook: People under 30 are abandoning it. However, the outreach is still there because older people are swarming Facebook. There, the average age is relatively high already.

Let’s also take Instagram, attracting more than 20 million active users in Germany. Those aren’t all teenagers, by far. There are insanely successful accounts there, like Schokoladenjahre. Fashion for those over 50, Fitness for those over 40, etc. The content does exist and is well received. Especially for cruises, you can find a lot of relevant target groups on social media. Using emotions and images for topics like that works well.

These companies ought to start working on social media strategies now. There is no way around it, and it is only a matter of time before corporate competence for social media is fully developed among older people. 


Influencer Marketing: A good investment for many companies

Frimeso: Influencer Marketing is becoming increasingly important. What do you think of this development? 

Rankl: I work on both sides of influencer marketing: On one side, I advise influencers. On the other, I develop influencer marketing with my clients.  

Influencer marketing is an essential, effective, and very affordable marketing tool. I define influencer marketing as follows: An influencer is a trusted, well-known and popular personality with digital outreach.

A layperson will have images of young women on Instagram popping into their heads. But that is only a fraction of influencer marketing. For example, I myself am listed on Brands and Sensations as a micro-influencer in the marketing section on Twitter. Athletes with a digital presence are experts. If they start offering training tips, they are influencers. These are people who have exceptional experience, credibility and make people believe that they know what they’re doing. If these people have a media presence, they become relevant for social media marketing.

Influencer marketing is worthwhile for many companies. Fashionable women on Instagram create good content and get 100.000 or 200.00 followers. This makes posts for a fashion brand for 5.000€ to 10.000€ a bargain, considering that they would have to hire a fashion photographer and models otherwise. Such a fashion shoot usually takes one to two days and preferably will be carried out in Cape Town for the best possible weather. After all, advertisements still have to be placed in glossy magazines. If you add it all up and think about how easy it is for a good fashion influencer to reach customers via Instagram, you very quickly get a sense of how attractive that is. 

Social media presence for self-employment

Frimeso: There are more and more self-employed people. There are also many people who, in addition to their active career, want to assume a task or commit themselves to a very specific cause. Is it often difficult to distinguish between a professional and a personal account?

Rankl: There’s a Solomonic answer for that: For people like me, who are the product just as much as the consultant, it’s the name. If it’s not me who is the product, it can be the brand that better represents the product. 

Peeking into the crystal ball: the impact of social media will continue to grow

Frimeso: What role will social media play in the future?

Rankl: Social media will continue to play a major role in the future. Access to information, combined with the social aspect, is simply a powerful force. In fact, it will become even more critical. Last year, for the first time, people under 30 watched more moving images on the Internet than on conventional television. In the past, this kind of development was noticeable with print media. Today, there seems to be the same trend with tv. The radio is migrating to podcasts. Media use overall is moving into social media more and more. There is cinema advertising, ads in the weeklies, and billboards. But that’s diminishing. Promotional letters, and the Ikea catalog, in a way the bible of merchandise catalogs, has just been discontinued. All these are signs that it’s going in one direction. 


Contact details:

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© 2020 FRIMESO All author and neighboring rights are reserved


Episode 2 – Angelika Kindt, Germany‘s Working Silverlady

Below you find a summary of our discussion with Angelika Kindt.


Clearing out, letting go, and looking ahead has a lot to do with life quality


Angelika Kindt: A woman in motion

Frimeso:  How did you come up with the title “Working Silverlady”?

Kindt:  3 years ago, my hair turned white almost overnight. I thought to myself: “That’s how I am now!” A the time, a Zurich-based friend who was also using the word “working” in her title abandoned her professional name. I asked her what she would think if I named myself, “Working Silverlady.” She was excited, confirming that the name suits me perfectly.


Frimeso: How would you describe yourself, both personally and professionally?

Kindt: I am a woman in motion. I am 71 years old. Despite many blows, I love life. Every morning I am waking up full of joy. I try to make the most of each day and do something memorable and beautiful for myself. I also love sharing my happiness with other people.

I have been self-employed for 33 years. I turned into working Silverlady three years ago. I realized that I did not want to be so often for consultations or workshops on the road anymore. I am currently in the process of setting up an online coaching company. Consequently, I mainly do my coaching sessions online. I also offer online workshops and seminars.


Frimeso: Who are your prototypical customers?

Kindt: All sorts of customers contact me. I am pleased that even younger people do want to work with me. I consider myself as a sparing-partner for managers with whom I share my experience and knowledge.

I also consult private people. I am not longer differentiating between private and business. I have to stress, though, that I do not provide any psychological treatments in any form. I am not a psychologist, – hence there are better experts for this particular branch.


Frimeso: What are the main topics that you cover during your sessions?

Kindt: I learned one thing during my years of working with customers: Communication is at the center of it all. This is especially true for managers. Hence, developing communication strategies has become a real passion of mine. Still, and after all those years, I keep learning and getting new insights.


“For me, there is no black, white, striped, or plaid.”

Frimeso: What are the most critical stages in your life that shaped your work and helped you become what you are today?

Kindt: I lived in Africa 50 years ago. My first husband moved from Cameroon to Germany, where he successfully graduated in Braunschweig as a civil engineer. We then moved to Cameroon together. Living in Africa had a significant impact on me and broadened my horizon. Diversity has, therefore, been part of my life ever since. For me, there is no such thing as black, white, striped, or plaid.

Three years later, I moved back alone to Germany with my son. I started studying political science at the FU in Berlin in my late twenties. This was broadly considered an unusual choice at the time, especially for a woman. I kept hearing people saying: “You will not be able to provide for your son with a political science degree.” My studies turned out to be the right choice. Political Science shapes my way of thinking still today.

I then married again and had two children, one of whom unfortunately passed away. These are blows one has to apparently deal with in life.

I slipped into self-employment by chance. I was asked to do a seminar which I did. I then participated in a rhetoric seminar held by a Jesuit priest where I learned o speak freely. One thing led to another, and here we are.


Frimeso: You have achieved so much in your life. Why didn’t you consider going into your well-deserved retirement?

Kindt: Retirement would be far too dull for me. As an independent, I can decide that for myself anyway. I still get so much feedback, offers, requests, and proposals. I do not even have time to consider retirement.


Becoming Independent: Self-reflection, Self-motivation, and Self-management drive success

Frimeso:  You often work with people who are about to change their professional careers or retire soon. What challenges one has to deal with when finding him- or herself in such a situation?

Kindt: Life changes are quite common. You will have to become clear about yourself and ask yourself questions like, “What are my key skills and strengths? Do I have any particular talents? Are there any market gaps that I could help to fill with my skillset? How am I going to position myself?” The most important question is the one of Why? Why do I want to change my professional career? What goal am I having? What drives me?

It all starts with self-reflection.

For example, if you want to start your own business just because you think it would suit you, it probably will not end well. I am seeing again and again, how vital self-motivation is.

Last but not least, you will have to develop your capability of managing yourself


Frimeso: What are the typical driving forces for people who become independent or make a career change?

Kindt: It all depends. Some want to fulfill their dream of professional freedom, which I appreciate. However, one needs to consider that your desired degree of freedom will only materialize once you have settled in your new life.

In the beginning, you need stamina, and you have to keep going.

Another driving force for older people is their desire to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with younger people. The best motivation is always to do something that comes from the heart. If I can confirm to myself: “This is exactly my thing; this is what I genuinely love doing,” I am motivated enough to succeed and to find my niche.


Frimeso:  At what age are people on average when they realize that they face these kinds of crises?

Kindt: People often realize that something needs to change once the children have left their home. In Germany, this happens typically around the age of 50. Suddenly, there are only two people left who have to relearn to live with each other alone. Questions pop up like: “Is that all there is? Is there anything left for me to do?”

People regularly turn up to my sessions with a specific idea and then find out that actually, they are looking for something entirely different.

My goal is to strengthen people’s resilience and help them handle the pressure of these challenging times.


Frimeso:  In general, do your customers achieve their goals?

Kindt:  This will depend on how serious people take their personal responsibility. Developing a high degree of personal responsibility is core in our coaching sessions.

Viewing a projected journey through unknown territory with a new end is particularly hard for former employees who are not used to travel all by themselves.

On the one hand, some leaders are unconsciously discouraging their staff to take responsibility for themselves. On the other hand, people get used to their comfort zones and will have to relearn to take responsibility for themselves. They will be their own leaders now. To lead, you will have to learn to let go, which is incredibly difficult for many people.


Gratitude is key to inner satisfaction

Frimeso: You are emphasizing a lot the importance of inner contentment. I can also confirm that you reflect your own inner happiness during our interview. What does a person have to do to be happy?

Kindt: I can only answer this question for myself. I am happy if I do not focus on those things that I do not have and are still supposedly missing.

Every day I am glad when I wake up. I am grateful for what I already have and blessed with being allowed to live such a wonderful life.

If I am aware of my talents and skills, I can be grateful for those too.

Living in western societies, we are often tempted to show our achievements, status symbols, and accolades. I belong to the baby-boomer generation. During the postwar era, we did not have so much to brag about.

However, I see that people become more aware of these materialistic pressures and start to perceive things differently. People begin to ask themselves: “Do I absolutely need the third car and the second sofa? “Clearing out, letting go, and looking ahead has a lot to do with life quality.

Clearing out makes room for new things, especially when you prepare for retirement

Frimeso: Clearing out may also be an issue for people who are preparing for retirement. I imagine that people who have worked most of their lives still carry a lot of working-related weight once they retire?

Kindt: Clearing out is challenging for many people. Some are struggling to leave their professional past behind. Some continue to portray themselves as if they were still in their roles; they were holding over the past 20 years.

Clearing out entails me having to continually reinvent myself

My capability to clear out will greatly influence me “staying young while getting older.” It does not matter so much whether I am still fitting in my jeans. All that matters is what is happening in my head. Clearing out also means: “Do I still need my house? Can I move to a smaller apartment?” Children have left for good. Obviously, they will be around and come to visit, but they will not move back in.

Resetting your priorities is also crucial: Contentment always comes from within

Clearing out makes room for new things: Lat year, I was diagnosed with cancer. I have learned to not give it too much space without ignoring it entirely. This year, other things matter more, and I am focusing on them.


“Values have something to do with how I value my fellow human beings.”

Frimeso: You are stating that you follow a value-based approach. Why are values important?

Kindt: We all know values like “courtesy” and “mutual consideration.” But do we apply our values in real life? It has become trendy to emphasize the importance of values. But how do we translate these ideas into our everyday actions?


Frimeso: Why are values critical?

Kindt: Values are the glue for our social interactions. How do we work or talk with each other? Values uncover how societies perceive themselves. This concerns individuals but also working life within our companies.

We need to try everything to live up to our values. Values have something to do with how I value my fellow human beings.


Frimeso: Older people tend to have their core values set. Is it possible for an older person to still change?

Kindt: Yes, but it all depends on your readiness to reflect on your values. If your mind and heart is open, you will be able to review your current set of values. Am I callable of putting a question mark behind certain aspects of my belief system?


There are three different kinds of age

Frimeso:  Do you mind getting older?

Kindt: Age is just a number. There are three kinds of age: your actual age, your felt age, and the age others perceive you are at. Hence, age is relative.

There are old 25-year-olds who have already finalized their plans. All projects like house, children or you name it are completed already. Life does not work that way. There is a saying that “Humans make plans, God laughs. ” Tragedy sets in when I have made plans that never materialize because nothing has worked the way I was hoping for.

It is, therefore, key to stay open-minded without focusing too much on your age. If I keep saying to myself: “I am old,” then I am old. I should rather keep telling myself: I am 71 years old. This does not keep me from developing my own mindset.”


The Working Silverlady a true digital enthusiast

Frimeso: Your podcast made me aware of your work. You also run a website and are active in Social Media. One can assume that you are a digital enthusiast. Are you belonging to a minority within your age group?

Kindt:  I do believe that this is correct. I have also been working as an independent. Hence I am used to learning new stuff. I often hear older people saying that their grandchild is responsible for everything digital.

All these great opportunities are exciting. It is fascinating to see what is possible today. Ist wonderful that I can work with someone living in Switzerland on Zoom while being at home in Germany.


Frimeso: How do you reach older people in digital media?

Kindt: You will have to employ a specific hybrid approach between online and offline. I love to connect on social media. But I also give lectures, hold speeches, and meet people in person. You will definitely need several channels combining digital and real events.


Frimeso: How can I get into contact with you if I want to work with you?

Kindt: Please go to my homepage https://www.working-silverlady.de/

or send me a message info@angelika-kindt.de



© 2020 FRIMESO All author and neighboring rights are reserved



The Best Years What we cover

We strive for a better understanding of those people who are past their 40s and probably 50s. We will be talking to people who are players within the silver economy and who will be sharing fascinating stories of their personal and professional lives.

How did they manage to turn their experienced challenges into opportunities for personal growth and self-fulfilment? I will also report on discussions I had with acknowledged professional experts in the field of senior citizen policies.

We will bridge the gap between those people and organizations who want to reach the target group of middle-aged and older people and the target group itself.

The older half of our population is playing an active role in our society. Many are continuously pursuing new dreams, hitting the restart button, or serving our local communities by generously contributing with their unique talents.


The ever-growing importance of the target group of Best Agers

Older people (i.e., people from 45 years onwards) make half of the German-speaking population. Following Statista, at the end of 2019, 22,3% were between 40 and 59 years old; -23,74% were more senior. Note that just about 15% of the population are minors!

This segment’s ever-growing economic power has caused all industrial players to adapt their products, services, and offerings to this demographic change.

During our interviews, we found that older people become increasingly self-confident. They travel, live their lives, fall in love or enjoy with their significant others every aspect of their lives -as it should be but, and at the same time, in a way that was not possible one or two generations ago.


Bridging the supposed digital divide

Concerning media consumption, older people often still rely on traditional channels. Consequently, digitalization poses a significant challenge for a vast market that may feel overwhelmed by the digital conversion or perceive itself as not fully prepared.

We all could share family stories underlining the suspicion of an existing digital divide between our families’ different generations. I passionately believe that any form of the digital divide is not necessary and, by all means, surmountable. We should not wait for older people to obtain the same digital literacy level as most teenagers already have. Everyone can and should be part of the digital revolution.

For all the reasons mentioned above, digitalization will not uncouple the silver market from other economic areas. It is the other way round: The silver economy will shape the process and influence the design of new products and innovations. Naturally, it is easier for companies to engage with their younger customer base via their partnering influencers, their social media marketing tools, or just by offering interesting digital content.


Questions we will discuss in our podcast

So, how do we reach the older target group? What do experienced people expect from their products? What kind of content do older people consume? Who do they follow on social media? What prevents us from overcoming any form of the supposed digital divide?

Or, more broadly, how do we prepare and shape our aging process? How do older people and their families deal with the need for permanent care?

It is time to start with our Podcast / Blog series and find answers to these challenges!