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Employee Spotlight – Johanna Stredak: “My job is to navigate a labyrinth of information, where every turn reveals new insights and possibilities.”

In the Employee Spotlight series, we meet with Convosphere’s team members to learn about them and their job roles. In this interview, we talk to Johanna Stredak, our German Insights Analyst, who is currently travelling around Southeast Asia.

Where are you from and where are you currently based?

“I’m originally from a small village in southern Germany, near Nuremberg, where I grew up. For my studies, I moved to the Netherlands and lived there for four years, and then spent most of last year in Spain. Currently, I’m travelling through Southeast Asia – I just started in Vietnam after spending some time back home in Germany with family. My base changes quite frequently these days as I’m embracing the digital nomad lifestyle.“

When did you join Convosphere? Please tell us about your career journey to date.

“After finishing my Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2021, I joined Convosphere in February 2022 as an intern. This was part of my Master’s program in Social, Health and Organisational Psychology. I’m pleased to say I’ve been a member of the Convosphere team since completing that master’s degree. While my professional career is still in its relatively early stages, joining Convosphere marked an exciting step after completing my studies. I look forward to continuing to grow and develop my career here.”

What are your key responsibilities in your current role?

“My key responsibilities revolve around the German market, where I leverage my native knowledge and deep familiarity with the local culture and social media landscape. A huge part of my role revolves around data analysis – digging into the numbers to generate insights specifically for Germany. These insights are key for helping clients truly understand market trends, consumer behaviours and how they stack up against competitors in that region. It’s my job to make sense of all that data!”

Johanna catching the sunset in Paris.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your role as an Insights Analyst?

“The most challenging aspect of my role is navigating through a vast landscape of data, each piece holding potential insights for our clients. It’s like navigating a labyrinth of information, where every turn reveals new insights and possibilities. Yet, amidst this abundance, the real challenge lies in determining which insights will be the most enlightening and beneficial for our clients. It’s a journey that requires both analytical precision and keen intuition to uncover the most meaningful revelations.”

In your experience, how do social media or forum use differ between Germany and, for example, the UK and the US?

“Based on my observations, Germans place a high value on privacy. Having an anonymous account, which is common in cultures like Japan, is often not enough. Germans tend to engage in more detailed discussions on forums that require user accounts or within private Facebook groups. This makes accessing relevant data, particularly for pharmaceutical projects and specific disease patterns, more challenging as it often involves extensive manual effort since social listening tools cannot pick up those conversations.

In general, although there is a substantial amount of content available in English, it’s noticeable that Germans prefer communicating in their native German language when posting online. When it comes to online discussions, they seem to favour platforms and groups that allow for a higher degree of privacy and control over their personal information.”

Johanna on the Liberty Bridge in Budapest, Hungary.
Can you highlight a few current trends in social media or technology that are shaping our industry today?

“TikTok is undeniably a force to reckon with in the social media landscape, and its influence is still growing strong. Even politicians are jumping on the bandwagon, recognising its potential to connect with younger audiences. The prevalence of short videos and reels on platforms like TikTok underscores the importance of analysing these formats to understand current trends and audience preferences. Social media moves at lightning speed, with new trends and fads emerging and disappearing in the blink of an eye. In this dynamic environment, leveraging AI tools helps us keep pace and extract meaningful insights efficiently, but our analysis is always human-led.”

For brands looking to enter the market in Germany, what are some essential cultural nuances they need to understand?

“In Germany, authenticity is essential; anything perceived as fake or disconnected won’t resonate with consumers. To succeed, brands must prioritise genuine experiences and products, aligning closely with German values of honesty and authenticity.”

What project or initiative at Convosphere are you most proud of and why?

“I’m most proud of being part of our team community-building initiative. Fostering non-project-related interactions among colleagues is essential for enhancing team spirit and promoting collaboration, especially given our dispersed work locations. A particular highlight for me is our #FridayInspo emails, where each team member shares something intriguing they’ve encountered, offering us all the opportunity to learn from one another.“

What is the most enjoyable aspect of working here?

“The most enjoyable aspect of working at Convosphere is definitely the incredible people I get to work alongside. Everyone is genuinely helpful and always there to lend a hand when needed. Plus, I absolutely love the flexibility to work from anywhere – it’s such a freeing perk. With supportive colleagues and that remote work freedom, what’s not to enjoy?”

Describe a typical day for you. What are you currently working on?

“It’s really hard to describe a typical day because every day looks quite different – it really depends on the project and my working schedule (I work 24 hours per week). Usually, though, I start by checking my emails when I log in and then pick up wherever I left off the previous day. On Mondays, I have a meeting with Hannah (Account Director) and Yukari (Project Manager) to plan the week ahead and see if anyone needs help or has extra capacity. Right now, we’re wrapping up a project for a pharmaceutical client. Next week, I’ll get back to working on the monthly competitor report for one of our long-standing clients. With such a varied workload, my days can vary quite a bit, but that variety is part of what makes the role so engaging.”

What are some of the significant challenges you face in your role? How do you address and overcome these challenges?

“As mentioned before, one of the biggest challenges I face is the risk of getting lost in the data and losing track of time while searching for the best insight or most interesting piece of information. Deciding what’s truly relevant versus what’s just noise can be tricky. Whenever I notice I’m getting stuck down a rabbit hole, I make a point to step away and take a break. Then, I revisit the client’s core objectives to remind myself of the actual focus areas. That realignment usually helps get me back on track and re-centred on delivering the most valuable insights.”

Could you share a favourite saying or proverb from your language, and explain what it means?

“My favourite saying is Basst scho, it is a great example of the complexity of language and cultural nuances. In Franconian regions, where I’m from, Basst scho is often used as an expression of contentment or approval, especially in relation to food or interpersonal relationships and is often described as the Franconian’s ultimate compliment, while in other regions it has a more neutral or even negative touch and can convey indifferent approval, subtle disapproval, or resigned acceptance, akin to saying ‘it’s alright’ or ‘close enough’. It illustrates how a phrase can take on different meanings depending on context and cultural background.”

Johanna at the Louvre in Paris.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time to unwind?

“I really enjoy inline skating and going for walks to clear my head, especially when the sun’s out. Catching sunsets is another favourite of mine. I’m also a big foodie and love cooking, I cook a lot of veggie dishes and enjoy trying new recipes (although I usually just use them as inspiration). It makes me happy when people enjoy my food, especially if they usually wouldn´t go for a vegetarian dish. It’s all about the right seasoning!”

What is the biggest achievement of your life outside of your professional career?

“This might seem like an odd one, but one of my biggest personal achievements is maintaining a 1500+ day streak on Duolingo. I initially started using the app to learn languages during the Covid lockdowns, and the streak just kept going from there (though admittedly, that wasn’t the original plan – it just happened organically). I’ve mainly used Duolingo to study Dutch and Spanish, and now I’ve begun picking up the basics of Vietnamese as well. It’s become an enjoyable daily habit that has helped me continuously expand my language skills over the years.”