In our interview this week, we spoke to Moritz von Wysiecki, Marketing Director at va-Q-tec, about credibility and about the present-day and future of brands. We learned from him what black images on Instagram have to do with authenticity and why beer will not save rainforests in 2020…
Moritz von Wysiecki, thank you for being here today! When you think back to your childhood – did you have a favorite brand? And what is it today?
During my early childhood, brands did not play a major role for me. The brands with which I started out were Playmobil and Lego – I would see Playmobil first and foremost. For me, however, that was more of a toy epitome, that was not yet linked to the brand itself. If there was Playmobil, then there was something great to play with.
Today, I find vaude an exciting outdoor brand that, in my opinion, has managed to achieve a very good stretch between authenticity in all areas – whether it be employees, market, or production – and at the same time being a successful, desirable brand and in some ways a role model for numerous brands.
You can win different target groups as ambassadors for your own brand. What do you think works to turn customers into brand ambassadors?
In my opinion, this is primarily about authenticity – authentic communication is very important to me. Addressing target groups is particularly important – the messages must be sent to the “right” people. However, the best form of communication is useless without a convincing product or service behind it. So, everything has to fit together – then you have a good chance of building a new brand or further developing an existing brand.
Let’s take a look into the future – what developments and challenges do you see in about 5-10 years in the field of branding?
I think that the issue of credibility will play a particularly important role. We’ve already talked about authentic communication – but credibility is also very, very important to me when choosing communication channels. If you look at the situation today – how many brands have posted black images on Instagram in the past weeks, how many have included a reference to Pride Month in their logo, how many brands have announced that they are withdrawing from social media platforms with advertising budgets due to the current situation, etc. But I think all of this has to fit the brand and consumers and customers have to buy it. I believe that through today’s channels there is a certain transparency as to whether or not a brand’s actions are really authentic, and you can get to the bottom of a brand relatively quickly. The example of “Krombacher – boozing for the rainforest” would no longer be possible today. I also believe that a brand should not jump on such short-term trends or political issues, but should always consider: Does this suit me, and does it make me credible?
Let’s stick to the area of social media and online platforms: What role does digitalization currently play in the brand sector? How do you see this developing in the future?
Digitalization definitely plays an important role – this is of course always dependent on the brand and its target group. Then, naturally, the type of communication channel must also be selected. As a brand, you definitely cannot exist without digital channels, but then must of course evaluate how much should be digital and how much should be in a live or analogue environment. However, the areas are also highly interlocked – the omnichannel or 360-degree approach will become even more important. With the possibilities that digital channels offer, there are also some ups and downs, of course. Google has provided brands with many tools, which are now being restricted again somewhat due to data protection – there will always be ups and downs as to how efficiently one can measure how well a brand can use these channels, but digitalization has arrived and no brand can escape it.
How would you convince someone of the importance of a brand with just one argument?
A brand remains permanent – promotions and trendy products are more short-lived. If you take care of a brand properly, a number of things can happen, and a lot can happen to a company. However, the brand remains permanent and acts as an anchor, including for the customer.
How crucial do you consider the topic “purpose” in terms of brand management?
For product brands, the topic of “purpose” tends to be of subliminal importance. It varies a bit, of course, depending on the generation and the perspective. I see the importance of purpose especially for companies when it comes to a corporate vision. For a company, it’s important that meaningfulness plays a significant role and is included. Why should I work for a company, contribute my time, sacrifice myself and put my foot down? With the brand, I see it more in connection with the topic of authenticity. If I position myself as “green”, then this should radiate into all areas. At the brand level, I see purpose more at the level of corporate brands – in the case of consumer brands or in the B2B sector, the topic should be brought in authentically, but is not necessarily decisive for the purchase.