As a Temporary Brand Manager, Nicolas Kubanek has accompanied many brands in their development and, above all, in their implementation. Especially the integration of employees is often a central challenge when it comes to creating holistic brand experiences. We talked to him about why brand work is a matter for the boss and learned from him what brand managers and conductors have in common…
Nicolas Kubanek, thank you for being with us today! We’ll start as usual: what was your favorite brand in your childhood and which one is it today? And why?
In my childhood it was Reusch, because I played soccer in goal and at that time all known goalkeepers were equipped with it. And I always wanted to be like the Andi Köpkes of this world. Today my favorite brand is … phew, difficult question if you work with brands a lot. As a geographer I choose a destination brand. The South Tyrol brand not only evokes very emotional childhood memories and an immediate desire to travel. It creates images in my head and triggers a feeling of deceleration, pleasure and closeness to nature. Furthermore, the brand is very well managed.
In your experience, what works internally to attract employees as brand ambassadors?
What is decisive for me is identification with the company. Only if someone can identify with what the company stands for, i.e. what values it stands for, will the employee be on fire for it beyond his job. Beyond that, brand work is a matter for the boss! That is a very central factor for me. If the board members, managing directors and executives are the first brand ambassadors, if they lead the way in this area and exemplify the brand values on a daily basis, the employees will follow – and thus become brand ambassadors.
And what do you think are the 3 most effective measures to make this work in the long run?
Give the employees personal responsibility instead of a task. Give them the necessary confidence to be able to shape and create. Create a common goal that is to be achieved together.
In which corporate divisions do you think it is particularly challenging to win employees over for the brand and why?
From my experience, it is often the areas that have no contact to the outside (e.g. accounting) as well as those areas whose success is strongly linked to individual goals (as is often the case in sales). This is still frequently found in management circles. Employees are then often faced with the dilemma of having to decide internally between common brand goals and their own target agreements. And financial targets are usually linked to this. That’s why I think it’s important to always link a financial bonus to the achievement of common goals.
What challenges do you see in branding today as opposed to 10 or 20 years ago?
The speed with which empty promises or messages that are not based on true performance are uncovered and spread. All the more important is the detailed work to create a consistent brand experience across all brand touchpoints.
How would you convince someone of the importance of the topic “brand” with just one argument?
If you want cheap, then make the best price. But if you want to sell value, you need unique services and features. And to make sure that these are perceived everywhere, you need a strong brand.
What do other corporate divisions expect from a brand manager / brand management team?
I am convinced that strong brands can only grow with a clear focus, with the human and professional interaction of all corporate divisions and with a lot of persistence in everyday life. And a brand manager has to orchestrate exactly that. They have to master the subject and be able to empower their colleagues to live the brand in everyday life. Ultimately, they must be the conductor who, like in an orchestra, has all the brand contact points in view and creates a unique, consistent experience through this interaction.