In today’s interview, we are talking to Mike Freche, Global Brand Manager at MBCC Group, about the rebranding process at MBCC Group. We get insights on the difficulty of uniting a multitude of brands under one roof and how Brandification can help lead this process to success from the customer’s point of view.
Mike Freche, thank you for joining us today! To start off, why don’t you give our readers a little information about yourself and what you do?
I am a global brand manager at MBCC Group. I have also worked in brand functions for more than 20 years and have always been involved in business positioning in my professional career. And at some point it was called brand. At some point the term brand became more chic. But when I think about it, that has always been my theme: shaping brands and then turning them into businesses. That has become a bit of a passion of mine over the past decades.
What is the importance of the brand for the MBCC Group?
We are in transition at the moment. We have a global business with six brands and these brands have several sub-brands. On top of that there are the product lines and products of these brands, i.e. for us as MBCC Group, the brands are our gateway to the customer – that is what the customer perceives. That is where we are in touch with the customer, where we do our business. The customer buys their product from PCI, from Thermotek or from Colorbiotics in America. Or globally from Master Builders Solutions. That is much less the MBCC Group – especially because we are still so young.
You just mentioned the large number of brands. What specific challenges do you currently face in the area of brands?
You have to know that we have only existed as the MBCC Group since October. We are, so to speak, the “old” Construction Chemicals business of BASF and were separated from BASF through the sale on October 1st. So you can imagine that we are in the middle of a rebranding phase. We have done a bit of preliminary work in brand management – together with the communication department, among others. But it’s not going to start until it starts. We are about 80 different corporations with six different brands. That’s quite a bit of work. That’s the biggest challenge we have to face right now, and we have to do it in a relatively short time – there are also defined grace periods that have to be adhered to. Sometimes I have to say that it’s going very well and I also have to thank my colleagues who work in the departments of marketing and communication, in the various corporations around the world, and who are simply working with their heart and soul and a lot of know-how to ensure that we get this implemented, that the new designs, the new values, the new links are implemented. It’s hard, but it’s a lot of fun right now.
What does your goal look like for this mammoth task? Where do you want to go and how do you use Brandification specifically with regard to your objective?
First of all, the goal is the rebranding at the moment. At the same time, of course, we look at the brands and see where we need to sharpen things up, where we still need to adjust something in this new MBCC Group. For example, we repositioned two brands at the same time, either because they were not properly positioned or because they always fell behind or because we might have to rethink them in the new construct. This is then done in parallel to the rebranding. Brandification helps us a lot to keep these links. In order to know what is being done at the touchpoints, where it needs to be sharpened up, where the new ideas are and whether they are being received by the customer at all. Of course, this is much easier with Brandification than with Excel spreadsheets or e-mails. We’re doing an incredible amount of virtual work at the moment. The tool helps enormously.
You have been using Brandification for about two months now. What is your first interim conclusion about its use?
This is a cool tool. I already thought it was a cool tool when it was introduced and I thought it could be of great benefit to us. We also did some training and got all the brand owners and brand managers in the countries involved to participate. But now, after two months, we can see that it’s getting off to a slower start than I would have liked. But that’s an internal issue, because the colleagues have a lot on their plate at the moment because of all the new things. We will certainly do a brand check in the autumn, which the tool can also do – we’re going to audit how it works, so to speak. The fact that the process is starting more slowly than I expected is simply due to the tasks that the others have to deal with at the moment. But the tool and your training is very much appreciated by everyone out there. They all welcome the fact that we have something like this.
After getting a bit of insight into the tool: Who would you recommend Brandification to?
Anyone out there who is serious about brands, including brand management, and above all wants to understand their brand management at various contact points – even after six months or three quarters of a year. Anyone who thinks about how these touchpoints can perhaps be linked to a customer journey. How can I also check what I am doing? How can I quickly adjust, quickly look in, quickly get in touch with the person who is working on the touchpoint out there? The digital momentum that you have set up makes it incredibly fast. If you want quick results or time for your brand management, you can’t get around a digital tool like Brandification.
How would you describe Brandification in just one sentence?
I would describe Brandification as a combination of expertise, passion and the joy to support. That sums it up well. When I met you guys at the beginning, it struck me: You stand behind this thing, you stand behind your tool. You have enormous know-how, you have fun with the brand and you have created something with the tool that I have never seen before. And that is a very interesting story.
I think it is very important to understand that brand is about desire – the desire to do. In my brand world, I always experience that when you do positioning, when you look into the values and depth of a brand, it’s always about either necessity or desire. In other words, the need to do something because it’s not working. Or the desire to change something. I have just spent the last four months positioning one of our brands with a team, completely virtually, and they really wanted to do it. And that made the process very easy. They said this was the right time, we have to do this now. Despite this virtual issue, we did it in four months and that’s a great story. And I can only say to everybody out there, everybody who approaches brands and really means it: There are always only two ways. Either you have to do it because it’s necessary, but then do it with all your heart and soul. It will be much easier if you want to do it.