The German Brand Award, initiated by the German Design Council, honours successful brand management in Germany. It discovers, presents and awards unique brands and brand makers. This year, the jury awarded four honorary prizes, and we present the winners of these prizes. We spoke to the “Brand Manager of the Year” Boris Dolkhani about brand management at Bosch and the #LikeABosch campaign.
Mr Dolkhani, you are navigating one of the best-known international tech technology brands through a period of numerous changes changes in the world. What prompted the current campaign #LikeABosch, which you successfully manage and and driving it forward?
First of all, it’s important for me to emphasise that I have the great honour of leading and further developing this fascinating brand together with a wonderful team. The Bosch brand is 136 years old and our founder Robert Bosch once said, “The brand is not an adornment, it is the main thing, not an accessory.” This is both an incentive and an obligation for us. When I came on board in mid-2017, there was a clear focus from the board of management to raise the profile of Bosch as a modern IoT company. IoT company – both externally and internally. And that was the reason for developing the campaign. Our briefing equation was: Bosch = IOT = cool.
What goals is the company pursuing with the #LikeABosch campaign and what role does the brand play in this?
Bosch has established itself as a leading provider in the Internet of Things. We want to make this development visible through communication – both in terms of content but above all in a unique tone of voice that is both striking and inspiring. With this approach we achieve several goals at the same time: to win over our employees for the topic of the IoT, attract potential applicants, such as software developers, and last but not least, to show our customers that our IoT products and solutions can make their lives easier and more comfortable. In the spirit of “Our products work LikeABosch so you can live LikeABosch.” The brand sets the framework, it creates orientation, trust and a sense of belonging. Bosch stands for quality and technology in such diverse fields as power tools, household appliances, electromobility and thermotechnology.
How is it possible to combine all these topics in one brand?
The link is clear: no matter which technology, which industry or which region – Bosch aims to offer its customers “technology for life”. And this is the unifying element found in the brand core.
You are working to establish Bosch as a “technology brand for life”. What core objectives do you associate with this emotional image?
“Technology for life” has been the core of our brand for many years. It sums up our goal of bringing products and solutions to the market that people, improve their quality of life and help to conserve natural resources. Topics such as IoT, AI and connectivity are invisible value drivers in many of your products.
„The brand sets the framework, it creates orientation, trust and a sense of belonging.“
— Boris Dolkhani
Do you have to go even more beyond the the emotion of the experience in order not to alienate people from the product?
Yes, creating emotional experiences is important to communicate the benefits of technology to people. That’s why we always focus on customer benefits. There is simply a good feeling when you unpack a product, put it into operation and then it works smoothly. Be it efficiently washing the laundry, controlling the heating via an app or driving from A to B economically, safely and easily. If we do this with the help of artificial intelligence and networked products, this can in turn arouse positive emotions – across borders.
How do you differentiate Bosch products within their respective product category? And as the person responsible for the brand, what do you have to bear in mind when communicating?
It is important for us to ensure brand conformity in the communication of the most diverse Bosch products while at the same time remaining customer-centred. To this end, as the central Bosch brand manager, we provide guidelines for design and communication. To do so, we developed an online brand portal in 2019 that enables all associates and service providers to design in a simple, fast and intuitive way that is compliant with the brand. The business units are responsible for the product level and implement measures according to their target groups. This is how we achieve our goals even with a manageable team.
Have you made your brand more flexible to meet the demands of the digital world?
In the last one and a half years, we have worked on the relaunch of our brand identity, among other things, on the basis of the so-called “Atomic Design”. The goal was to keep the brand modern, to give our marketing managers in the business units more freedom and to simplify the implementations for them. In addition, we have defined all digital touchpoints on our online brand portal and offer the associated assets as HTML or even sketch files directly for download. In this way, we ensure speed and efficiency in the implementation while maintaining the corporate design.
Keyword digital channels: How much do customers influence the brand today?
In times of Social Media 3.0, our customers are increasingly influencing our brand. Here we move in the area of tension between polarisation and awareness on the one hand and caution and restraint on the other.
What was your biggest learning in the process and what advice would you give to others?
For many years I have worked according to the motto: “Think with a cool head, act with a hot heart, lukewarm is boredom.” And so, with a small, highly motivated team, we managed to create a very successful campaign, roll it out across many Bosch divisions, rejuvenate the brand and make it more attractive to new potential employees. It was courageous at the beginning and is hard work in the end. So my advice is clear: more courage!
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