Strong brands offer a point of orientation in times of uncertainty, for both customers as well as the brand’s employees, and the crisis has demonstrated this too. Trust is created through clear positioning with a guiding idea that provides differentiation. Such positioning can only be achieved with holistic branding that is just as strong internally as it is externally. The most critical challenges this poses for branding decision makers are presented in the largest German-language study of decision makers, the »German Brand Monitor 2019/2020«.

By Hans Meier-Kortwig.

In dynamic times, the questions that are asked are more fundamental in nature. Brands, and the brand management underlying them, must have an answer at the ready. In order for such answers to be strong and convincing, they must provide differentiation – and consistently be the same, at all points of contact. This is becoming more complex for businesses because brands are increasingly evolving into »ecosystem brands« that have to offer services and added-value content alongside products. As a result, holistic branding throughout the entire customer journey is turning into a genuine challenge.

What aspects are significant for branding decision makers when it comes to holistic branding? What trends are relevant? What potential do decision makers see digital transformation as having for branding – and what potential are they utilising? Three hundred branding decision makers were asked these questions and surveyed on other branding issues, with the results presented in the »German Brand Monitor 2019/2020«, the fourth release of this study of decision makers.

The sore points in branding

The study results reveal the weak points in the branding of German companies. A key problem is that companies do not think of branding holistically and consistently through all areas. Roughly 60% of respondents indicated that the brand does not have a large influence on customer service and 52% stated that the brand does not have a large influence on product development. The potential in these core touchpoints and areas of business therefore goes unused. There are also further study results showing the room for improvement when it comes to brand management. Only 11% of businesses possess their own brand management department, although 64% of respondents that did not yet have a brand management department agree that they should deploy more human resources for brand management.

Holistic brand management can only be successful if it is just as strong internally as it is externally. The »German Brand Monitor« shows what challenges there are for brand managers in this respect too. Only 40% of brand managers indicated that internal brand management enjoys high status at their company. Only about 45% of respondents believed that their company’s staff have a consistent idea of what their brand stands for.

Digital transformation is a driver of holistic brand management

The »German Brand Monitor« delivers additional, important findings for decision makers, for example on subjects such as digital transformation, employer branding, brand and design; and organising brand management. The recommendations for action included in the study make it an instrument that assists brand managers with their branding work.

Given ongoing digital transformation, it will become increasingly important to generate true superiority based on a clearly defined brand idea that guides actions, and to make it an experience at all critical points of contact – from the offering, that is, the products and services, including digital solutions; through to the design and messages as well as the behaviour of employees. Doing this will definitively transform brand management into an interdepartmental task shared by all.


Learn more about the German Brand Monitor (Content in German language).


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