"It doesn't always have to be a revolution, but evolution is imperative for everyone. What such an evolution looks like, without diluting the core, is what it is all about today". With this statement, W&V Managing Director Christian Meitinger welcomed the participants at this year's MAKE in Munich at the end of November.
For the third time this year, the Süddeutscher Verlag skyscraper opened its doors to managing directors, marketing and advertising managers from medium-sized businesses. The motto of this year's event: "Be courageous". The day was accompanied by ZDF presenter Katrin Müller-Hohenstein.
But how does one manage not to lose sight of the knowledge generated from tradition, during the progression of digitalisation? And how does a brand succeed in combining its origins, the tried and tested, in a modern and authentic way in order to show off its own strengths? For one day, participants and speakers spoke about experiences in modernisation and digital transformation, discussed innovative ideas, brand positioning and the balancing act between winning new customers and maintaining existing ones. Speakers presented their experiences and cross-industry learnings from recent years.
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The beginning was made by Kerstin Erbe, managing director of the dm drugstore. She gave the audience a fascinating insight into the world of addressing customers. With the mixture of constantly growing assortment through new products and the stock of well-tried articles, she showed how important it is to maintain the balance between innovation and stock. But how much change does the market really need? Erbe derived her answer from a differentiated consideration of individual customer needs: the balancing act between new customer acquisition and existing customer care must be maintained by combining tradition and innovation.
Andreas Reimer, CEO of Hengstenberg GmbH & Co. KG, also gave exciting presentations on how to strengthen your brand positioning with a composition of digital transformation and traditional values. KG, and Martin Esslinger, Sales Director of Ortlieb Sportartikel GmbH. With their holistic "Made in Germany" approach, both companies stand for sustainability, fairness and transparency. "Made in Germany" is the brand promise for high quality and environmentally friendly production. With their regional production as a brand-effective quality label, both Hengstenberg and Ortlieb rely on a direct approach to end consumers and product innovation that is ethically and ecologically justifiable. Hengstenberg and Ortlieb are successfully positioning their company values as USPs, because even the higher end consumer price has no negative influence on the willingness to buy, according to the figures presented by the companies.
Martin Wider, Managing Director of 7SQUARED, used the Oberberg Clinic Group as an example to show the challenges and opportunities digital transformation brings for medium-sized companies. Google searching for symptoms and advice, and the desire for interaction and exchange of experience with like-minded people, highlights how the patient journey has become highly digitalised. The first step of a patient journey nowadays is no longer seeing the doctor in person, but digitally at home. For this reason, social media and online forums are playing an increasingly important role. In the case study, Martin Wider showed how Oberberg consistently engaged with necessity of digitalisation and implemented it strategically, creatively, technologically and organisationally, at all relevant touchpoints of the brand by building its own digital platform.
In addition to cross-industry learnings on how to sharpen your brand and how to effectively present the strengths of your origins as a USP, the participants had the opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded people during a 30-minute business speed dating session. After lunch break, listeners and speakers had exciting conversations, got to know each other and made valuable contacts.
The event was rounded off with a small wine tasting of three selected regional wines, provided by Followfood. A wonderful opportunity for all participants to exchange impressions and inspirations in a relaxed atmosphere and to network.