Following successful sessions in Zurich and London, around 60 participants gathered in Darmstadt on 23 April for the EACD Coaching Day on How to future proof your brand, organised by VIM in cooperation with Merck. The session took place at the recently opened Merck Innovation Centre, was highly interactive and well received by the audience.
After a warm welcome from Merck’s Head of Group Communications, Constantin Birnstiel, the session was opened by John Bache, Managing Director of VIM Germany, asking everyone in the audience to name a keyword for the session. Courage was among the most stated words which summarised well what was then discussed during the afternoon: The radical rebranding of Merck from an undistinctive (but always successful) company to a vibrant science and technology company. Prior to the case study on Merck, Marc Cloosterman, CEO of VIM, gave a presentation on his book How to future proof your brand, a collection of data-driven insights, linking brand as the most valuable intangible asset to business performance in times of disruption.
Axel Löber, Head of Branding & Strategic Projects, presented the reasons and strategy behind the radical rebranding of Merck. Axel outlined that strategy was key to succesful brand implementation. The session continued with Hans Meier-Kortwig, CEO of GMK Markenberatung, who shared the outcomes of the most recent German Brand Monitor, a survey on trends and success factors of brand management. The results showed that half of the respondents didn’t see a significant influence of the brand strategy on other business units such as sales, HR or customer service. While Hans outlined the importance of a holistic approach within the organisation the results of the survey also showed a lack of internal branding measurements. He concluded that for succesful brand management empowering employees through dedicated programmes, hence internal branding was crucial.
How the internal rebranding was implemented at Merck was finally presented by Katrin Menne, Head of Brand Management. She demonstrated how Merck has successfully transformed its 50 000 employees into brand ambassadors. “Change culture and behaviour not (just) colors and technology.” The case of Merck’s story proves that branding success relies on a strategy which resonates with all external and internal stakeholders, from blue-collar workers right through to the c-suite.