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Dr. Hasso Kaempfe
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Hero AG

Good brand management enables them to prevent opportunist individual decisions and compel target-oriented, long-term thinking.

1. How significant is the brand for your company management?

The brands are the key distinguishing feature from the competition and provide orientation for employees and security for consumers with regard to tradition, quality standard and presence. Their importance in the company is documented by the position of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at executive level and the Group-wide networking of all branding and marketing officers. There is limited freedom for local diversity if brands are used in several countries or product categories.

2. How does the brand specifically help you to manage your company and make decisions?

The brands determine the approach of the company and the manner of thinking adopted by its managers. Good brand management enables them to prevent opportunist individual decisions and und compel target-oriented, long-term thinking. They also clearly illustrate the company value.

3. In your opinion, what are the misapprehensions of brand management that need to be avoided?

Brands are artistic entities which have been created by people and which are not tied to the defined, static brand essence. A brand can lose its topicality if it clings to traditional internal ideas. It is not the brand owners who define what a brand expresses, but rather the users. If users are very heterogeneous, there are only subjectively perceived brand essences that can differ from one another overall. If this is not recognised, then communication can completely miss your customers.

4. What advice would you give to other companies with regard to brand management?

90% of brand management consists of eschewal, which needs you to be able to say no. There are too many ideas which might not do any harm, but they aren’t useful either and they endanger the clarity of the brand presence. Focus and radical consistency in brand management are becoming increasingly indispensable because brand owners are now only stakeholders in the brand communication. Whereas claims used to be conveyed unilaterally, nowadays there is a greater volume of communication about a brand. Those who do not endeavour to steer this process flexibly and transparently will lose their brand sovereignty.

5. What company do you admire for its brand management?

That depends on the perspective….