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Mag. Martin Engelmann
Vorsitzender der Geschäftsführung
dm drogerie markt GmbH

The hidden champions show that they can hold their own against the big guys by practising consistent brand management.

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

As a retailer, our brand and company are inseparably connected. The brand is shaped by how we behave – with consumers, partners, society, and among one another. For this reason, our corporate philosophy, corporate culture, and brand guiding principle are principal points of orientation for our everyday activities. These key characteristics of the corporate brand must be tangible at all touchpoints and therefore also be reflected in our own brand products.

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

The visions for the brand are the benchmark against which creativity must be measured for the development of the brand, and in this sense they are helpful.

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

In my opinion, the biggest misapprehension seems to be the idea that it is possible to separate corporate and brand management. Responsible consumers and their interest groups are nowadays very interested in how offers originate and develop, and so the congruence and conformity of company and brand guiding principles and their actual implementation is decisive for the credibility of brands.

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

It is recommendable to always view your own behaviour against the behaviour desired from others. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Kant’s great maxims, but something along the lines of “whatever you don’t want anybody to do to you...” would also help. Then ideally all players would need to be integrated self-critically as brand contacts – in my understanding that would be all members of an organisation, and not just the executives.

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

In my view, there are a large number of companies that accomplish outstanding management of their brand(s) and you can learn interesting aspects in certain areas from each one of them. I admire the hidden champions who can hold their own against the big guys in closely contested markets by practising consistent brand management. There are more of them than you might think, given the dominance of big brands.