Rüdiger Kasch Managing Director Alnatura Produktions- und Handels GmbH
Maintaining stringency in brand management is an important recommendation. This stringency also provides orientation for employees.
What importance does brand have for managing your company?
At Alnatura, we manage the company through the brand. We regard our brand soul as a living organism that permeates our entire company.
The Alnatura brand carries the vision “Meaningful for people and the earth” in its soul. We base everything we do on this vision, whether we are cooperating with new retail partners or building a new warehouse.
Take our warehouse, for example: we built it with trees from the region, the Odenwald. We replanted every tree we used. When we built the Alnatura office building a few years ago, we also focused on sustainable construction: The building is practically like a passive house, some recycled building materials were used and it has clay walls. The Alnatura Campus was built on a former concrete-sealed American military site, which was returned to nature by Alnatura. We have created leased land for organic gardens and built a Waldorf kindergarten. In this way, our vision “Meaningful for people and the earth” runs through everything we do.
How does the brand specifically help you to manage your company and make decisions?
The brand, or more precisely the brand soul, runs like a red thread through our company. With every decision, we ask ourselves: Are we doing the best possible justice to our brand?
In order to be able to make decisions that are appropriate for Alnatura, every new employee is trained in our brand soul.
At the moment, we are planning a logistics expansion. We are thinking about how we can realise a sustainable solution. Finding a good solution is also a big challenge for us. Alnatura often decides against things that would be economically advantageous but not ecologically or for sustainability reasons justifiable for us.
In your opinion, what are the mistakes in brand management that need to be avoided?
The first mistake for me is: a branded article, the product, is not yet the brand. I think this is often confused.
Another mistake is to believe that brand management is the task of the marketing department or an external advertising agency. That cannot work. Brand does not become better through advertising, but through credibility and consistency. Brand management, in my opinion, has to be done from within. It is the task of the management to clearly live the brand soul in the company.
What branding advice would you give to other companies?
An interesting question. My advice to other companies when it comes to brand management is not to leave your own playing field, but to stay where you have positioned the brand. One often experiences such manoeuvres when a brand gets into trouble. Then companies try to break out of the brand core.
With regard to Alnatura, for example, it would be a mistake to compete with cheap organic suppliers. We would not be able to meet our own quality standards or our social standards.
Adhering to stringency in brand management is an important recommendation. This stringency also provides orientation for employees.
Which company do you admire for its brand management?
Even though I am not a watch fan, the Rolex brand is an admirable example for me. Rolex has a clear product with a clear positioning, communication and target group. The sponsoring commitments, such as in sailing, equestrian sports, tennis, golf or cultural events, at which the brand appears, also fit the brand. The watches have also hardly changed visually for decades. The recognisability has been maintained. This is exciting brand management.
By the way, Alnatura has also been stringent for 30 years: we want to make the best organic quality possible at reasonable prices.
Rüdiger Kasch is Managing Director of Alnatura Produktions- und Handels GmbH. Alnatura has been developing organic products since 1984 and operates 140 of its own organic supermarkets in Germany. Rüdiger Kasch is responsible for sales, purchasing and expansion at Alnatura.
The interview was conducted on 24.01.2022.
(c) Picture: Alnatura Photographer Annika List