Week.ly | Taking on Europe 

Week 44, October 2018

Welcome to our week in review. These small glimpses of our life at X.Y.0.1 are meant to give you an idea of who we are, what we believe in, and how we work. Not always too serious, but often quite straight to the point. Sometimes, these weeklys may turn into a project. Or a startup. Or an article on the web. Eitherway, hope you enjoy this short read:

 

European Branding, Brand Tech and the Surprising City of Nuremberg

Last week we went to Germany. Almost all of us actually. Why? Because we are going to further increase our international presence and have been lucky enough to find a strategic partner that is keen to explore and integrate our ways of doing things with theirs …and creating a pan-European brand & tech powerhouse while we’re at it.

By now it is not a secret anymore – X.Y.0.1 is going to enter a strategic partnership with Brand Trust, one of Europe’s most acclaimed brand & strategy consultancies. So we were in Nuremberg for a few days, it being one of Germany’s most famous cities, as well as the headquarters of said Brand Trust.

And let´s talk about Nuremberg – being a very cool “little» city of 500.000 in the south of Germany, Nuremberg sports grand old architecture, a great history, and a little company called «Faber Castell”.

#funfact:  This city is home to the creator of the pencil, in fact are the ones that brought color in everybody’s (drawing) life. In the early 1500s Kasper Faber started the company that became the global empire of Faber Castell. Check your closets and kids school items – you surely have something of this company in your house. The other company possibly making your pencils is called Staedtler. Also actually from Nuremberg. They just arrived 100 years later. Even a third globally leading innovator within the world of pencils comes from Nuremberg: Stabilo. They are more a post-war success, but are solely responsible for pencils not breaking all the time.

Finally, another inventor and trendsetter of his time, Peter Henlein is considered the maker of the very first pocket watch, and with that, the man is considered responsible for most of us wearing timepieces on our wrists today.

So, with this in mind, it is not a surprise, that Nuremberg has just been recognized as the leading German city for successful technology startups. Check out this tech incubator for example.

So, tell you what – we´ll be back! 🙂

So, is brand management different in Europe? Well yes. And no. We see that Scandinavian leaders still do not really differentiate too much between brand management, branding, marketing, communications and brand building. We notice this quite a bit as we are a strategic brand & technology management consultancy. Probably the only one of its kind. Which means we are not a production or creative communications agency at all. However we still find ourselves competing with the likes of advertising and PR agencies in RFPs and pitches sometimes. But also that – luckily – happens less and less.

At the same time, brand management, at the highest level is very much the same. Both we and the guys from Brand Trust use the same mechanisms and strategic development tools to develop companies and organizations from the inside out.

 

We learned that Brand Trust has successfully managed to take brand management into the McKinsey levels of consultancy, leveraging the power of brand in board rooms, CEOs and CFOs. They are constantly rated as one of the top five consultancies in the German speaking market – regardless of focus or business areas.  And seeing we truly believe that McKinsey would be doing what we do now – if they were a startup –  we find this a very interesting strategic fit.

We spent a lot of time on discussing the role of technology in brand management. It is quite simple. Technology is the most powerful tool for any business to gain market share, simplify processes, business models or people. But tech has a problem: Since it is everywhere and so readily available it often lacks individualism, clarity and focus. Tech can solve any problem, any challenge, at any given point in the value chain. However, without a sound brand-guided strategy, tech will just be an additional layer clouding your core idea and service to your customers. Imagine a chat bot that does not represent the brand in either tone of voice or competence. Why is it OK for a bank to have a chatbot that is slightly rude and fails to understand the customer? It is not.

«Together with Brand Trust, we agree that our focus of bringing tech and brand to the same table at the  earliest possible point in any project is the future. And it for sure the future of X.Y.0.1.»

While we were abroad the rest of our team has been working on delivering strategies and concept development for Bergans, Kongsberg Group, visitlocal.ly and an insurance startup. Now, with a new strategic partnership on the horizon, we dive deep into planning our own kickoff next week – which we´ll talk about then. If we can talk about it 🙂 .

This ends this week’s quick review. Hope you enjoyed it. We will be back with more thoughts, news and ideas on everyday brand experiences. And the occasional #funfact. Hopefully.