Lessons learned from 15 years of successful brand development
Mathias Illgen and Andreas Weber
February 15, 2023
Fifteen years of Stan Hema. A time defined by numerous brand projects for SMEs, culture and the media, highs and lows, and a whole host of insights. How has Stan Hema developed into one of the most successful CI/CD agencies in Germany? And what role does an attitude of always wanting the best and radically striving for top performance play in this? As we celebrate our anniversary, Managing Directors Mathias Illgen and Andreas Weber take the time to share their thoughts on running successful brands.
Six lessons from 15 years of brand development – part 1
1. Design remains king.
Design is our strongest tool. Why? Because it is much more than having beautiful form or emotional content. Design is, above all, a way of thinking and working. This makes it an integral part of every value chain. And because design is always tangible, it encourages necessary transformations and, when done at its best, promotes a change in our thinking, habits and actions.
2. A Sharing Culture trumps ego trips.
The future belongs to knowledge culture. This makes it all the more important to share knowledge and experience with others, to inspire each other and to make our skills visible. And this shouldn’t be limited within the agency, but also practised between disciplines, within the industry and with our clients. When ideas are networked, a new way of learning emerges and knowledge transfer becomes a learning culture. This is what we intend to do during our podium and soon in master classes, where we will pass on our expertise.
3. Move away from navel-gazing.
Focusing on yourself and your goals is fine. But those who only keep to themselves have no future. Collaborations are becoming increasingly important. This is where innovations emerge that, without many people cooperating, would not be possible. We, along with our clients, need to learn to be open to this and practise collaborative ways of working.
4. Living protopia.
Thanks to what we do, we help companies achieve their goals. Yet instead of planning ahead and following predefined processes for everything, we prefer agile teamwork with our clients, working in iterations and trying things out. We don’t aim for a static ‘perfect’ image of the world that’s actually impossible to live up to. Instead, we are constantly striving for the optimal solution. Today, we are much more adventurous and open to results. And above all, we also speak up when we don’t know something.
5. Show ‘em who you are.
Attitude is one of the biggest drivers for brands today. Purpose, values and meaning are becoming increasingly important – also for the corporate culture. Showing what you stand for is therefore becoming more and more essential. This has to come from the right place. After all, every type of social washing – whether green, pink or blue – is exposed if the attitude behind it is not real.
6. New Premium now!
In 12 years, Gen Z will reach its full purchasing power. Anyone who categorises these people as simply another classic target group is wrong. Their views, attitudes and values will fundamentally set new standards. Less status and bling-bling, more responsibility and meaning. We call it the New Premium. And we’re preparing for it right now.
Brand consulting, Managing director