How to transform the brand of a leading economic institute with multiple subsidiaries?
Turning towards the future
The brand identity and visual profile of the German Economic Institute (IW) – one of Germany’s leading economic research institutes – had not been adapted to changing market needs over the past four decades. It was perceived somewhat old-fashioned, overemphasizing the institute’s local roots in Cologne despite the grown international footprint, and not consistently endorsing the subsidiaries that were established over the years (IW Medien, IW Consult, IW Junior, IW Akademie). Even more important, these subsidiaries struggled in fully utilizing the premium drivers of the master brand for their own positioning. They lacked a future-proof brand strategy to combine the strengths of the master brand with their own entrepreneurial freedom.
Creating a joint understanding
The analysis of internal insights and management interviews from across the entire institute clearly showed that, in order to successfully transform the brand, common ground had to be created first. Globeone therefore guided a process in which the management from both the parent institute and the subsidiaries could agree on their positioning priorities. Resultantly, Globeone derived a joint target state and transformation pathway with clear recommendations for adjustments to the brand architecture and identity. The goal: to better promote the institute’s international footprint while, at the same time, ensuring a consistent and beneficial endorsement of the subsidiaries. This also included major adjustments in the brand design to create relevance and ensure an optimized appearance at the manifold brand touchpoints.
Improved brand acceptance
The changes were fully brought to life roughly one and a half years after the journey was kicked off. Since, both internal feedback and external recognition of this transformation clearly indicate an improved acceptance of the transformed master brand among customers, the institute’s subsidiaries and other relevant stakeholder groups.