German Brand and Design Congress 2019

14.11.2019 Stuttgart

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November 14, 2019
Duration: 1 Day
Stuttgart, Germany
Mercedes Benz Museum


Florian Ambrosius

Florian Ambrosius 
began his career as a TV presenter and event host for Super RTL. After a stint at Sat.1 he switched to RTL2, where he hosted a number of different programmes. Currently he also works as Creative Director 
at _wige Editorial. As a professional host he has presided over many events in recent years, including the RE/MAX European Convention. 
Other events he has hosted include the Danone Nations Cup, the Deutsche Vorlesepreis (German dramatic reading prize) and the Kinderwelten symposium, as well as Talent Meets Bertelsmann. He is currently the presenter for ‘Good Morning Germany’ at RTL.

Keynote Speech

Prof. h.c. Dr. Gorden Wagener
Chief Design Officer @ DAIMLER AG

Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener has been managing the globally active design department at Daimler AG since mid 2008. His work is focused primarily on the main brand, Mercedes-Benz. Under his leadership a new design philosophy based on sensual purity was developed in 2009, epitomising the definition of modern luxury. This philosophy embodies the two contrasting characteristics, ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ – as a perfect expression of an essential feature of the Mercedes-Benz brand: the opposing poles of emotion and intelligence. Based on the ‘sensual purity’ design philosophy, Mercedes-Benz and each of its sub-brands are designed to reflect their own unique brand aesthetic. As design boss, Wagener’s legacy includes the new EQC, the A-Class with the new MBUX and the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé, as well as Smart cars and commercial vehicles such as the Actros Facelift. Bio Gorden Wagener is Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG, where he is responsible for the design of Mercedes-Benz cars, Mercedes-Benz vans and Daimler trucks. After studying industrial design at the University of Essen (1990–1993), he specialised in transportation design, gaining a degree from the Royal College of Art in London. Before he joined the company, Daimler-Benz AG as it was called then, in 1997, he worked as an exterior designer for Volkswagen, Mazda and GM.

Christian Wehner
Global Digital Ambassador @ SAP

Christian Wehner is a Global Digital Ambassador for SAP. As a business development expert he is responsible for a wide range of activities relating to SAP customer experience (SAP C/4HANA). He is also a founding member of BAW, and a speaker and thought leader in the ‘Innovation & Creativity’ division. During his time at SAP he has helped to build up and position an international online marketing start-up which now boasts 600,000 active users, and has also been responsible for managing the national marketing program for Red Bull Media House. He has also worked in sales and content production for various radio stations.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
The transformation is not just digital, it is universal. It is changing our society, culture, technologies, and even the way we think. How can companies respond to this? How must they respond? How can they ensure that they remain relevant to their customers in the future? In his INNOVATION SESSION Christian Wehner exhorts participants to explore new ways of thinking. The aim is to enable a change of perspective – to discover new business models and to place the customer at the centre of all activities. You will discover how artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are already contributing to this, and learn how to create an innovation-friendly environment in your company.

Our Top-Speakers

Svea Barei
Head of Advertising / Marketing @ Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe - BVG

Svea Barei has been working for BVG as a marketing executive for many years and has been in charge of advertising since 2016. She is responsible for BVG's image campaign #weilwirdichlieben. Previously, she was responsible for strategy, market research and corporate design. The BVG's #weilwirdichlieben campaign is famous The BVG wins the hearts of its customers through communication at the same level with courage and "Berliner Schnauze" as well as irony and self-criticism. Based on average image values, BVG decided in 2015 to launch a campaign to change its image and to win over a younger audience to public transport with a surprising brand language. The special tonality of new mobility products will also be consistently continued, with success for the BVG brand.

Chris Harrold
SVP Marketing & Creative @ mohawk

Chris Harrold is Senior Vice President Marketing and Creative Director at Mohawk Fine Papers in Cohoes, New York. In his role he is responsible for brand management and strategic product development, and he also acts as creative director for the company’s product and marketing campaigns. He jointed Mohawk in 1990. Since then he has occupied various roles in sales and marketing, and has played a critical role in establishing Mohawk as a market leader in digital printing. Harrold writes for, where he speaks at length about the role of paper and printing in contemporary design. He holds a degree from the State University of New York in Oswego, as well as a Master of Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
It’s high time we changed how we think about print media. For a long time we have allowed this one tool, albeit a high-performing one, to define a whole design category. The terms ‘print design’ and ‘print designer’ have become entrenched in the design lexicon, without giving due consideration to the inherent power of this medium. The act of design has a far-reaching and multifaceted purpose; it triggers emotions, enriches culture and brings art and crafts to life. To define design in terms of one single tool undermines the physical character of printed objects – it clips the wings of this medium, limiting the scope of the designer as an ambassador. When we design something ‘for print’, we often curtail the design process: we design something for a tool, rather than using a tool to create a design. The possibilities for giving form to an object are summarised in a single conclusion, reducing ‘print’ to the mere depiction of a PDF document. We would do better to think about our print work in terms of object design. And in order to redefine this object design process, we need to consider a wider range of features than merely the print itself, even though the end result is a printed work. Just think, how will this printed work exist in the world: where and how will it be, how will it feel, what will it be made of – will it be heavy or light, delicate or rough, disposable or an object to treasure? And, above all, how will it resonate emotionally with the beholder? We all rely on two-dimensional screens in order to create three-dimensional objects. And the more we consider printing as a standard extension of our 2D screens, the less we make use of the inherently powerful quality of 3D objects. These features are important qualities that need to be discussed, researched and manipulated in order to generate new design possibilities.

Ralf Koch
Senior Brandmanager @ Deutscher Fussball Bund GmbH

Ralf Koch is Senior Brand Manager at DFB GmbH and responsible for the branding of all DFB brands, including the new DFB Academy, DIE MANNSCHAFT and the DFB Cup. Before joining the DFB in 2017, he studied sports and communications science at the Technical University in Munich until 2010 and then worked in sports communications at Sky and as a consultant in various agencies such as Serviceplan and Strichpunkt.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
Digitalisation challenges brands to fundamentally revise their entire appearance and their brand defining elements. The times in which book-thick corporate design regulations regulated logo protection zones and distances to the nearest millimeter have passed - because they do not provide sufficient answers to today's questions and challenges. Today, brands appear in a multitude of channels - increasingly digital - that can no longer be managed with a classic understanding of brand management. This also changes the tasks and functions of brand management. Formerly used as corporate design police and busy referring to corporate design rules, brand managers are now becoming supporters of brand staging by providing employees with helpful tools. Brand recognition nowadays is no longer achieved through forced uniformity and focusing on their logo, but rather through lively consistency that supports the respective function, especially in digital applications. Against this background, brands and their appearance must be adaptable and flexible.

Andrej Kupetz
CEO and Host of the Congress at German Design Council @ Rat für Formgebung

Andrej Kupetz (*1968) has been CEO of the German Design Council in Frankfurt/ Main since 1999. He studied industrial design, philosophy and product marketing in Berlin, London and Paris. In 1997, after various positions in design management and university liaison, Andrej Kupetz joined German Railways (Deutschen Bahn AG) where he was responsible for brand management in the DB Group and for the implementation of various corporate-design processes. Kupetz is member of the advisory board of the Design Management Institute Boston. Since 2011 Kupetz has been a member of the higher education council of the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main. That same year the European Commission appointed him to the European Design Leadership Board. Kupetz is married and has three sons.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
Overall there is a clear trend towards the professionalisation of brand work, across all industries and irrespective of company size. This goes hand in hand with a deeper understanding of the significance of brands, and insights into the need for ongoing brand management with a long-term perspective.

Holger Merk
Senior Head of Strategic Marketing @ Deutscher Fussball Bund GmbH

Holger Merk is Senior Head of Strategic Marketing at DFB GmbH and responsible for Brand Management and Product Management at DFB. Brand management includes all DFB brands such as DIE MANNSCHAFT or the DFB Cup as well as the 3rd League and, the digital home of German amateur football. The product management includes the development of existing and potential business areas in the segments media rights, sponsoring, merchandising & licenses as well as ticketing & hospitality. Before assuming this position at the end of 2017, he was responsible for the DFB's merchandising and licensing business. He previously held a similar position at the Hamburger Sport-Verein. Holger Merk completed his business administration studies at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences with a focus on communications management, during this period he worked as a student trainee for Porsche AG and Kabel Deutschland as well as various agencies.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
The marketing of sports rights by associations and clubs faces similar challenges as many other industries. The changing consumer behaviour of younger target groups as well as the competition for time and attention means a massive change in existing content and formats in order to be able to offer valuable services in the future as well. An example of this is the rise and importance of gaming and in particular eSports. In this context, the question is not whether an association or club should deal with the topic, but rather how the debate looks like or how sports/football can be integrated into an existing ecosystem, essentially influenced by the gaming community.

Dr. Renée Rahman
Senior Consultant and Team Leader @ GMK Markenberatung GmbH & Co. KG

Dr. Renée Rahman is Senior Consultant and Team Leader at GMK Markenberatung. Her work focuses on strategic and operational brand management: developing brand positioning, optimising brand architectures, implementing brands internally and externally and measuring success using key figures. Her previous clients include ALDI SÜD, TÜV Rheinland, Merck and Vaillant. Before joining GMK in 2014, she worked as a brand consultant for ESCH. The Brand Consultants. In addition to her consulting activities, she earned her doctorate with Prof. Dr. Tobias Langner at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on the subject of brand love. She obtained her diploma in business administration at the University of Cologne with a focus on Marketing & Brand Management.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
Especially in times of fundamental change, people and organizations are looking for orientation. Brands can offer this orientation and have the potential to become a decisive success factor in companies. Brands have proven to be an important instrument in internal change management processes. It creates identity, trust, and acts as a fixed star in confusing markets and times of transformation - provided it is used in a targeted and thoughtful manner.

Christof Ronge
Global Industrial Design Director @ ASSA ABLOY Sicherheitstechnik GmbH

With his unique product designs, Christoph Ronge has been helping to develop brand personalities for over 25 years. He started out in the 80s, designing and building surfboards. He then trained as a publishing manager, and as a state-qualified masseur. In 1989 he completed a degree in professional design at the renowned ArtCenter College of Design in Switzerland and the USA. After 16 years of running his own design studio, working for clients such as Burton Snowboards, Nike, Vaude and K2 Sports, in 2006 he went to work for Kiska Design in Salzburg where he managed major design projects for Gasteiner Mineralwasser, Carrera Rennbahnen, Atomic and Kraus Maffei. In 2010 he became Innovation and Design Manager at the German firm Kettler GmbH, where he was responsible for building up a design team and designing products for a wide range of business sectors. Since 2014 he has held a managerial role with the ASSA ABLOY group, where he is responsible for overseeing the visual harmonisation of the corporation’s global product portfolio.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
To stand still is to die. Change gives us new life. Most product portfolios grow organically and over the years they are subjected to a range of different influences, such as customer needs, changes in the market situation, new opinions and tastes, new employees, the incorporation of leveraged buyouts into the overall portfolio... and all of a sudden you’re faced with the reality: your company’s brand image has been watered down! It has become confused, without a a clear personality, and without any visual modularity to unify the products. All the strategic price points are occupied, and portfolio development plays out as a battle for price and function. Brand recognition and the ‘feel-good’ factor have been left behind, and the public is losing trust in your brand and its products. Your mission now is to bring about change which will rebuild trust in the brand, generating added value and desirability. The aim is to shift the focus back to your customers and your branding, without taking your eye off the competition – to create something that is unique and provides genuine added value, allowing you to step back a little from the price struggle.

Daniel Sorge
Head of Design @ FACTOR

Daniel Sorge is Head of Design and also a partner at FACTOR. He has been helping companies to develop their brand images and brand communication since 2002. In his role as Head of Design he is responsible for projects commissioned by clients such as Bread for the World, Hamburg Commercial Bank and the International School of Düsseldorf. Daniel belongs to the German Designers’ Club, and has been a winner of the iF Design Award as well as the German Prize for Corporate Design.

Christine Stark
Geschäftsführerin und Managing Partner @ ENDMARK GmbH

For 15 years Christine Stark has worked with national and international companies and brands to build their verbal identity, develop brand names and claims and create their own brand language. Her affinity for the impact of words was already evident during her studies of German, Romance and European Law in Mainz, Dijon and Cologne. She serves clients such as Arvato, Bayer, Bertelsmann, Brita, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, Intersnack, MAN, Mediengruppe RTL and Merck. Translated with

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
When you're creating a brand, it all starts with language – from formulating your positioning statement to describing your values, right through to choosing your name. In the context of developments such as AI, the role of language is changing: for example, will language experts come to play a more important role in brand decision-making than the actual brand personalities? Do words trump algorithms? To what extent can language influence the customers’ journey, and therefore their choice of brand? We firmly believe that brand language has the potential to have a decisive impact on branding development, including in the future. Because it creates an individual linguistic identity, expresses attitudes and provides added value; language is responsible for forming a brand’s own unique position, even before the brand and its products are subjected to decision-making processes based on a technological perspective

Joachim Stürken
Leitung Markenpflege @ fritz-kola

Joachim was born in Bremen in 1966 and is married with two children. As a huge fan of Italian cars, he was lucky enough to land his first job in advertising with Alfa Romeo. He went on to work as a consultant for agencies such as TBWA, Heimat and Scholz & Friends, initially advising clients from the automotive world (Nissan, Jaguar, Audi, Opel, Hyundai), and later from many other brands as well (Danone, Tchibo, BCG, Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone). Since June 2018 he has been brand maintenance manager at Fritz-kola.

Statement zum Thema Change Reloaded:
For us at Fritz-kola, change means taking our scene brand, with its origins in the neighbourhoods of Berlin and Hamburg, out into the big wide world – without losing touch with our roots and our values.

Mirko Wollrab
Head of Communications Press and Media Relations, Marketing and Economics @ Hamburg Commercial Bank AG

Claudius Nowak is Head of Marketing & Digital Media for Hamburg Commercial Bank AG, the first privatized Landesbank. The qualified journalist worked in Cologne as a film and television producer before he directed powerful world premieres such as the Maybach in New York and the Mercedes-SLS AMG in his role as Creative Director for Oliver Schrott Kommunikation in 2001 or presented the Road-to-Emissionfree-Mobility. In 2012, he moved from gasoline to banking, or more precisely to HSH Nordbank, where he was responsible for award-winning communications, including "Unternehmerpositionen Nord" and the HSH Banking App (German Design Award). The brand change from HSH Nordbank to Hamburg Commercial Bank carries his signature. Since 2016 Nowak has been a member of the "Best of Content Marketing" jury.