We use more and more digital technologies, but the number of conferences is also on the rise. For instance, there are estimated to be 300 “established international art fairs” every year, forcing gallery representatives and their clients to travel a lot more than in 2003, where there were only 50 events. This is not unique to the art world, either. Whether it be the computer sciences, marketing, and so on, we all want direct contact, to meet in person and learn what makes the other person tick and so forth. Trotzdem merke ich, dass Konferenzen vor Ort immer noch sehr populär sind. Es ist wohl so, dass wir alle den direkten Kontakt zu anderen Menschen suchen, um uns persönlich austauschen zu können.

On Saturday, September 14, 2019, I had the opportunity to visit the WordPress Camp in Zurich. This was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss, especially since the event took place in the Technopark in Zurich, not far from our office. I had never taken part in a WordCamp before, but I found out about this event thanks to Word-of-Mouth Marketing from the Chefblogger, so I was there on Saturday.

First, I educated myself on the special webpage for this event. Everything sounded very good. As a newcomer, I applied as a volunteer. Such events depend on volunteers to keep the costs as low as possible. I was deployed at the registration desk and was required to start at 07:40 that morning. For newcomers to a conference like WordCamp, volunteering is ideal.

For example, I was able to greet many participants personally at the reception desk. On my “free afternoon” (I only had to work until 13:00), I was approached by some people because they remembered my presence and help with check-in. At a WordCamp like the #WCZRH, you can expect to learn from experts, pass on your expertise and exchange ideas with others. This was explained on the website and is symbolised by the image below.

#WCZRH #WordPress #WordCamp: Was ein Teilnehmer von dem Event erwarten kann.
#WCZRH #WordPress #WordCamp: Was ein Teilnehmer von dem Event erwarten kann.

What did I learn?

This question can be answered in three sections:

  • You don’t know exactly what you’re going to learn: The title of a lecture says little about its content and even less about its quality… but that’s nothing new :-)
  • Technology and methodology: Technologically, there was not too much for me to learn. Nevertheless, some things I was not so current on anymore and the lecturers showed the audience many little tricks.
  • Social Networking: I had the chance to meet great people and see old friends again :-)

What was new?

Another exhibitor explained the differences that have to be taken into account when choosing a hoster. It was very interesting to learn what happens if you don’t pay attention to the details…

Another observation, which is perhaps typical for events of a more technical nature, is that exhibitors come here to meet existing customers and connect with new potential customers. By the same token, the customer comes because – despite all the digitalisation – they seek direct human contact with the exhibitor. On the other hand, many of these exhibiting geeks stared at their monitors instead of addressing the visitors. Some were never even at their booth.

The conference itself had 2 tracks.

Track 1

Here, presentations were streamed over the internet

Many of the presentations were 10 minutes and provided a short introduction.

Track 2

Here, research results were presented and discussed.

Animated discussions occurred in workshops or before and after the presentation.

Program Download (700 KB PDF file)-–-WordCamp-Zürich 2019

Conclusion: What’s your opinion

My summary: The atmosphere was very friendly. I couldn’t see the “Röstigraben” between the participants from German-speaking Switzerland or Germany, and French-speaking Switzerland or France. Nevertheless, there were some language barriers. It was hardly surprising that participants from Italy/Ticino, Germany/German-speaking Swiss cantons, and France/French-speaking Swiss cantons often spoke with other groups in English.

I also learned a few things. New technologies, innovations and very good ideas and suggestions were presented. As examples I can give the tips for how to speed up a WordPress page or why you can use one or the other plug-in for multilingual websites. My personal highlight was learning why the usability of a website is closely linked to user experience.

What experience have you had with WordCamps, Barcamps or traditional conferences?

Do you prefer virtual conferences in livestream or to be there in person? Why?

Am Scheideweg. Alte Marke neu positionieren oder neue Marke aufziehen? Was darf es sein?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were responsible for a brand change? Or where you were responsible for a rebranding project? Then you know very well how difficult this can be. By the way, you are not alone – others have a hard time with this kind of project as well. For instance, Weight Watchers was founded in 1963, and since then, their primary focus has been helping customers lose weight. Customers meet, their weight is checked and successes and failures are discussed in these self-help groups. Based on this history, management was of the opinion that changing the name from Weight Watchers to WW made a lot of sense. The “WW case” illustrates 2 things:

  • Hard-earned brand equity or brand value can be destroyed very quickly and unintentionally.
  • A word or abbreviation like WW can have another meaning. In this case, WW means World War to many.

Our case here illustrates how we tried to avoid these mistakes when rebranding drkpi®. Of course, we made a few others, as the text below explains.

1. WHAT DISTINGUISHES SUCCESSFUL BRANDS

The following 3 points explain what successful brands do better:

  • The brand has a classification and clear meaning in the relevant area of products.
  • Authentic and consistent brand promise.
  • Development capacity in the social area and relevant market.

According to Stefan Schmidheiny (Accent.swiss), the first challenge is when your brand becomes a generic term (e.g., Kleenex, Scotch Tape, and Xerox). It is both the best-, and the worst-case scenario for a brand. However, drkpi® is in no way in such a situation.

The second challenge we need to manage is the risk that our rebranding will be considered a flop by media, fans of the brand, and so forth, such as happened with Weight Watchers (see above). A second illustration of such a flop is Douglas, which sold perfumes, body care products, and so forth, and rebranded itself, using the hashtag #TheNewDouglas to spread the word on social media. Unfortunately, no one beyond the CEO and communications department really cared to use it.

The third challenge is ensuring that staff and associates understand the values and meaning of what the brand should represent. In turn, they feel empowered to support and help with the relaunch.

2. BRAND RELAUNCH NECESSITATES PROCESS MANAGEMENT

Ideally, the relaunch of your brand works systematically, as outlined in the 3 steps below, with each step being completed before starting the next one.

Corporate Image / Design:

  • what are our values?
  • how do we implement these things (logo, letter paper, brochures, etc.)?

Layout

  • logo
  • webpage
  • letterhead, etc.

Implementation

  • webpage
  • letter template
  • brochures, etc.

But in practice things rarely, if ever, go according to plan. Experience teaches us that digitisation of certain processes gives us the rare opportunity to analyse them. If need be steps can be eliminated, changed or even improved. This permits us to become more efficient as well as doing the right things, i.e. be effective.

Only thereafter will we begin to address questions related to such things as which hardware serves us best, whether we should use a cloud service, and so forth. The same goes for questions regarding brand value, strength, and strategy. Of course, answers to these questions also influence the range of products on offer. For example:

  • Priority 1. What do we really want to achieve thanks to a new brand name, image, etc.? Increase our customers’ trust in our brand / products, boost sales, and / or simply save costs?
  • Depending on the answers to Priority 1, what is the aim and purpose of this exercise? What is the purpose of a possible repositioning or renaming of the brand, such as drkpi® (or Weight Watchers changing to WW)?
  • Marketing and sales. To what extent does the design and our product range match the desired brand image?

Is a brand name like drkpi® worth keeping or is a renaming with relaunch more effective? It takes hard work to gain brand equity. However, a new logo or CD may not do the trick.

First Ideas:

  • CyTRAP Labs GmbH, that is drkpi® – the brand – performs qualitative and quantitative analyses.
  • We help firms optimise their corporate communications, digital and content marketing, as well as compliance, privacy, and data security.
  • In addition, drkpi® offers training, courses, and audits.

More concrete vision of these ideas:

  • We help companies optimise their work in the areas of corporate communication, digital, content and impact marketing, as well as compliance, privacy, and data security.
  • drkpi® analyses the extent to which a definable and measurable effect has been achieved.
  • In addition, drkpi® offers training, courses, and audits.

3. REPOSITIONING OF PRODUCTS

The table above shows, of course, everything is still a bit sketchy and possibly unclear. We had quite a bit of work left. As well, another round of discussions were needed to improve the team’s understanding. In short, we ended with 4 product groups to offer. These are listed in the table below.

StrategyAcademyComplianceAnalytics
1. AnalysisPriorisationNeeds assessmentAs-is AnalysisBest-Practice
2. Consulting FocusingPlan of actionActions to be takenDevelopment
3. ImplementationOptimisationTrainingRealisationSMART-Metrics
4. ControlMetricsAchievement of objectivesData securityBenchmarks

4. FIRST STEPS: BRAND EQUITY AND POSSIBLE REBRANDING

As shown in the table above, these considerations about the brand and its values led to further changes. For starters, the strategic direction was changed, product offerings streamlined and pricing policy clarified. Up to this point, little if anything had been discussed about branding or reputation. Just to be clear, it was a challenge for us.

Themes

  • Brand awareness
  • Strategy and growth
  • Organisation, governance, and processes
  • Usability / user-friendliness of the webpage
  • Usefulness of the webpage

Questions

  • Do (prospective) customers know the brand?
  • Which countries and markets with which product?
  • How can we streamline processes?
  • How easy is it to navigate and find the information one needs?
  • Does the information offer added value for our target audiences?

5. INTERIM BALANCE SHEET

This blog entry shows how many different aspects influence the answer to the question of a brand’s possible repositioning. In the beginning it was discussed whether we should throw out the DrKPI brand (at that time still written that way, today as drkpi®) altogether, or make further use of it. We decided to keep this brand for several reasons:

  • The name has a positive connotation.
  • Every firm wants to find and use actionable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • We own the .com domain, i.e. drkpi.com.
  • Thanks to the short name, the domain name is easier for most users to remember (i.e. only 5 letters).

But how we want to position our products today has changed a lot over the last 5 years. Only after the questions asked in the above had been answered reasonably well, did we approach the more classic questions of graphics, CD design, and communications, etc. For the customer, the packaging of the brand is less important than the content, for example:

  • innovative and competitive products,
  • quality for a fair price, and
  • excellent customer service.

If the company masters these 3 things successfully, the packaging is just the icing on the cake.

6. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION

What we would like to hear about is what your experiences are:

  • How did you solve the challenges discussed above?
  • Have you ever had to change a logo or the corporate image and / or the website of the company?
  • Did all go according to plan with your rebranding exercise? What went great and what was not that great?
  • To what extent has such work in the are of branded triggered changes in internal processes and changed product offerings for your company?

We look forward reading your comment below. Thanks for sharing.