As a manufacturer of iconic bathroom solutions made of superior steel enamel KALDEWEI is one of Germany’s most successful brands. The premium manufacturer showcases its brand distinctively, positioning KALDEWEI as a global luxury brand and clearly setting the company apart within the industry. The brand image is consistently adapted for individual channels and different target groups. The focus, now and in the future, is on mobile and digital communication. KALDEWEI uses a variety of diverse options available to set new benchmarks for targeted brand management. Speaking in an interview Arndt Papenfuss, Director Marketing with KALDEWEI, explains what makes KALDEWEI stand out, how the company ensures that the brand strategy also works at international level and where the greatest challenges lie with regard to digitalisation.
1. What makes the KALDEWEI brand so strong and unique?
Arndt Papenfuss: As a provider of iconic bathroom solutions KALDEWEI is clearly positioned today in the premium segment. By consistently introducing product innovations and true design icons, a portfolio has been created that contains over 600 shower surfaces, bathtubs and washbasins offering perfectly coordinated solutions for project business and private builders. The brand is founded on a material that the company developed: KALDEWEI steel enamel. This exceptional combination of robust steel and resistant enamel with superior properties guarantees the company’s unique position.
The KALDEWEI brand is not solely defined by its superior material and timelessly beautiful products. Consistent and systematic brand management has also been an integral part of the corporate strategy for many years. The company’s unique presence is endorsed by a brand campaign that specifically sets it apart from the competition by visually placing the company on a higher level. For our brand image, we are working effectively with the unmistakable brand codes used by premium brands. We rely on the three principles of purism, consistent branding and distinctive communications. This means KALDEWEI today offers a high-end brand experience which is reflected across touchpoints and all media platforms – from print and online, advertising, and PR, as well as trade fairs. This means that the KALDEWEI brand stands on strong brand pillars: it is clearly positioned and differentiated and has developed into a high-profile premium brand.
2. In what way do you ensure that your brand strategy also works at international level?
Papenfuss: The KALDEWEI brand can only achieve its full strength if it has a uniform image at all points of contact. This is why a consistent brand experience across all channels – for architects, at the pick-up point for wholesalers through to the website – is immensely important, both nationally and globally. The brand codes have deliberately been defined in a way that they can be understood internationally and can develop their power to shape preferences at global level. We use comprehensive CI guidelines to ensure that the brand image with its defining brand codes is presented in a consistent way worldwide. A company can only be clearly perceived if it has a consistent, coherent image in the first place. That is the prerequisite for building an internationally successful brand.
That is why the KALDEWEI brand has a single image across all channels, all regions of the world and for all target groups. In this way, our new luxury promise is made internationally accessible whether you encounter the KALDEWEI brand in New York, Shanghai or Dubai – you will instantly recognise us.
3. KALDEWEI has been collaborating for decades with illustrious designers. What role does that play in the company’s success?
Papenfuss: Collaboration with illustrious designers such as Arik Levy, Sottsass Associati, Anke Salomon or Werner Aisslinger is crucial to KALDEWEI’s success. Over the decades of collaboration with these designers we have repeatedly lived up to our promise to create unique objects for the bathroom that are characterised by beautiful shapes, high functionality and timeless style. The numerous successful product ranges, now available in the market and over 150 international awards, confirm that the company took the right course in the 1970s. Many KALDEWEI bathroom solutions are ground-breaking and have become truly iconic: timeless design classics that outlast ephemeral fashions and trends and give our clients a true sense of value. KALDEWEI chooses to work with external designers who present us with technological challenges during the development process and help us to question the limits of the possible and constantly push the boundaries. External designers are powerful catalysts for real innovation.
4. Where do you see the biggest challenge with regard to the digitalisation of the industry? What is KALDEWEI’s agenda here?
Papenfuss: Digitalisation is definitely one of our brand strategy’s most important lines of development. In this area, KALDEWEI is consistently tapping into the potential of mobile and digital communication. For KALDEWEI, this opens up additional channels and opportunities for responding interactively to the wishes of individual target groups: for end consumers that means more inspiration and orientation during the purchasing process; for bathroom planners and architects, support during the planning process is central while, for installers, expanding our range of services and information is key. KALDEWEI will be present on various communication channels so that it can respond to the customer’s wish to retrieve content quickly and easily at any time.
5. How important are the employees in KALDEWEI’s brand-building process?
Papenfuss: The company’s long-term vision is expressed in clear corporate values and, ultimately, in our KALDEWEI brand. It is a question of breaking down this content and its meaning for the individual employees. For instance, ahead of ISH – the industry’s leading trade fair – the company’s mission statement, its expanded brand positioning and the new brand image were conveyed to all employees in Germany and abroad at in-depth training sessions, talks and information briefings and adequate space was provided to answer their queries as well. This ensures that employees identify closely with the brand so that they can convincingly represent both it and the company to the outside world with a high level of commitment.
Source: Franz KALDEWEI GmbH & Co. KG. Copy requested.