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The True Colours of the Brand

Thomas Schmitt, Director of Marketing & Communications at satis&fy, doesn’t much like talking about himself, not even for a ­column called Movers & Shakers. Here’s a man who just won’t ­conform to the cliché of the self-important public relations windbag. Thomas would much rather talk about the satis&fy brand and what actually constitutes a brand’s identity. Asked what it takes to do a brand justice, he says, “Roots, status quo and prospects,” explaining that you have to have all three in mind. In other words, where are we coming from, where are we now and where are we headed? The job of answering these questions was something more of a sideline at satis&fy until 2013. “At some point, of course, that’s no longer going to work,” says Thomas. Marketing and Communication was re­or­ga­nized three years ago, and Thomas happened to be a good fit. Previously an agency man, he had gotten to know the company well as a service provider. That insight was a big help in rising to the new challenges of building a sustainable brand image, achieving c­orporate goals, and providing strategic support for the company’s efforts to expand and grow its business abroad, all the while tackling the many public relations tasks that all this entails. There are cushier jobs to be had. 

“Our advantage is that we have a compelling story to tell,” says Thomas, “something that sets us apart.” The one-stop solution, that end-to-end package from a single source, is satis&fy’s great strength, and it’s marcom’s job to get the message across. That sounds easy, but B2B is not like consumer marketing where you can run a banner or a TV ad. “That’s true,” concedes Thomas, but he’s quick to add that there’s an advantage on the flip side of that coin. “Our industry is fairly small. There are few players in our category, so clients come across us almost automatically.” That’s not to say that merely being on their radar translates to sure-fire business success. “Our target groups are not all the same. While event agencies generally know who we are and what we offer, we have to sometimes present ourselves to companies’ event planning departments and explain how we can be a unique part of their value chain.” 

The website is an important medium to this end. This is where ­prospects go to gain a first impression of the company, so it has to furnish key facts and get that satis&fy vibe across. Many other ­channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tie in with the website. “We need a broad base to maximize outreach. These days, you just never know for sure what paths people will take to find you. Twitter works just fine for recruiting candidates, for example.” ­Almost 5,000+ followers on Facebook is quite an impressive count for a German-language B2B site. It seems many people are interested in getting status updates from behind the scenes. “We use specific ­media and channels to reach our stakeholders,” says Thomas. He also added that what’s most important is delivering on your performance promise. Promotion is worthless if it’s just a well-crafted ­story that’s not credible in the end. “The best marketing tool is still the quality that you deliver. Once customers have seen what we mean by consulting and service, experienced how we can lighten their load, and know that things will go smoothly, they’ll come back to us for their next event.” And then he hammers his point home one last time: “And that is our advantage.”

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