An icon is flying high

Lufthansa’s new look is a model example of thoughtful and intelligent modernisation of a long-established brand. The new look exudes the feeling and respect for the brand and its history, and you get a sense that design methods have been correctly used.

Everything seems familiar, but the new look seems to be simultaneously much clearer, fresher, more elegant and more dynamic. Especially in the case of a successful, evolutionary step, it is worth taking a close look to understand which changes have had which effects. First off is Lufthansa’s most striking symbol – the crane. The brand icon also still seems the same at first glance. However, on taking a closer look, you can see that it is leaner and thereby more dynamic. The character and style have however remained unchanged.

The biggest change that customers will see is perhaps the change in the use of Lufthansa’s corporate colours. The most striking feature is on the aircraft itself: the yellow circle on the blue tail fin is missing.

Colour creates semantic references. Yellow stands for warmth and emotion; blue stands for trust and quality. It is therefore not surprising if people will miss the yellow, i.e. the symbol for emotion, on the aircraft and that a highly controversial discussion of the new corporate design, and in particular the paintwork on the aircraft, is likely to ensue. Looking at the image as a whole, it is obvious that the colour palette has in essence remained the same, but that blue is now clearly the main colour. Yellow is used in places on the signage where trust and closeness should be created.
For digital use, simplifying the colours within the corporate system is certainly the right step.

The new typography is more modern and has gained in character without losing the required objectivity, clarity and seriousness. It is an alignment with the spirit of the times without following it opportunistically.

On the whole, Lufthansa’s new look as a brand provides new impetus and brings a new self-confidence to the fore. It is perhaps a little more distant than before, but this may also be a new facet of the new identity of a German brand on the road to globalisation.

My mega trend is “Changelocity”

By this I mean the connection of change and velocity and thus the enormous and rapidly increasing speed of change, which has covered practically all our areas of life. Whether we are looking at politics in Germany and the world, our working environment, the media or marketing, everywhere we are exposed to an increasing – and increasingly difficult to manage – pace of change. We live in a world that is increasingly characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).

What does this mean for us as entrepreneurs?

Above all, we must keep our companies agile to be able to react more quickly to changes. This means smaller, flexible units instead of large monoliths. Fluid and flat hierarchies instead of deeply tiered pyramids. Decentralised decision-making structures instead of Louis XVI. Rent, share and lease instead of owning supposedly valuable company assets. Focusing on creativity instead of market entry barriers as a success factor. Encouraging coworking instead of rigid working environments. Lifelong learning and training instead of completed degree courses.

And above all, abandoning vanities, which in practice are the greatest stumbling block to the willingness to change.
And we all know that’s where it all starts!

Developments of various retail formats

Large brands will continue to strengthen direct contact with consumers through their own retail formats or shop-in-shop concepts in city centres. The IKEA restaurant in a city centre location is one example. Successful Internet companies are becoming physically tangible with their own branding stores such as Mymuesli, Zalando or Westwing. As such, linking with digital media will become highly relevant. In the end, it’s all about consistently implementing all touch points, which many established retailers have not yet been able to do. Here the battle decides who can survive in the future or who will disappear from the market.

Transparency 3.0

The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers were just the beginning: next year we will once again see that no one is left with anything hidden. The interaction between data agglomeration and social networks will gradually make whistleblowers and flesh-and-blood spies superfluous. And this prediction does not even take into account the future possibilities of AI (both desired and feared).

In addition to the opportunities for greater tax fairness, better crime prevention and the dangers of idea and innovation theft to an unprecedented extent, this development also has far-reaching consequences for the world of work and employer branding: Relevance and credibility of company promises to its employees are tested in real time by employer evaluation portals, applicant and university blogs, as well as industry newsletters. Messages about poor employee satisfaction can no longer be dismissed as individual opinions if they are not. In the near future, companies will lose the monopoly of opinion over their own employer brand (if they ever had it). They will have to share the interpretation prerogative over their employer brand with employees, but also with former employees and candidates who are at the forefront of communication in their entirety.

Proactive transparency is therefore more important than ever. Nowhere is perfect, but that’s not expected. What is expected is to deal openly with the advantages and disadvantages of a company’s working environment and to react quickly and appropriately to potential grievances. None of this is completely new, but in the future, the greatest possible transparency will be the prerequisite for a positive image of a company as an employer.

More than digital only, sales only and pure buzzwords

  1. Beyond bullshit:
    Results instead of buzzwords, more substance in campaigns, correct evaluation criteria instead of feelings. Real, clearly trackable progress on the way through the funnel.
  2. Beyond digital only:
    The longing for real feelings, real contact, real scents. Brand experience in the sense of ultimate moments with a brand (see also “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact”, book by Chip Heath and Dan Heath)
  3. Beyond sales only:
    Discounts, incentives to buy, Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays have become ubiquitous. Not brand stories you can’t escape any more. It’s about the willingness to pay through emotional attention. Offers can then act as accelerants for this brand fascination. But nothing can be accelerated where nothing burns.

Offline is the new cool

Yes, this is already clear: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, wearables, the networking of everything with everything, Big Data. The hot topics of the past year will also shape 2018. But in my opinion, the “hottest shit” customary in the industry will also fuel a counter-trend: Offline will become the new cool in 2018.

Previously, at parties, people announced they had spent a full six weeks a year at their Majorca villa. In 2018, the person who can say he misplaced his smartphone three days ago and hasn’t noticed yet will be envied. Leadership in 2018 will be shown by those who delete all cc emails unread. Instead of talking about the engine power or the tyres of a new 4×4, we will rave about how great it feels not to leave a trace in the social networks for four weeks. And anyone who enters their appointments into a notebook by hand while colleagues continue to mess up the day of Outlook appointments will be really cool. Somehow I’m looking forward to 2018.

Real stories instead of cat pictures

The mega trend of 2018 is quality of content. Cat picture content continues to have its raison d’être, but its relevance is declining. Due to its educational core virtues, PR as a multi-channel discipline plays a much more important role in the communications industry than pure campaign-driven marketing.

The distinction between classic PR, editorial digital content, paid content and marketing is increasingly becoming blurred. I see the demand for integration of the communication disciplines as the central challenge for the industry. And Public Relations, the management of relationships, has great new opportunities. Or, to borrow the words of a colleague in the industry: “The great era of PR is just beginning”.

Digital personal appreciation

Digitisation, progressing ever more quickly, offers fascinating new possibilities for marketing. Never before has it been possible to get so close to customers outside the POS and reach them without any wastage. But this new digital proximity also requires a change of approach if it is to work. Less promotional, but more appreciative. If you want to reach the final click for a decision, you have to communicate at eye level, take the person addressed seriously and speak their language. That’s why, in addition to smart technology, we also need smart storytellers and visual magicians who, with what they create, hit the emotional bullseye dead on. You can also fall in love with brands at the first click. Whether anything more comes of this is decided by a content strategy that always feels as though it had been developed just for you alone.

Culture of change as a fuel for real innovation!

We are in an age when we must constantly change. A world where agility is utmost. It is no longer a matter of classic change management. We must enable a working culture of willingness to change. A culture in which people have the right mindsets and tools for continuous development and rapid changes.