Serviceplan Group’s magazine for customers, employees and friends of the company

As the overarching theme of this fourth edition we have chosen “Change”. With a wealth of inspiring and surprising stories, interviews and analyses, the aim of TWELVE is not to be a review or a look back, but rather a look forward to the developments, new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

In our rapidly changing lives, we need to find little islands where we can wind down and even switch off now and again. One of these islands is art: it allows us to pause for a moment, to retreat into contemplation, to reflect on what we have seen. Perhaps you will also be inspired to do this by the artworks of the renowned street artists we invited to visualise the subject of “Change” at the beginning of each chapter. Take some time out, sit back, relax and immerse yourself in this copy of TWELVE.

Amongst others with Dirk Ahlborn (CEO Hyperloop), Julian Nida-Rümelin (Philosopher & former State Minister), Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (Former Federal Defence Minister), Giovanni di Lorenzo (Editor-in-Chief of DIE ZEIT) and Anastacia (Singer).

Hier geht es zur Ausgabe 2018

The first four issues of TWELVE have already been honoured with the Red Dot Award: Communication Design 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as a Bronze Award at the “Best of Business-to-Business” Communication Awards 2015. 

Of course we are very interested to know how you like our magazine and look forward to hearing your feedback. Send us a mail to:


Chapter 1


Digitalisation & radical changes in the world of brands | The change triggered by digitalisation is THE megatrend of our time. It is affecting all areas of politics and business, including everything from work culture, mobility and consumer behaviour down to private communication – and it’s happening at an unprecedented pace. If we look back at the developments of the previous year, the pace even seems to have picked up. This rapid transformation is having huge repercussions on the world of brands and communication. It forms the basis of all trends and topics that are currently concerning us in brand communication. But everything revolves around the crucial question: which new business models, methods and strategies can be used to successfully navigate brands and companies through the digital transformation and ensure they are fit for the future?

Chapter 2


Brand Management & Digital Transformation | Digitalisation has massively broken down the barriers for suppliers, even allowing small businesses to enter the global marketplace. Brand management is therefore becoming more important than ever before: when the consumer can choose conveniently, quickly and at any time from an enormous offer and the competitor’s product is always just a click away, the brand itself becomes a crucial differentiating factor. In times of constant change, people are looking for support and orientation. Well-managed brands are like anchors of trust that they can hold onto. During the digital transformation, this poses particular challenges for marketing managers: in order for a brand to be perceived as a guiding star, marketers have to credibly communicate what it stands for – on each channel and along the entire customer journey.

Chapter 3


Creativity & The new Age of Business | With new sales structures and lower or even completely eliminated entry barriers, it has never been so easy to launch a product or offer a service on the market as it is today. The best example of this are the fintech companies that are increasingly causing the more established banks headaches because they are challenging the status quo of their “safe” business models. More and more startups are proving that when entry barriers no longer play a role, it really depends on the creativity of the individual whether you are successful or not. This makes creativity a megatrend of our time – even in the communication industry which is creative per se. Here, new solutions have to be found in order to make targeted and effective use of the constantly changing digital technologies and to offer the customers new, spectacular experiences at all touchpoints.

Chapter 4


Brands & The Power of Strong Stories | As a result of the increasing digitalisation of communication channels, consumers now have the opportunity to select media content in a more targeted way. Unwanted advertising is simply clicked away by the user or turned off with an adblocker. So if you want your brand message to reach your target group, you have to have a long, hard think about what kind of content will really interest them as consumers. This is why content marketing has developed as a complement to the classic campaign model. After all, we all love a good story – and in the general hubbub of information, we only listen if someone has something special to say. In brand communication, we therefore have to find relevant stories and convey them on the most diverse channels to draw customers into the brand cosmos.

Chapter 5


Art & Creative Communication | It reflects the social and technological transformation and challenges us to scrutinise our entrenched viewing habits, perspectives and concepts of reality. But above all, art starts up the creative process in our minds. The relationship between art and advertising creation is more of an interplay than a oneway street. A lot of creatives move between both worlds: like light artist Olafur Eliasson, who caused a sensation with his work for BMW. In 2006, star photographer David LaChapelle switched from commercial photography to art, but shot another ad campaign in 2016. During times in which creativity has become a key success factor, art, as an important, if not the most important source of inspiration, is of particular relevance for brand communication.

Chapter 6


The Media & Information of Tomorrow | At first, digitalisation didn’t seem to be such a blessing for the media industry: declining advertising revenues, strong competition from bloggers and influencers, and last but not least, the attack on its biggest asset – its credibility. But the digital transformation is now turning out to be a huge opportunity for high-quality journalism: faced with the unfiltered daily flood of messages they are bombarded with on social networks, people are seeking orientation. Media brands have won back their role as a trustworthy source of information. And new technologies are opening up exciting opportunities to communicate content. Figure-based texts, such as those in sport and financial reporting, are increasingly being produced by artificial intelligence and new narrative forms like data journalism are emerging. By analysing user behaviour, media content can also be prepared and offered to suit the target group – which makes the media an attractive playing field for brand communication.

Chapter 7


Targeting & The Data Revolution | It’s still possible to reach masses of people with TV commercials. But are they really the people you want to appeal to with your advertising message? A real quantum leap is taking place in brand communication: due to the use of big data, placement logic is being replaced by profile logic. The medium or channel you choose to place your brand message plays less of a role these days than the fact that you communicate in a targeted way. Thanks to the digitalisation of sales structures, companies meanwhile have sufficient customer data, but up to now they haven’t really known what to do with it. In the case of targeting, personality profiles are created from this (anonymised) data, which depict certain traits and interests. Big data could therefore become the ideal solution for making advertising messages more relevant and therefore more appealing – and directing them to precisely the right target group.

Chapter 8


Artificial Intelligence & Humankind | When humans reach their limits in this digitalised world, artificial intelligence can provide valuable support. Companies are collecting unimaginable amounts of customer data and input these days. Processing these masses of data and putting them to use is impossible for humans – but not for artificial intelligence. This makes it a megatrend that is profoundly changing brand communication. Artificial intelligence (AI) creates personality profiles from data, which can be used to address customers in a targeted way and algorithms play out the suitable brand messages to consumers via the suitable channels. Chatbots are answering customer queries on more and more service hotlines. Although AI clearly has its limits in terms of everyday usability, it will fulfil – and is expected to for a long time to come – a supportive role, rather than replacing humans.

Chapter 9


Social Media & The Reinvention of Brand Communication | It is a new phenomenon in the history of the media: a completely individualised mass medium that is also interactive and networks this interaction within the community. In this respect, social media is a completely new kind of media – and in terms of the constantly growing user figures of Facebook, Snapchat et al., the ultimate media megatrend. Due to its size and relevance, social media is  important for bringing people together with brands. It facilitates interactive customer dialogue, but also poses the greatest challenge for brand communication. What is the best way to show brand-related content on social media to ensure people are interested in it? Because if they aren’t, the users will simply click the content away – or in the worst case scenario – the content backfires and causes negative publicity.

Chapter 10


New Technology & Worlds of Experience | The technological transformation is changing the world in a way that mankind has never seen before. Digital technologies are increasingly forming the basis of communication, creativity and basically everything we do in brand communication. New ways of interacting with target groups, virtual reality, augmented reality, holographic experiences – one innovation is chasing the next. But not every new digital tool necessarily means an increase in communication efficiency. Each time, the marketer or advertiser has to assess how relevant the new technical tool is for people and therefore also how relevant it is to effective, successful brand communication. We should never take a ‘technology for technology’s sake’ approach, but always use technology in a context with campaigns and the customer experience.

Chapter 11


A New Working & Corporate Culture | A company’s digital transformation process not only includes the introduction of new business models and the implementation of innovative technologies. Work organisation and management styles are also undergoing a fundamental change, based on those of the large internet companies and start-ups. Thanks to laptops, the cloud and smartphones, remote working is meanwhile a normality – today people can work wherever they are without being tied to a fixed workspace. The demands being placed on excellent employers include a fair work-life balance, a good working atmosphere and a respectful management style. In employer branding, the aim is to convey all of this credibly, in a way that applies to the target group and on the relevant digital channels. Only then will you be perceived as an attractive employer brand and be able to encourage the best talents to work for you.

Chapter 12


Personality Brands & Brand Management | In our digitalised, globalised, fast-paced world, we are constantly spoilt for choice and bombarded with all kinds of stimuli. At the same time, our lives are shifting more and more into the virtual world. As a countertrend to all this change and increasing abstraction, people are looking for security and something tangible. It is a well-known fact that the greatest certainty is conveyed by people you think you know, understand and provide you with orientation. This longing for beacons in the form of personalities has made influencers and testimonials increasingly important in brand communication. The advertising industry must, on the one hand, master the art of data-driven campaigns, innovative forms of communication and highly abstract performance marketing, while on the other also promoting personality brands who offer the consumers orientation.

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