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“It was time.”

An interview with the Internationale Hydraulik Akademie GmbH (IHA) about the why and how of their new brand identity.

6 Min.

Ulrich Hielscher, Managing Director of Internationale Hydraulik Akademie GmbH

Our work for IHA is a good example of how a project can develop over the course of collaboration. Initially, it was just a matter of designing a training booklet and in the end it was a revision of the entire brand image.

Ulrich Hielscher (UH): As a cooperation partner of Hansa-Flex, brand work was not our first priority at first. Our core competence was there and we were constantly expanding it. But then the day comes when you ask yourself the question: Does our brand presence adequately reflect our expertise? We spoke about this with the marketing manager at Hansa-Flex, with our team and with the Bergwerk agency. The tone was clear: We must do something about this. The trigger for these considerations was our training booklet, which we revised together with Bergwerk. The initial contact came from our trainer Matthias Müller. He knows Hans-Peter Brendel and his team.

It is not uncommon for personal relationships and recommendations to bring companies together. It is then crucial that the chemistry and the performance are right.

UH: The marketing manager from Hansa-Flex was present at the first meeting and quickly realized that the work and ideas presented by the mine had a hand and foot. While working on the training booklet, our brand became more and more visible. It has remained unchanged since the Academy was founded in 2007. No one from our team had been involved in its development – and was really happy with it. She existed, but we had no emotional attachment to her.

A brand that you don't feel is not a brand, but a state of affairs.

UH: And we wanted to end it because it was clear to us that we could do more. Our training was well received. We were successful. We therefore decided to give our increasing importance in the market a suitable face and started the brand relaunch with Bergwerk. Today, we're getting a lot of positive feedback from the industry. We are perceived more consciously. That wasn't always the case in previous years.

In Social media works

Aline Walther (AW): We have a strong presence on social media, which also has a positive influence on our perception. Many ideas come from our engineers. We in marketing then – in close cooperation with Bergwerk – make interesting posts out of them. In this way, we communicate in a contemporary way what we can do and how our customers benefit from our know-how. It works: We recently had two new registrations right after a post.

In our opinion, one of the most important results of the cooperation is that the IHA service portfolio is now presented as a compact triad: advise, review, train. Did this become established on the market as hoped?

Anne-Sophie Hänske (ASH): Absolutely. Of course, we had also offered all of this to our customers before. But the coherent clustering of topics and the catchy wording ensured that we can now present our range of services much more clearly and that our customers find what they need more quickly.

UH: The fact that we involved all decision makers in the development process was decisive for the high acceptance of this triad here as well. Everyone was able to get involved and influence the outcome. By the way, this applies not only to the triad, but to our entire strategy of simplification. Our engineers and technicians would like to convey facts and connections on the website. That's understandable, but it overwhelms customers. We discussed this in a controversial way in our workshops. In the end, there were jointly developed solutions that everyone can represent wholeheartedly.

Create expectations, meet expectations

Everyone understood that a strong brand and concise messages help us penetrate the market even better. We reach even more people who are interested in the niche hydraulics sector. Our service promise “The Hydraulic Academy” helps with this. Of course, we know that such a unique, self-confident formulation raises high expectations. But we're happy to face them.

What sentence would you use today to describe your motivation to initiate the brand relaunch?

AW: It was time.

After the relaunch, there were several stages in the evolution of your public image. Why were they necessary?

AW: A development process isn't complete just because the logo has been redesigned. As a team, we have always thought about what we could improve. Do we need additional means of communication? What ideas do we have for social media? How do we improve the usability of our website?

How important was it for you to have Bergwerk as a partner who not only advises but also implements?

AW: We really appreciate that. We have lots of ideas – but when it comes to implementing them correctly, we need a professional partner.

ASH: Sometimes you have a tendency to fall back into old patterns. It's important to have someone with a good eye who you can ask: What do you think of that? Can you do it that way? There is always good input that makes us think and ensures that we are not satisfied with the initial idea. There is a lot of mutual trust. Working together like this is fun.

Take on leadership for the good of the brand

UH: Having a partner who works continuously with us on and with our brand is essential. The exchange helps us to act in a more targeted manner and not to gallop. We are happy to accept this type of leadership – and it should also be included in the budget to move a brand forward.

Allowing yourself to recognize that you can't do everything yourself and get support – kudos, that requires sovereignty. That is not the case in all companies. But even well-developed brands can dilute if they are not continuously maintained. Sparring with an external partner is so valuable because you keep an eye on the big picture.

UH: The whole thing also includes topics such as our digital academy. It was of course handy that Bergwerk has a lot of experience in designing and programming digital projects and is also well versed in the topics of UI and UX. Together, we developed a catalog of requirements that helped us find the right partner for implementation.

Back to brand work and the first steps towards it. How did you experience the first phase of collaboration?

UH: I liked the consistency of the approach, based on the three parameters of awareness, visibility, and experience. The comparison of our appearance back then with that of the competition was impressive. As I said, we were not happy with our public image and could now see that our feeling was right. Bergwerk then prepared various suggestions, which were discussed and revised until there was nothing more to improve. Our brand image was finally in line with our expertise. This was important for external perception – but also internally for motivating the team.

ASH: A brand can and must also be celebrated. We did that. With the whole team. Every employee – from janitors to trainees and trainers to management – received new business cards at this ceremony. At the same time, we had the name tags in front of the offices replaced. Everyone was impressed and proud to be part of this team. We have achieved that with this relaunch.

The new brand image implemented on the business card

This text was translated automatically.

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Quick facts
Internationale Hydraulik Akademie GmbH
  • Headquarters: Dresden
  • Employees: 16
  • Trained people: 25,000

*Status: 2022

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