Ms. Martin, a company only initiates a brand relaunch if there are good reasons. What were those in the case of Deutsche Investment?
Tamara Martin (TM): In autumn 2021, we faced major changes: The transformation of our company from a GmbH to a capital management company, a new appointment to the Executive Board, the addition of new team members. We felt great momentum and agreed that the start of such a change process was the right time to restart our brand. This process should show that we are getting started with a new team. Everyone is pitching in to achieve goals that we had been working towards for years. Interestingly enough, we didn't just discuss the scope of the relaunch. But also whether we dare.
No wonder, because you have to look at yourself: What are the upcoming changes doing to us, do they have an impact on our corporate philosophy, on our values?
Enver Büyükarslan (EB): The desire for further development has matured over the past 25 years. This time is the best time to make the EB-GROUP logo visible. It has my initials on it. It was known in Berlin and far beyond the city's borders. This logo is strongly linked to values that have shaped me as a person and as an entrepreneur. A family of brands was created around this logo. With the positive development of my group of companies, there was then an opportunity to acquire shares in Deutsche Investment Kapitalverwaltung. Since uniform identification can only be achieved with a central brand, I thought about which brand we should use on a permanent basis.
A decision for the future
I decided to give up the EB logo. It represented my previous journey, my past, and meant a great deal to me. But I told myself: Deutsche Investment exists and it makes sense to bring everything together under one logo. So I changed the name EB GROUP Holding to Deutsche Investment Holding. This decision was made for letting go of the past, for commitment to the future, for determination and for courage. I met them in my mind and in my heart, so that I fully support them. At first, I just wanted to change the logo and homepage of Deutsche Investment. When Tamara joined the team and wanted to make the relaunch more comprehensive, I said “You are my legal advisor in matters of marketing” – and had her do it. I would have been biased, and it is important to hand over responsibility for that. The new brand image developed from this constellation.
Have you also been moved by the question of whether you are taking something away from employees who have previously traveled under the EB-GROUP flag?
I thought of people, of course, who appreciated the familiar appearance. This included not only team members but also investors. One of our largest investors chose us based on the history of EB-GROUP. It was important to him that the new homepage read: Deutsche Investment used to be the EB GROUP. I've often heard, “Why are you doing that?” My answer was: “It is now the time to do that.” I wanted to convey that it was not about the logo, but about the people behind it. Yes, it is a change – but you and I are still part of the family. The soul and the heart remain the same.
Courage is an elixir of life. <span class="quote-author">Enver Büyükarslan, founder and shareholder of the Deutsche Investment Group</span>
Allies as missionaries
Nevertheless, there were team members who were unsettled and it was clear to me that I could not solve this situation alone. We needed allies who would join teams like missionaries to mediate and reduce anxiety. We found these allies, and thanks to their help, we were able to successfully master the change process.
On the one hand, a company with ten employees, on the other, a company with a hundred. On the one hand, the name Deutsche Investment – an extremely strong name – and on the other hand, your name, which you've been wearing since you were born. When did you say “I'm letting go now because it makes sense to condense this process, continue it and make it visible?”
EB: It was clear to me that when I let go of the past with EB-GROUP – which wasn't bad – then it was an important step for me to let go of other things as well. I didn't want to stand between two worlds anymore, I wanted to choose one. When you are brave enough to rebuild your company, you also develop courage in other things. Courage is an elixir of life. If you're not constantly brave, you can't change anything. But being brave also means taking risks, of course.
Has the brand development process given you strength and guidance so that you are taking the right path?
It was exactly the same.
The development process was also something special for us as an agency. The first question from you, Mrs Martin, initially concerned only the revision of the website. We then asked the question “What should be different,” and you quickly get to the topic of impact. At the beginning of July 2021, we were here in Berlin from the mine. You, Mr. Büyükarslan, just took a quick look and said “Focus on Tamara, she's doing it with you.” In the following weeks, we worked on various stages of development. Everyone was excited to see which solution they would choose. Our tendency was towards a facelift of the previous one. When you were with us in Kupferberg for the presentation at the end of July, you said: “Let's be brave.” In the meantime, your thoughts seemed to have focused on a solution that read “if, then completely.”
EB: I've learned that it's always better to bet on the whole and not on half. Half always has latency and is therefore difficult to grasp, no matter what it is in life. Decide and make up your mind completely – otherwise there is a risk that you won't be able to let go of what is not good for you.
Green instead of orange
The brand relaunch accompanied me during a sensitive phase of my life. I realized that I needed to combine my personal development with the company – and the matching took place at your place in Kupferberg. I understood that there was no alternative to decisions. If so, opt for green and don't always bet on orange, even though you know that you have green at heart.
After our appointment in Kupferberg, I drove to Lake Garda with friends and traveled 1,100 kilometers by bike there. A lot happened again on this tour. We were already wearing the new logo on our jerseys – on the back, on the chest, on the thighs. While driving, I saw this logo again and again and thought “it's so simple, so minimalistic.”
A big step for you – to literally wear the logo.
You see the logo and say to yourself, “You wanted this change – can you live with it now? Is that you?“ For 1,100 kilometers, you will experience every mountain, every valley, every feeling of happiness and every pain. And you always see the logo. I suddenly felt very familiar with it – and also with the decision. It was like a transformation process that also gave me a lot of strength when making other decisions.
Would you recommend that every entrepreneur take a tour like this with their new brand?
Everyone should have a concept and the courage to engage with themselves. My path is cycling. There is only this piece of metal – and you. On the bike, you achieve an extremely high level of coverage with yourself. You're completely with yourself. So this tour helped me to rethink a lot of things and make decisions that were really mine. My companions congratulated me on the logo and for finally letting go and making changes. With this wonderful feeling and gift – this logo is a gift for me – I went into a new era, into a new life, full of energy.
A major challenge was bringing the new brand to the team. How did you proceed?
TM: The first step was choosing allies at management level. There was very positive feedback on the new logo, although I must say that coordinating the intermediate steps was very important. There were a number of suggestions and adjustments, and the need for discussion was correspondingly high. But the feedback from management was always encouraging. So we knew we were on the right track. It was important for us to convey the associated values with the new brand: professionalism, loyalty, reliability, responsibility, respect. Maybe you assume some of them, but it's good to remember them again and again.
The Man from the Dungeon
EB: For historical reasons, we had many people who longed for orientation. That is another reason why we initiated this brand process. It was important to stretch your arms wide and hug as many people as possible. This creates closeness in which people feel comfortable. For this process, you need an external mediator who conveys content and brings everyone together. Why? Imagine myself retreating into a dungeon alone, developing something, coming out again and saying “that's it.” People would think he hasn't seen anything but darkness, he's dangerous, just don't listen to him. This is where the mediator comes in – in our case, the Bergwerk agency. It has taken on the task comprehensively. That means their work wasn't finished with brand development. Together, we brought the new brand to the team at an event at the Delphi Filmpalast in Berlin. Everyone was there and excited to see what would happen. The response was fantastic. As part of the overall development, the mine has therefore not left us alone in this important last step. The agency was the mediator who mediated between the cause – the necessary brand relaunch – and the team's vibrations.
Our way of working is not to impose something on the customer and say that we know how the world works. There is not only one way, but also a second, third and fourth. We're creating a platform. We show what things could be like and make recommendations as to which solution best meets a company's set of values in our opinion. It is clear to us that there are people who have a different perspective and still want to feel integrated. How do you rate the situation today – has everyone been taken along or is it still necessary to persuade them?
TM: It's not just about accepting a logo. It is about the awareness, visibility and experience of Deutsche Investment. We developed this brand experience together with Bergwerk. You therefore have to separate two levels: That of working with the brand on a daily basis, for example in templates – and the emotional, i.e. inner conviction. The fact is that even after half a year, I still get positive feedback from the locations. During company runs, colleagues ask me if they can get jerseys with the new logo. The brand is therefore well accepted emotionally. Adjusting the work level, on the other hand, is a process that takes time. We've taken a big step that some still need to get used to.
Were there any stumbling blocks on the way to the new brand and if so – how did you get over them?
EB: I had great confidence in the team that they would represent the three dimensions of people, future and real estate – they are represented with the circles in our logo – according to their meaning. The symbiosis of these three dimensions makes up our entire brand, not just the logo.
Room for development
It was therefore not a stumbling block, but rather a sharpening when I suggested that the circles in the logo not be offset one above the other, but connected. Because people, the future and real estate only work together. Now the circles form a single unit, but are still separated from each other to provide space for development.
Living through this sharpening until the brand is really “my” brand is extremely important for owner-managed companies and is more easily lost in constellations with employed managing directors. Owners must be able to say “Yes, that's me.” Despite this strong emotional component, even owners often approach the topic of brands very rationally, based on the question “What does it cost me?”. Isn't it much more important to think about “What does it do for me?”.
EB: That should be the first thought, because the material doesn't make you happy.
What is your vision for Deutsche Investment 2030 and how does it relate to the brand?
EB: By 2030, based on the strength of our values, we want to transfer trust and responsibility to people who will continue to live these values for the benefit of society.
How would you calculate the value of your brand?
EB: It's like love. You can't pay for that.
Looking back, what was the reason for choosing the mine as an agency partner?
TM: There were several agencies on our list and we invited a few. The decision for the mine was made because it was the best fit both personally and professionally. We wanted to find a partner to whom we could trust our brand with a clear conscience. It's almost like parents dropping their child off at kindergarten. We needed to trust people. With the mine, we were able to build up this trust in a short time, and thanks to the agency's industry knowledge and experience, the brand process quickly picked up steam. We developed into sparring partners who sharpened each other's vision with suggestions and constructive criticism. There were also emotional discussions, for example when it came to the question of how many and which parameters should be adopted from the past. However, we have never lost sight of our common goal.
Craftsmanship also counted. We needed an agency that was top of the line on many levels: analog and digital, precise in detail, everything from a single source, fast and with a high work ethic. The mine was the right choice because I could always rely on flexibility, quality and timings.
This text was translated automatically.
- Headquarters: Berlin
- Number of employees: 280
- Investment volume managed: EUR 3.1 billion*
*As of October 01, 2022