Siemens brand strategy / positioning case study

Brand essence

Making real what matters.

Brand values

Invention, innovation, ingenuity.

Brand character

Pioneering, innovative, global, human, positive.

Dominating archetype
EVIDENCE
Comments
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Siemens is one of the oldest technology companies in the world. Its roots date back to 1847, when Werner von Siemens, his cousin Johann Georg Siemens and Johann Georg Halske founded Siemens and Halske Telegraph Construction Company in Berlin, Germany. Their very first invention was a significantly improved version of a pointer telegraph. In 1967, Siemens entered a joint venture with Bosch creating BSH Hausgeräte, one of the biggest home appliances firms in the world. In 2015, Bosch acquired Siemens’ 50% stake in BSH and since then all Siemens-branded consumer electronics products are manufactured, marketed and sold by BSH under the licensing agreement with Siemens AG. (Siemens has a similar agreement with Sivantos Group for hearing aid products). In this way, Siemens has become a purely business-to-business (B2B) company.

 

 

 

 

 

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Similar to GE, Siemens is a conglomerate characterized by a high level of complexity. Since the appointment of Joe Kaeser as the CEO in 2013, the company has been trying to simplify its operations, primarily by selling off some of its businesses. In 2014, it announced a plan called Vision 2020, which was later updated in 2018 to Vision 2020+ and is currently being implemented. According to its authors, the main objective of Vision 2020+ is “to give Siemens’ individual businesses significantly more entrepreneurial freedom under the strong Siemens brand in order to sharpen their focus on their respective markets”[1]. The most crucial consequence of the new strategy was Siemens’ reorganization. The conglomerate was divided into three independent operating companies: Gas and Power, Smart Infrastructure and Digital Industries as well as three strategic companies: Siemens Mobility, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Siemens Healthineers. Siemens CEO, Joe Kaeser, commented on this transition: “We are not breaking anything up, we are building new companies”[2] and compared the new Siemens to “a fleet of ships[3].

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In 2016, Siemens announced a new brand strategy originating from the changes in the firm’s business strategy. The company claims that its ambition is to “serve society” and that this is as important a goal as maximizing profit. It defines its brand purpose as “making real what matters” and applies it in three areas of focus: electrification, automatization and digitization. To encapsulate this new approach, Siemens introduced a new slogan, “Ingenuity for life”. According to Joe Kaeser, “‘Ingenuity’ means engineering expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, the power of innovation and the willingness to give our best for society on a daily basis[4]. Interestingly, the overarching Siemens’ brand strategy and its key messaging are not used by BSH for its consumer electronics products sold under the Siemens brand licence. To promote Siemens branded products, BSH uses a messaging revolving around the themes of “innovative technology, brilliantly engineered”[5] and “inspiring a life less ordinary”[6]. The tagline is also different: “The future moving in”.

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Together with the new positioning, Siemens also announced a new communication strategy, the main objective of which was to shift the perception of the company from a home appliances manufacturer to a B2B organization. The way the company planned to achieve this was by showcasing the impact of various Siemens solutions on wider society and presenting end consumer benefits of Siemens products rather than the technology itself. Claire Jarvis, former Director of Communications at Siemens explained to The Drum that the associations people had with the Siemens brand were: “German, engineering, technology and (…) phones and communication, things that we are not into anymore”. She also added that it is crucial for Siemens to position itself “as a company that is really behind your infrastructure (…) and to leave that phone image” and “get away from that consumer brand thinking, which is difficult”.

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Along with its business, brand and communications strategy, Siemens has also been attempting to change its employer value proposition (EVP). The company felt that its brand perception as a large and traditional corporation was not serving the purpose of attracting the best talent. Rosa Riera, former VP of Employer Branding and Social Innovation at Siemens told Marketing Week: “We are no longer just competing for classical talent but also for talent in emerging fields – software engineers, data scientists and so forth. Suddenly we felt it was not so easy any more to say ‘I’m from Siemens’ and people want to talk to you like it was in the past[7]. Siemens wanted to change it and build a perception of an attractive business to work for, valuing entrepreneurial spirit and giving its employees the sense of agency. The main theme of the new EVP is the company’s purpose, “We make real what matters”. The three key EVP pillars are defined as: “success in creating” (meaning that everyone contributes to the development of Siemens products), “growing through challenges” and “embracing respect” (with a focus on diversity and the belief that “everyone deserves an opportunity”).[8]

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Siemens is a Creator brand. Its messaging revolves around the themes of ingenuity, inventing, innovating and creating (“making real what matters”).

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Dominant colour: teal (Siemens refers to the colour as petrol).

Tagline
Most important campaigns

1. “Keeping America Moving Takes More Than Technology Alone” (2020)

2. “Siemens Digital Technology – Expanding What Is Humanly Possible” (2019)

3. “Ingenuity Drives Us” (2018)

4. “What Buildings Make Possible” (2017)

5. “Somewhere In America” (2010)

Official brand statement:

We make real what matters.
Siemens is a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. In infrastructure and industry solutions the company plays a pioneering role.

What we stand for
Innovative strength, a passion for technology, sustainability, responsibility and an uncompromising commitment to quality and excellence – this is what Siemens has exemplified for 170 years and it is what our claim “Ingenuity for life” stands for. “Ingenuity” means innovation, engineering skill and genius. For us, it also holds a sense of community: We are united in our actions and work in partnership with our customers.
As a globally operating technology company, we rigorously leverage the advantages that our setup provides. With our positioning along the electrification value chain, we have knowhow that extends from power generation to intelligent power transmission and distribution to the most efficient energy use. And with our outstanding strengths in automation, we are well equipped for the future and the digital age.

What we offer
Siemens has a very comprehensive product range. This includes systems and services for power generation, transmission and distribution, as well as energy-efficient products and solutions for production, transportation and building technology; also technologies for high-quality and integrated healthcare. Automation technology, software and data analytics play a central role in all these areas. Our Financial Services Division makes capital available for Siemens and our customers.[9]

Interesting facts:

Siemens was responsible for building all 17 nuclear plants in Germany (seven of which are still in use). However, after the catastrophe in Fukushima, the company announced that it would no longer be involved in the nuclear industry.[10]

Must-reads

1. The Drum’s case study on the “Reimagine The Game” brand activation
“The Economist Group & Siemens: Reimagine The Game”, The Drum, Mar 2019,
https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/03/22/the-economist-group-siemens-reimagine-the-game

2. Interview with Adam Cockill, VP Brand Management at Siemens
“Q&A With Adam Cockill, Head Of Branding, Siemens”, Interbrand, 2017,
https://www.interbrand.com/best-brands/best-global-brands/2017/ranking/siemens/qa-with-adam-cockill-siemens/

3. The Drum on the change in Siemens’ brand strategy
N. Mortimer, “Siemens Wants You To Know It’s Not About Phones Or ‘Rag And Spanners’ Engineering In New Positioning”, The Drum, Jul 2016,
https://www.thedrum.com/news/2016/07/29/siemens-wants-you-know-it-s-not-about-phones-or-rag-and-spanners-engineering-new

Sources:
References:
  1. https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/about/businesses.html
  2. “Siemens CEO Sees Group As “Fleet Of Ships” – Manager Magazin”, Dec 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/siemens-structure/siemens-ceo-sees-group-as-fleet-of-ships-manager-magazin-idUSF9N1NJ01G
  3. Ibid.
  4. D. Buss, “Siemens Logo Adds ‘Ingenuity For Life’ Tagline For 200th Anniversary”, Brandchannel, Dec 2015, https://www.brandchannel.com/2015/12/10/siemens-logo-121015/
  5. https://www.siemens-home.bsh-group.com/uk/inspiration/experience/brand-siemens
  6. Ibid.
  7. E. Hammett, “How Siemens Is Evolving Its Employer Brand To Attract New Talent”, Marketing Week, Apr 2018, https://www.marketingweek.com/how-siemens-is-evolving-its-employer-brand-to-attract-new-talent/
  8. K. Ansari, “How Siemens Changes Employer Brand Perception”, Link Humans, https://linkhumans.com/siemens-employer-brand/
  9. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Siemens/about/?ref=page_internal
  10. “Siemens To Quit Nuclear Industry”, BBC News, Sep 2011, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14963575
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