Executives at Bionade and ING-DiBa Receive ''Chief Marketing Officer of the Year'' Recognition: Booz Allen Hamilton presents awards to promote excellence in marketing International jury honors two German managers as the best European heads of marketing Awards underline the importance of strategically-oriented marketing and innovative marketing communications
Management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton presented "CMO of the Year 2007" awards to marketing managers for two leading European companies at an exclusive gala evening in Frankfurt yesterday. The prizes were presented to Wolfgang Blum, Head of Marketing for the popular drink Bionade, and to Klaus O. Schmidt, Board Member and CMO at Europe's most successful and strongest-growing direct banking operation ING-DiBa, in acknowledgement of their visionary marketing services. Booz Allen created the award for marketers in Europe in recognition of the growing importance of marketing as a vital corporate unit and strategic success factor.
MUNICH (PRWEB) November 8, 2007
An elite jury of international experts selected the prize winners from over one hundred nominees, via a four-stage selection process. Members of the jury included Hugh Burkitt, CEO, The Marketing Society; Dr. Olaf Gottgens, Vice President Brand Communications, Daimler AG; Karen Halpert, Vice President Marketing for MasterCard Europe; and Prof. Laurent Maruani, Professor at the HEC Graduate School of Management. In addition to strategy and organisation, they also assessed categories relating to brand and marketing communications, product design and pricing, and customer relations. Four other candidates were named as finalists: Jorgen Andersson, Marketing Director, H&M Kent Hahne, CEO, Vapiano International; Dr. Rainer Hecker, CEO, Loewe; and Astrid Schulte, CEO, bellybutton.
Marketing heads face ever-growing challenges, as they anticipate and respond to changes in the market and in the competition, in the wide range of information channels and in the social environment. "Lifecycles for new products have shortened dramatically. Today's customers form an outstandingly well-informed, critical clientele. Top marketers therefore need to contribute and assert their knowledge and expertise at all strategic levels within the company - from involving customers in product development through to ultra-efficient database management," said Gregor Harter, jury member and Vice President at Booz Allen. "These marketing leaders make an outstanding contribution to corporate success."
The prize-winners 2007
Wolfgang Blum hit upon a product which was something of a "sleeping giant" when he began advising Bionade in 1999 - and he turned it into a cult brand. Today, Bionade is the third-biggest brand for sparkling fruit drinks in the German food retailing sector. The product is exported to 18 countries, including Australia. For 2008, the company plans to break into the US and Japanese markets.
On joining Bionade, Blum recognised that the brand's potential was far from being fully exploited, and he completely repositioned the brand, moving it away from being a "sensible mineralised drink" and consistently towards being the modern soft drink for the LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) generation. In doing so, he created a completely new market segment: one where Bionade is the clear market leader.
Blum has also demonstrated that even with a modest marketing budget, it is possible to build up an internationally successful brand - without advertising, but simply by using intelligent viral marketing. Through targeted events sponsorship in the culture, youth and sports segments and a massive presence in the right prestige venues, Blum generated enormous demand.
Ultimately the retail and gastronomy sectors could no longer afford to ignore Bionade. Strong distribution partners like Deutsche Bahn, McDonalds and Starbucks came on board. Sales rocketed from one million bottles in 2001 to 70 million in 2006. By the end of 2007, sales of over 200 million are expected. This rigorous brand positioning, hand in hand with intelligent, innovative brand communications, impressed and convinced the jury.
Klaus O. Schmidt played a key role in forging Europe's biggest direct bank and the third-largest German bank for private customers out of what used to be a trade union-owned finance institute, ING-DiBa. Schmidt joined what was then the "Allgemeine Deutsche Direktbank" in 1993 and took on the role as head of marketing. In total, the bank has changed its name three times since then.
He has succeeded - throughout all these changes - in positioning the ING-DiBa brand clearly in the minds of consumers when it comes to brand values: a direct bank which stands for transparency, fairness and reliability. He has also anchored these values internally, which form the backbone of its brand management. In parallel, the business model is consistently focussed on direct banking. Offering a limited number of clearly-structured and easily comprehensible products has prepared the ground for successful marketing to broad target groups.
As a direct bank with no branch network, Schmidt has built the bank's communications on two pillars. High-quality data management links all customer information generated as part of direct marketing - forming the core element for superior customer service. In addition, the highly visible sponsorship of the German national basketball team communicates the brand values. With this mix, not only has Schmidt achieved sustained 70% brand recognition for ING-DiBa, but marketing has also clearly played its part in the almost tenfold rise in profits at ING-DiBa between 2003 and 2006. It is an impressive success story, which is acknowledged by the jury in awarding the title "CMO of the Year 2007."
For more information about the competition and the jury, please visit: www. cmo-award. com.
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