In September, Germany Trade & Invest launched “Germany Works.,” an integrated global campaign to promote the country as a premier business location for foreign investors. Melanie Wiegand, GTAI’s director of strategic marketing, lifts the lid on the operation.
Germany has been performing well as an international investment location for years. Why launch a campaign now?
Melanie Wiegand: Germany is one of the most important industrial nations in the world, but this doesn’t just happen. We are dependent to some extent on free and fair markets and cross-border investment. These are being called into question increasingly throughout the world, while the competition in global markets continues to grow. Germany must continue to establish itself as an attractive investment location.
At a first glance, GTAI isn’t referenced in “Germany Works.” What is the relationship between GTAI and the campaign?
Wiegand: GTAI initiated the campaign but it is being delivered by “Germany Works.” GTAI is consciously staying in the background as the umbrella service for businesses seeking to locate in Germany. The campaign provides a platform for all stakeholders concerned with marketing Germany as a location, but we will broadcast with a unified voice. To put it simply, we are promoting “business location Germany” rather than GTAI explicitly, but GTAI is there as a contact for subsequent enquiries.
GTAI, the economic development agencies of the federal states, the district economic promoters, and now “Germany Works.” – how are foreign companies expected to keep up?
Wiegand: “Germany Works.” gives international investors all the guidance they need. Many German partners talk about “business location Germany,” but each paint a different picture. We need a clear and recognizable communicative presence.
A screenshot from the campaign’s animated film “Germany Works.,” which highlights Germany’s superb location at the heart of Europe –
the world’s largest free trade zone – its efficient transport and communications systems, and many other benefits. © GTAI
Melanie Wiegand is director of strategic marketing at Germany Trade & Invest in Berlin. She is responsible for global communications for everything to do with the topic of “business location Germany.” She has vast experience within innovative business fields and future markets for Germany. She began working at GTAI in 2013, consulting with international companies and providing advice, support, and contacts to support their market entry into Germany. Prior to that, she spent more than ten years developing several national and international leading brands. She holds an MSc in social psychology and economics.
You’re promoting Germany as a location for automobility, ICT, and logistics, for example. But to be frank, the auto industry missed out on the electromobility wave, while the improvement of Germany’s internet speed is stuttering and Germany seems unable to build new stations or airports (e.g. Stuttgart and Berlin): is Germany really “working”?
Wiegand: “Germany Works.” is a confident and assured statement that brings our internationally-renowned reliability into focus. The German economy stands for high quality, competence, and innovation. The auto industry, which is admired all over the world for superb engineering and innovation, is an excellent example. So we feel confident promoting ourselves on the hallmark of quality. No country is perfect, but Germany’s good reputation is justified, despite its many challenges.
What is the main message you are sending to foreign investors?
Wiegand: “Germany Works.” advertises our greatest strength in the eyes of foreign decision-makers: reliability. In Germany today, foreign companies will experience a unique interplay of location advantages, social and political stability, qualified labor, top-class infrastructure, an attractive domestic market, and a high quality of life.
“Germany Works.” promotes “business location Germany” overseas. How does it benefit German companies?
Wiegand: The success of German companies is visible and dynamic proof of our excellent economic performance and our products. This is precisely what we are promoting.
- It is the new umbrella campaign for “business location Germany” – a platform for all stakeholders involved in the marketing of Germany as a business location.
- The campaign message drives home Germany’s biggest strength: reliability. The key attractions as a location are social and political stability, a qualified workforce, top-class infrastructure, a strong domestic market, and high quality of life.
- “Germany Works.” synthesizes the many and diverse representations of Germany by different parties within location marketing.
- Visual metaphor is at the heart of the campaign: a 3D animated film depicts an engine driven by the perfect synthesis of all Germany’s advantages as a location.
- The international media roll-out focuses on Europe.
- Germanyworks.com is the digital destination for the campaign.
You have worked for several renowned German and international brands successfully. But can one really “brand” a nation?
Wiegand: For me, there’s no such thing as “national branding.” The term has its origins in the practice of burning letters into an animal’s skin in order to identify it by its owner. But the idea of branding has, over time, carried over into consumer goods. Branding is a centrally-steered marketing process, designed to give a product a distinctive presence, or a soul. A nation, by contrast, is neither product nor service. It is an exceptionally complex construct with many facets, defined not only by space and history, but also by its people. Germany is represented by millions of ambassadors and people on a daily basis. This is not a process that any nation can really control in a structured way. But if we need to represent “business location Germany” at international events or trade shows, then we need to broadcast a clear and simple message. “Germany Works.” is this message – a sustainable concept for “business location Germany.”