Who the f*** is Adelbert?
Interview: Dirk Wember, managing director Adelbert Haas GmbH
Renaming and Rebranding at Haas: Haas Schleifmaschinen GmbH will be known as Adelbert Haas GmbH. Haas Schleifmaschinen looks back, forward and reflects on its pioneer and founder Adelbert Haas.
Post from Trossingen: A new company name and a new logo, which then remained almost completely the old one.
Carina Kabisreiter: Mr. Wember, the company name and the brand logo should actually be the last things to be changed. Both are, after all, the epitome of popularity, trust and, in addition, a value proposition in themselves.
Dirk Wember: I completely agree with you on that. And yet there are important occasions to do so. That's precisely why we didn't go for extreme renaming and come up with some meaningless word creation. The need for a cautious brand evolution has become more and more imposing in recent years, and now we are boldly taking this step. I would like to explain the reasons for this, and perhaps one or two other machine manufacturer are also facing this challenge and can take us an example.
Since the beginning of 2000, Dirk Wember has been a shareholder and managing director of Adelbert Haas GmbH. He shares this task with his daughter Marie-Sophie Maier-Wember and with his long-time partner and Chief Technology Officer Thomas Bader.
Carina Kabisreiter: We are still a bit surprised, because news from Trossingen are usually high-tech innovations. What were your reasons for taking this step?
Dirk Wember: I´ll tell you the main reason that has been on my mind for years. We have long outgrown our previous name, Haas Schleifmaschinen. The name limits us far too much and at some point in the near future slows down our business development instead of giving it a proper boost. We don´t build grinding machines, we develop unique technologies and are valued for our solution expertise. Our own software plays a decisive role in the requirements of the future. As a company, we are a hybrid and unique in our industry. On the one hand, we are a machine manufacturer in the grinding segment, and on the other hand, we are a software pioneer with solutions that make us interesting outside our very specific industry. And when we reach limits at Haas, we want to overcome them as quickly as possible, currently with a new appearance and technologically anyway.
Carina Kabisreiter: Is there a specific example that illustrates this?
Dirk Wember: One example among many: Styx! With our Multigrind® Styx software, we visualize and optimize complete production processes before the workpiece to be ground is even clamped into the machine. This digital test bed for 3D optimization offers, with its 1:1 visualization, maximum control, pixel-perfect and without restriction. This saves a lot of time and unnecessary grinding of expensive blanks. After all, it doesn't take much imagination here to envision what this technology could do in related industries as well.
More efficiency and productivity: Virtual process optimization with Multigrind® Styx.
Carina Kabisreiter: Are there any further reasons or did they just want to get rid of the term grinding machines?
Dirk Wember: A common reason for changing the brand name is also successful internationalization. This has also occurred in our case. We are advancing on all continents, and this naturally generates conflicts. For us, a unique position in the market is indispensable. We want to clearly define ourselves with our cutting-edge technology and generate even more interest in our solution offerings worldwide. To do this, we need to differentiate ourselves to avoid any possible confusion. With the new name Adelbert Haas GmbH we strengthen the brand protection internationally and still remain flexible for what we have planned for the future.
Carina Kabisreiter And what does all this have to do with the founder, Adelbert?
Dirk Wember: Well, if you have a plan A, you don't need a plan B. A like Adelbert. With Adelbert we want to create an awareness of our origin from the Black Forest. Adelbert Haas turns origins into the future. We have always been innovators, pioneers and "won´t work, doesn´t exist" enablers. We are consistent, courageous and always close to the challenges of our customers. These characteristics have characterized us for almost 90 years and are an immutable part of our corporate DNA. That's why the decision to go with Adelbert Haas GmbH just fell into our laps.
Carina Kabisreiter: Isn't Adelbert Haas GmbH a bit too bulky, especially outside the language area?
Dirk Wember: Yes, of course Adelbert is bulky, and that's a good thing. A name with rough edges initially causes discussions, but pays off in the long run. We are not afraid of the tongue twister, we have become far too relevant in the market for that. It is precisely what is unusual about our Adelbert that makes it special, and we want to be special for our customer, too. The company has never lacked uncompromising courage, on the contrary. Who else in our industry would have named their new tool grinding machine Multigrind® Radical? We think radically differently, act in a future-oriented way and that is exactly what our customers appreciate.
Dirk Wember laughs and adds: People certainly need some time to get used to the Adelbert. We are happy to take this time. Acceptance and identification are very important to us, both internal and external. Just imagine our loyal customers, the Haas brand means a lot to them. And suddenly they are presented with some fantasy name? Then you take away something they valued and trusted. We want to preserve our psychological added value, and with it our attitude and our aura.
It is clear, however, that even if our motives are valid, they will of course be questioned by the public, and that is a good thing. Our new name has to measure up to the previous one, so we didn't want a blank slate. We have proceeded cautiously and yet courageously. With a completely new brand name, memories are lost, we avoided that with the decision to Adelbert Haas GmbH.
Carina Kabisreiter: But why now of all times, our readers will ask themselves. Are there any other reasons after all?
Dirk Wember: I will formulate this in the exclusion procedure so that no misunderstandings arise: There is no outside investor at Adelbert Haas. We have not merged. We were also very successful during Corona and even used the time to develop our Multigrind® Radical. Our order books are full, and we are looking ahead with great confidence. Thomas Bader and I have added another managing director to the circle in the form of my daughter Marie-Sophie Maier-Wember, placing the growth themes of digitization and software at the very top.
And if there are still unanswered questions, just call me, I am always happy about the direct contact, especially after the past two years.
Carina Kabisreiter: Can such a change of name go wrong? Don't you have sleepless nights before it?
Dirk Wember: Of course, there is no guarantee; ultimately, it is the public that decides on success or failure. I can well remember a negative example from past years, and honestly, it still hurts today. The name change from Michael Deckel to ISOG was a fiasco, both in terms of craftsmanship and psychology. All the brand capital that had been built up so successfully - everything that the customer associated with the brand - was lost. We know the result: shutdown in April 2020.
Carina Kabisreiter: Mr. Wember, renaming and rebranding is certainly expensive and requires a lot of marketing know-how. Why didn't you shy away from it? At the end of the day, it's always a cost-benefit calculation that has to work out, isn't it?
Dirk Wember: The development of a global brand, with its strategic, legal and linguistic challenges, is a real challenge, and we were aware of that from the very beginning. But pioneering spirit never looks at the costs first, but has the result, the benefit as its goal.
And on the subject of marketing, that has always been my hobbyhorse and I learned the tools from scratch. If we can't communicate our topics, they won't exist in the market. That's why an offensive communication and marketing strategy is essential. In line with our attitude, we always have the best professionals at the start, also in marketing. And let me tell you, marketing is really fun, just take a look at our current campaign for the launch of the Multigrind® Radical. We get a lot of praise and our competitors maybe a gray hair or two.
The new Multigrind® Radical.
Carina Kabisreiter: Mr. Wember thank you for sharing your thoughts and marketing concept with our readers.
Dirk Wember: I have to thank you on behalf of Adelbert Haas GmbH and on behalf of all Haas employees.