"It's all new, and not just window-dressing"

Why we have chosen to change our brand image.


Every year, the kothes management team gets away from the company’s daily business for a strategy meeting where it makes decisions about the company’s orientation, objectives and other fundamental matters. It should be routine, but the meeting on 28 and 29 November 2016 was different. 
We planned to take a step back, explore our roots, and take a visionary look at the future.
So we first examined our values and used a range of techniques to develop a value framework that reflects the values that prevail at the company. It was very important to us that values such as passion, trust and curiosity are not decreed from above, but are instead embraced and experienced by all our employees.

The path to our vision

On the basis of this shared foundation we looked to the future. Every one of the 12 workshop participants was instructed to write a laudatory speech for kothes on the occasion of an award ceremony in 2036(!). Surprisingly, the ideas presented by the individual managers all went in a similar direction (I had expected clearly different results). Our shared vision for the future can be described with the following key points:

  • We will no longer create documents, but will instead concentrate on the information and its targeted provision to users.
  • Conformity with standards remains important but is no longer in the foreground. Instead we will focus on the user and their individual informational requirements. 
  • To allow us to inform users in the best possible way, and one that is efficient for our customers, we use the latest information technology and conduct active research into new solutions.
  • All kinds of information and industries can benefit from the methods of modern user information, so we can work for departments, other than technical documentation, and for customers that are not traditional product and software manufacturers. 

On this basis we finally formulated our vision:

We see a world where people are more efficient and satisfied because the right information is available to them at any time.

Our task is to provide people with information relevant to their work, precisely and in a comprehensible form.

We complete this task by developing individual informational concepts, creating structures and content, and developing them sustainably with our customers.

Implementation of our vision

Then we turned to the task of implementation.

Everyone involved soon realised that we can only achieve this vision if we reorganise and demonstrate this fact to the outside world. In addition to many other measures, we therefore decided to take a fresh look at the existing kothes brand image, to modernise the brand and to shape it so it transitions our ideas into the future.

A critical look at our existing website made it clear to me fairly quickly how far our intentions had deviated from reality. Interestingly, at this stage we had already completed numerous projects and pursued developments that corresponded with our vision. Unfortunately there was no trace of this on our website. So we created a six-member task force, made up of employees from different hierarchies, and asked it to work with GMF, our new agency, to design a new brand image.

Over several workshops we fleshed out the basic ideas from the strategy meeting and set out a framework for the creative team at the agency. The agency’s first task was to express the new image of the company in colours and shapes. This generated the idea of cluster particles that we were very taken with. The cluster particles visualise the interlinking of information, which is an essential component of our concept of tailored user information.

The claim was developed in parallel. Our final choice was



Smart or intelligent information is exactly what we want to produce, in order to make our users happy, and thereby create value for our customers. We chose the term “solutions” because we have always thought of ourselves as a provider of complete solutions, i.e. consultation paired with IT and other services, and because we have shown again and again that this combination offers the greatest possible benefit to our customers.

We then developed all the remaining media, particularly the website and smart space, on this basis.

We hope you like it.

Lars Kothes
Blog post Lars Kothes
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