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Interview: Why brand management is crucial for a company’s long-term success

A strong brand is often the tip of the scales when it comes to the long-term success of a company: it provides certainty and value for consumers and companies. Prof. Dr. Tim Oliver Brexendorf, Apl. Professorship of Marketing and WHU Executive Education set up a new program “Brand Management Essentials” providing professionals and executives with the skills and tools to build and sustain powerful brands. In the following interview, Professor Brexendorf shares insights on the importance of brands, how to successfully build a brand and why brand management is crucial for a company’s long-term success:

Professor Brexendorf,

… why is brand management so important for companies?

Brands influence and guide consumers’ decision-making and allow firms to occupy a distinct place in the minds of their consumers. Consider the “Red Bull” brand – they epitomize energy in everything they do. Strong brands provide added value beyond a company’s products and services and help to make a connection with consumers on a very deep and personal level. For strong brands, consumers not only buy the brands, they buy into the brands. This helps companies stand out from the competition, enabling them to achieve higher prices and higher volumes.

…what is required to successfully build a brand?

Brand marketers require arts, crafts and science to successfully create, build, and maintain a strong brand. Insights from many disciplines – not only marketing – are needed to deliver a holistic and favorable brand experience to consumers. It depends on the subtle interplay of many areas including design, linguistics, psychology and strategy, to name just a few. Although persuasive brand names and logos are important for strong brands, branding goes way beyond that.

… why is brand management so crucial for a company’s long-term success?

The power of strong brands lies in their ability to create deep consumer connections along with a high degree of desirability and goodwill. Especially in times of uncertainty, brands can give consumers a feeling of familiarity and security. Brands’ loyal consumers accompany the brand through its ups and downs, making it possible for companies to facilitate and enable continuous growth – even in the most difficult times.


Creating a business impact abroad with a diverse team of leaders

Managing and leading a business project is never a simple task, and especially doing it in another country. To successfully carry out a project, a team must face challenges that will enable them to grow, have a connection with each other, and as in this Sri Lankan experience, adjust to the resources provided.

Marianne Ohm, Managing Partner of codiviti UG and participant in WHU’s 6th General Management Plus Program, shares her program experience, challenges, and takeaways from an on-site business impact project in Sri Lanka in cooperation with the non-profit organization BOOKBRIDGE.

You will get her point of view on how the reopening of a learning center was made possible, the leaders who contributed and made it happen, a glimpse into the Sri Lankan culture, and the outcome of the project for the team and the Sri Lankan community.

Read part 1 and part 2 of her incredible learning journey!


The new WHU Global Online MBA

There are many possibilities to acquire a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in an online course. However, the names of the most recognized business schools are rare in this market. Yet, it is the name of the institution which is of particular importance for the further careers of MBA students. Ranked no. 1 in Germany by the Financial Times in its renowned Global MBA Ranking, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management is now one of the first top business schools in Germany to offer an online MBA program for students from all over the world.

"For us, the Global Online MBA is the next step towards the future," says Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. "We have learned a lot from the corona crisis and have made a great leap forward in terms of digitization. And we have seen that there is great interest in our online offerings internationally. We want to make use of this experience now." WHU has committed itself to excellence in research and teaching and is determined to meet this goal also with the new MBA format. The online program will therefore be closely aligned with the existing triple-accredited MBA program, will also offer many opportunities for interaction and personal exchange using state-of-the-art technology, and will provide students with individual support in the usual manner.

It is the flexibility which makes the big difference to regular MBA programs. Participants in the Global Online MBA can work from home, adapt the program to their individual situation, and choose freely between a duration of 18 and 36 months. Those who want to be even more flexible in terms of time can also participate in smaller units of the Global Online MBA by obtaining individual certificates.

The new program is also an expression of the international orientation of the business school. And, even if they are not personally present, participants of the Online MBA will benefit from the network of students and the more than 4,500 WHU alumni of most diverse national and professional backgrounds. They can also take advantage of WHU’s customized career service, which helps students realize their own goals. Applications are possible as of August 3, 2020.

"With the Global Online MBA, WHU is reacting to a new demand situation, which has certainly been enhanced by the current crisis", explains Dean Markus Rudolf. "It is an excellent additional part of our program portfolio, which is already very diverse.”


A story of success

10 years of social entrepreneurship, 7 years of successful partnership with over 46,000 purpose-driven responsible leaders: BOOKBRIDGE and WHU enable participants to start their own social enterprise.

Hands-on, practice orientated knowledge is always important in management education, but crucial for starting one’s own company: The General Management Plus Program of WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management offers participants the opportunity to co-create social enterprises in emerging markets like Sri Lanka, Cambodia or Mongolia. Since 2013, WHU has been cooperating with the social enterprise BOOKBRIDGE giving its executive education to participants. "Over the years, we have developed more than 600 leaders in GMP+ each of whom has impacted 77 colleagues on average. This means that we have already turned over 46,000 people into purpose-driven responsible leaders worldwide," says BOOKBRIDGE co-founder and WHU alumnus Carsten Rübsaamen and smiles. "We are thus changing entire organizations towards more innovation and value-based leadership.”

Read the full article here.


FT Executive Education Ranking: #37 in the Open Programs Category

In the recently published Financial Times Executive Education: Open-Enrollment Programs Ranking 2020, the open continuing education program for managers at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management has achieved an excellent second place in Germany. In Europe, WHU is one of the 25 best executive education providers and ranks 37th in a global comparison.

This ranking is of great interest to managers who would like to take advantage of the high-quality offerings of higher education without participating in a full EMBA degree program. An open executive education program offers the opportunity to acquire specific management skills and methodological knowledge. Networking with other program participants is also an important factor for many. However, there is a wide range of offers on the further education market and they often differ significantly in quality. The Financial Times Executive Education Ranking is therefore an important orientation aid for interested managers.

WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management is one of the top addresses in Germany for the continuing education of experienced managers. The portfolio includes customized programs for individual companies, open programs for individual participants or small groups of companies and the Certified-in-Programs, a further education option at MBA level. In May 2020, WHU expanded the Executive Education portfolio to include online formats in the areas of negotiation, design thinking and coaching. In the "Open Programs", WHU offers seminars on digitization, entrepreneurship, finance, leadership and negotiation strategies, among others.

In this year's FT Ranking, the business school was able to improve its ranking by a further eight places compared to last year's result. "The ranking confirms that WHU has established itself in international competition with its executive education programs," says Professor Dr. Markus Rudolf, Dean of WHU. "It reflects not only the high quality of the program, but also the commitment and hard work we put into the continuous improvement of our teaching".

For the third time, WHU is now participating in the Financial Times Executive Education Ranking. In 2018, it reached 60th place, and by 2020 it is already among the top 40 executive education providers worldwide. This advancement was achieved in particular through improvements in the categories "Preparation" (rank 25), "Course Design" (rank 27), "Teaching" (rank 31) and "Faculty" (rank 34). WHU also scored particularly well in terms of the internationality of its participants (25th place). The FT Executive Education Ranking lists the 75 best international continuing education programs in the category "Open Programs". They are ranked according to the quality of teaching, the course structure and the diversity of participants. The evaluation is based on information from the universities as well as on surveys of program graduates. "We are pleased that our participants are so satisfied with the course design, the faculty and the diversity of the program," says Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director Executive Education, enthusiastically. "They recognize that we offer an excellent further education for executives on an international level with our Executive Education programs."

In January, WHU's MBA program already achieved an excellent position in the Financial Times MBA Ranking 2020, once again taking first place among German universities. In a European comparison, WHU is one of the top 15 MBA providers, worldwide it ranks 64th.


Excellence in Management Education

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

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