When Germany’s No. 1 news channel changes its name, there has to be a really good reason for it.
On January 18, 2018, N24 changed its name to Welt. It was the logical and bold last step toward a genuine multi-channel brand. By joining the daily newspaper Die Welt, the Sunday newspaper Welt Am Sonntag, WELT.de, social media accounts, and the news channel N24, we have created Welt — a brand representing information and opinion that is unique in the world.
This was a process without a precedent that started in 2013 with N24’s acquisition by Axel Springer and the former Welt-group. Working at Welt today may well be one of the most exciting and interesting jobs around.
Following are four points that helped us in being successful.
1. Don’t shy away from discussions. Seek them out. Listen to the doubts of those who question your plans out of true commitment to the brand.
The most valuable discussions are the ones with colleagues who have a strong affinity to the respective brand, who understand it almost intuitively, and are thus able to work proficiently. They are close to the core of the brand and, therefore, make for great conversational partners. They might have good reasons for not immediately championing and cheering on your plans.
Ask your audience. Conduct market research — not to confirm your idea, but to identify the pitfalls with the joining of brands and changing of names. The obtained information has to be common currency for the teams since it is the foundation for every action.
2. Communicate well and empathise with respective partners if you want them to share your passion for the idea. There’s no excuse for poor or barely-there communication.
Viewers, users, and readers. Advertisers and agencies. Business associates. And, last but not least, employees. These are the four target groups for communication and marketing. Each of them has a right to adequate information, a right to discourse, and acknowledgement that their needs and timings are recognised.
A highly complex process like this calls for pinpoint precision. Negligence is not only impolite, it’s dangerous. Whom do I provide with which information, and when? Who needs to know which specific information to make the right decisions while also staying on schedule? Keeping everybody in the loop and up to date is your job, not theirs.
3. Communication and relevance of your information must match. Use all your energy to provide every target group with the real surplus values of the process and name change in a genuine and credible way.
For our users and readers, it all began with a truly new development — a joint Web site at Welt.de — which was launched in September 2016. Video, text, photography, and live coverage by Welt and N24 were integrated in a substantial and compelling manner so each and every story could be told in the best possible way.
Usability and velocity of the new site convinced our users from the start. It was the first truly joint product, and it was superior to both former Web sites from Welt and N24. Reliability on every channel is key, as well as transparency. All the content that is being produced by the same team now carries the same brand name.
Our customers and agencies embraced the idea of a strong environment for their clients — excellent journalism and compelling cross-media concepts that are straightforward in development and implementation. Media power raised to the max.
Our business associates welcomed the clear structures and easy contacts as well as efficiency and success in joint ventures.
And, lastly, for our employees, it was the work for one brand. A brand to which the best of journalism comes naturally and that carries innovation in its DNA. A brand that is indeed unique in the world in terms of cross-mediality.
4. Passion for an idea and emotional variety make for powerful and authentic communication.
The marketing and communication as the last step of our name change from N24 to Welt was designed to carry emotions far and wide. We did work, for instance, with several different films addressing different emotions. The spot shown in movie theatres delivered funny scenes culminating in the slogan “Better if the name fits.”
Meanwhile our TV and social media trailer, “Our history is your history,” emphasised the connection between audience and brand by showing major news events of recent years that have equally gripped and impacted both the audience and the journalists at N24.
Another spot focuses on the exceptional unity of print, digital, and TV that is integral to the Welt brand — a fact we are really proud of. The most popular motive of our campaign was an action shot of Welt journalist Jens Reupert reporting while immersed to the hip in floodwaters. Its message is emotional and clear: N24 becomes Welt. Everything stays brand new.
The number of viewers that had reservations toward our name change, which was low to begin with, was reduced further by the campaign.