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“We want to explore new paths and create corporate indie brands”

Hauke Voß has been responsible at Beiersdorf for brands such as Labello, 8X4 and Hidrofugal for almost two and a half years. But since the beginning of July everything is different. Beiersdorf is breaking new ground for innovation within the company and the new business unit “OSCAR&PAUL – Corporate Indie Brands” under Hauke’s lead is getting the ball rolling. But who are Oscar and Paul? And what is the strategy behind the new division? That and much more you can find out in the following interview.

Hauke Voß, Director of the Business Unit OSCAR&PAUL
Hauke Voß, Director of the Business Unit OSCAR&PAUL

Hauke, what exactly is behind the new business unit OSCAR&PAUL – Corporate Indie Brands?

Hauke Voß: For our existing brands – including Labello, 8X4 and Hidrofugal – over the past two and a half years we have put a clear focus on new ways of brand development and digitization; and the brands have developed very well. With the new business unit, we will go one step further in the future and dare to take innovative approaches at all levels – from positioning and communication to sales – and be an internal source of inspiration. We will create corporate indie brands and introduce new business models that are unique within the Beiersdorf Group.

This is also reflected in our claim, which is at the same time a demand on ourselves: Mastering Corporate Indie Brands. We want to create brands that meet today’s consumer demands for authenticity, meaningfulness and speed. We create these out of our team, in close collaboration with our corporate functions, as well as selected external partners.

Who are the two heads behind your name?

Hauke Voß: Behind it are two outstanding personalities of their time: Oscar Troplowitz and Paul Carl Beiersdorf are known as the founding fathers of Beiersdorf. With reference to their names, we want to reflect on our roots and focus on their core strengths: Inventiveness and business acumen. Oscar and Paul were true brand makers – and are tangible, authentic role models for what we do.

You have decided to work as a business unit within the group – against the trend of setting up a cool innovation lab at a hip location. Why?

Hauke Voß: OSCAR&PAUL – Corporate Indie Brands is not a lab, because we run the business of our brands that have been around for years. We define ourselves as an “embedded business accelerator”, a business unit that implements innovative ideas quickly and courageously. Our aim is to test new business models and develop new, successful corporate indie brands. In addition, we want to give innovative approaches and ideas a new home. For this reason, we deliberately decided not to establish an external lab outside the Beiersdorf campus, which operates independently of the Group.

How does your way of working differ from other areas?

Hauke Voß: Our mission is to consciously think differently and constantly question boundaries. We try to understand trends and markets and to quickly and flexibly develop a tailor-made offer and give impulses. We do all this with great passion and similar working methods of start-ups. We do not simply copy the familiar working methods of the start-up world, but adapt them for our area, thus building a bridge between two worlds. We are also breaking new ground in innovation development and work with our corporate colleagues – especially in research & development and the supply chain – as well as with external partners. We believe that this mix will be the cornerstone of our success and I am very grateful to be working with such a great team of movers and shakers and helping shape Beiersdorf with our new approach.

Your approach sounds exciting. What have you already achieved so far?

Hauke Voß: Thanks to the new positioning of Hidrofugal and the unconventional “Schweißegal” campaign, we have been able to work our way up from position 10 to 5 in the market – a strong result for this brand. We are currently launching the communication for the big 8X4 relaunch. This is not just about a new packaging or a new design – we have developed a completely new concept based on current trends and the latest findings about consumer needs. In autumn we will also be launching a great new brand. We are particularly looking forward to this because it is the first new Beiersdorf brand in more than 30 years! We also have a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline.

Thank you for the interesting insights, Hauke! And good luck for OSCAR&PAUL – Corporate Indie Brands!

Kathrin Erbar

About the editor: Kathrin Erbar

Since 2017, Kathrin is responsible for communication on HR related topics, including e.g. diversity, learning & development, leadership or new work. Before that, she was very much about the figures when she was responsible for financial communications at Beiersdorf for several years.