Vice President, Marketing, Munich Airport
“Partnership is one of our brand values and is at the core of our business model. An airport of this size and complexity can only work with strong partners, inside as well as outside. We see ourselves as one team, whether together in one location or connected through our global networks. From our point of view, there is no alternative to partnering.”
Airport branding is a relatively new area of development, currently undergoing rapid evolution. Only a few airports have truly embraced a commitment to branding and building an authentic identity. How important do you think it is for airports to be branded today?
Airports like Munich have already undergone a massive change. In former times, passenger flows, minimum connecting time, and the quantity of connections were the only benchmarks, but now terms like ambience, quality of service, variety of offers, atmosphere, or lifestyle play an important role. This inevitably leads to a new way of thinking, new approaches to leadership, and new perspectives on processes. For us, branding is crucial. We started our own branding process period of great success and strength with a very forward-looking perspective. Our goal is a cultural change and we realize that the key to success lies in the authenticity of our positioning. Branding gives us a new way to express ourselves, even a new language, and therefore it is essential that we know how to speak this new language properly and fluently.
Munich Airport is one of the leading airports in the world, proven by several rankings. What does leadership mean for you? How can a strong brand help to maintain leadership?
A leading position in several rankings underlines our ambitions. So far, so good. But it is no end in itself. Our goal is to become better—we want to provide better service, for instance. We like to be seen as a place where people enjoy spending time. We want to make every visit and encounter a unique experience, which is reflected by our brand core "the spirit of connecting" and our whole brand positioning. So, our brand gives us the orientation, shows us where to aim, and provides internal as well as external effects. To elaborate on one of these effects: The more we can attract the best experts and talents and build Munich airport’s reputation as a good brand to work for, the more capacity and ability we'll have to keep our promise and measure up to our guests’ expectations.
Airports are no longer just a space to contain passenger flows, but are evolving into meaningful destinations themselves. What do you see as the next stage of airport development? How do you want to differentiate?
Today, airports like Munich can no longer be seen as mere infrastructure facilities. Munich airport is more of a multifunctional service center. The so-called non-aviation segment already plays a crucial role and reflects the demands of the market, and the demand will increase. The spirit of connecting is at the core of what we do. So, we will focus on segments in which we can connect people, brands, emotions, dreams, services, and processes. With this focus, we hope to not only satisfy, but also surprise our guests.
Partnering is of high strategic importance to world-leading brands today. How important is partnering for an airport? How will this evolve in the future?
Partnership is one of our brand values and is at the core of our business model. An airport of this size and complexity can only work with strong partners, inside as well as outside. We understand our commitment to partnership on the one hand in terms of how we cooperate together: We are one team! On the other hand, it expresses our strategy, which is to meet the challenges of the future together with our customers and business associates. We believe that true partnerships bring ideas together. We see ourselves as one team, whether together in one location or connected through our global networks. From our point of view, there is no alternative to partnering.
Could you provide an example of a leading brand you admire from outside of your sector? What are the best practices that inspire you on a daily basis?
Red Bull’s impact, intensity, and the way it brings its brand positioning to life is one example. There are also numerous hotels and car manufacturers that go the extra mile and differentiate through wow-factors. In many cases, the product is—I hope, they'll forgive me—almost the same, but it's the brand, expressed by the people and the service, that makes the difference.