The Zapf Daigfuss Story: From the world’s oldest sand-lime brick plant to a strong brand
Zapf Daigfuss is a family-owned company and has been producing sand-lime bricks since its foundation in 1899. The company is managed by Dr. Hannes Zapf in Schwaig near Nuremberg in the fourth generation. The company has been involved in several innovations in the construction industry and is today the market leader for sand-lime bricks in Bavaria. Currently, the company employs over 130 people at 5 locations. It quickly became apparent that the way the employees dealt with customers and prospects was particularly personal and close. And although the company is active in a very old industry and is bursting with tradition, you could sense that there is an enormous will to progress in the brand. Thus, early research was conducted on hybrid bricks, which combine several materials. We were also surprised at the first meeting in 2015 that every employee, including the production people, had a company smartphone and were connected via an employee app.
Zapf Daigfuss was looking for a clear positioning to differentiate itself on the market from large brick manufacturers such as Wienerberger. At the same time, Dr. Zapf and his management team wanted to finally show what the company is all about and how future-oriented the company is. Here was particularly interesting: the brand identity should combine the achievements of four generations with the innovative spirit of today. For a clear strategy in the future.
The starting situation
As operations expanded to five locations, it became increasingly difficult to create a common spirit among employees. In addition, the plants had different names, which made it difficult for employees, applicants and customers to get a clear picture of the market. On the market, the sand-lime brick as a standardized product is considered interchangeable. The 120 years of history alone were unfortunately not attractive enough. For true differentiation needed more than tradition and the stone – if not to sell on price. Our core question was: what makes Zapf Daigfuss distinctive?
Developing the brand out of ourselves and putting everything into two words at the end is an art!
Dr. Hannes Zapf, General Partner Zapf KG
The development process
- Development of the Zapf Daifuss DNA: The top performances of 120 years and the strengths of the acting persons of today merged to the Zapf Daigfuss brand core
- Development of a unique positioning and a clear strategy for the future
- Training of brand pilots who communicate the common spirit and identity of the brand across all plants from office to production
- Establishment of a strong employer brand for the targeted approach of applicants
- Empowering managers to exemplify the shared identity with clear standards
The DNA of Zapf Daigfuss
- More visibility
- More identification
- More turnover
- Easier personnel acquisition
- Less time wasted on ineffective marketing
The “Mission Mauerstein” condenses all the DNA from more than 120 years of history and the drive of the employees at Zapf Daigfuss. So it’s about more than sand-lime bricks. The masonry block category opened the space for a lot of innovation and brought differentiation to the market.
But the Mauerstein mission was much more: Suddenly, the employees’ sense of connection increased, since they were all on the same mission. It was not only on the trucks that you could read Mission Mauerstein from 2017. From answering machine text to targeted marketing activities and training for truck drivers, the shared identity was implemented step by step.
After 3 years, Dr. Zapf wrote us a letter describing how Mission Mauerstein had changed the company and its reputation. That’s when we realized we had created more than a short-lived marketing campaign. We had developed a long-term compass and identification anchor, for employees and customers.
But we went one step further and conveyed the Zapf Daigfuss spirit to applicants. Under the menu “Jobs for progress makers” we show applicants what is special about Zapf Daigfuss as an employer. Since then, the employer brand has facilitated access to personnel and clearly explains why someone should work at Zapf Daigfuss of all companies:
“Zapf Daigfuss is the first address for doers who are looking for a personally familiar working atmosphere and tangible progress in northern Bavaria.”
The bottom line is that the company has now been working with our brand identity and strategy since 2016.
But what makes us especially happy is that Dr. Zapf still writes a handwritten card every Christmas describing the progress that has been made possible by our work.
Thank you dear Mr. Dr. Zapf for your connection and appreciation! And continued success on the masonry mission!
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