The Zapf Daigfuss Story: How the world’s oldest sand-lime brick became a strong brand

The brand

Zapf Daigfuss is a family-owned company and has been producing sand-lime bricks – since its foundation in 1899. The operation in Schwaig near Nuremberg is run by Dr. Hannes Zapf, the fourth generation managing partner. The company had a hand in several innovations in the construction industry and today is the market leader for sand-lime bricks in Bavaria. Zapf Daigfuss currently has over 130 employees at five locations. We noticed immediately that the way these employees interacted with existing and potential customers was very personal and familiar. And even though the company is working in a very old industry and is deeply steeped in tradition, the innovative spirit of the brand was almost palpable. They started early to research and develop hybrid bricks that combine several materials. What also surprised us during our first meeting in 2015 was that all employees, even the production workers, had a company smart phone and were connected with one another via an employee app.

The goals

Zapf Daigfuss was looking for a clear positioning to set them apart in the market from large brick producers like Wienerberger. At the same time, Dr. Zapf and his management team wanted to show what their company can do and how future-oriented their activities are. What was particularly interesting: They wanted a brand identity that united the achievements of four generations with the innovative spirit of today. For a clear strategy in the future.

Zapf Daigfuss Mission Masonry Stone

The status quo

As operations grew to five locations, it was becoming increasingly difficult to generate a common spirit among employees. In addition, the plants had different names, which made it harder for employees, applicants and customers to get a clear image of the brand. In the market, sand-lime bricks are seen as a standard, interchangeable product. Unfortunately, the 120 years of history were just not attractive enough. To truly differentiate from the competition, they needed more than tradition and bricks – if they didn’t want use pricing as their main selling point. Our core question was: What makes Zapf Daigfuss unmistakable?

Developing the brand based on our own identity and ultimately summing it all up in two words – that is an art!

Dr. Hannes Zapf, Personally Liable Partner Zapf KG

The development process

  1. Developing the Zapf Daigfuss DNA: The key achievements of 120 years and the strengths of today’s active staff merged to form the Zapf Daigfuss brand core
  2. Generating a unique positioning and a clear strategy for the future
  3. Training brand guides to convey the common spirit and identity of the brand across all plants, from office to production
  4. Building a strong employer brand to address applicants directly
  5. Enabling management staff to represent the joint identity with clear standards

The Zapf Daigfuss DNA

The Zapf Daigfuss DNA

The result

  • More visibility
  • More identification
  • More sales
  • Easier staff acquisition
  • Less time wasted on ineffective marketing

The “Mission Mauerstein” (Mission Masonry Block) sums up the entire DNA from over 120 years of company history and the motivation of the employees at Zapf Daigfuss. So it’s about more than just sand-lime bricks. The masonry block category opened things up to lots of innovation and created differentiation in the market.

But Mission Mauerstein was so much more than that: Suddenly, the sense of connection among employees grew, as all of them were on the same mission. Starting in 2017, the message “Mission Mauerstein” was written not only on the lorries. From answering machine text to targeted marketing activities to the training of lorry drivers, the common identity was implemented step by step.

After three years, Dr. Zapf wrote us a letter describing how Mission Mauerstein had changed the company and its reputation. That’s when we knew we had created more than a short-term marketing campaign. We had developed a long-term compass and identification anchor, for employees and customers alike.

But we even went one step further and conveyed the Zapf Daigfuss spirit to applicants. Under the heading “Jobs for progress-makers” we show applicants what is so different about Zapf Daigfuss as an employer. Since then, the employer brand makes it easier to attract staff and explains in unmistakable terms why someone should want to work for Zapf Daigfuss rather than anywhere else:

“Zapf Daigfuss is the place for people who want to make a difference and are looking for a personal, familiar work culture and noticeable progress in northern Bavaria”.

The bottom line is that the company has been working with our brand identity and strategy since 2016.

What makes us especially happy: Dr. Zapf still sends us a handwritten card every Christmas, describing the progress that was made possible by our work.

Thank you dear Dr. Zapf for your loyalty and appreciation! We wish you continued success with Mission Mauerstein!

Deeper insights into “Zapf Daigfuss”

Zapf Daigfuss Mission Masonry Stone

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