Taking a stand, adding purpose, and generating improvements from change – this is the driving force behind KMS TEAM, the Munich-based strategy and design agency with offices in Berlin and Duesseldorf.

»Companies and branding are undergoing a profound transformation,« says Simon Betsch, Managing Partner and brand strategist at KMS TEAM. »Climate change, digital transformation, economic and social disruptions are no longer just concerning a small minority. The problems the world must solve really fast have now penetrated the public consciousness,« adds Patrick Märki, Creative Director and Managing Partner at KMS TEAM. »And they are changing the mindsets of all stakeholders – in companies and across the board. No one wants to be complicit in maltreating the globe anymore.«

KMS sees itself as a »think-and-do tank« that gets involved in processes at a very early stage to ensure that changes yield improvements.

To achieve ambitious growth targets, providing aesthetically pleasing solutions is no longer enough these days. A suitable, goal-oriented strategy generates strength and the identification potential to reinforce connections, exceed expectations and thus enable future success.Even at the initial stages, the team spends considerable time and energy exploring the core issues with their customers. »The key is to identify the right variables of influence so that we can then act with foresight and courage,« says Patrick Märki. »In strategy, we map out the best possible alignment of a company with its future goals – and create central reference points for the organisation and its management, for branding and for internal and external communication. « »Clearly, this cannot be produced singlehandedly, « adds Simon Betsch. »That is why we gather team players who want to inspire and challenge each other and win together. »We seek to instill purpose with bold, progressive and sustainable solutions.«

Change always holds the opportunity for improvement

One interesting project worth mentioning is the work for Schneider Writing Instruments. A longstanding German company which, at the time, was just passing on to the next generation. Naturally, quite a lot was bound to get in motion. The heirs did recognise that with their ballpoint pens and markers, they had been producing a »world’s best« product for decades. But what good is that if customers are unaware of it? Well, that surely was about to change. In extensive market and opinion studies, KMS TEAM identified the market potential for everyday writing instruments and developed the company’s strategic positioning to logically derive the visual identity and tonality from – in both product and communication. At the same time, the change in the company also required to clarify entirely different questions, namely: How do we want to make decisions? And who plays which role? The brand idea was anchored in the company’s management. With a minimal media budget, a strong brand came into being that has roughly doubled its sales since 2009.

The invigorating power of change

Developing a new communications concept for one of Germany’s most important museums, including positioning, corporate design, typography, digital/UX/UI design, brand communication and campaign, is quite a feat. The Staatsgalerie Stuttgart is housed in an icon of architectural postmodernism, the multiple award-winning building designed by James Stirling. Finding the right and powerful setting for this institution and its unique collection is inconceivable without strategic positioning. For designers, the most appealing aspect of such collaborations is the opportunity to connect with other personalities, with other organisation types, and with other company sizes. According to KMS TEAM, this is how to keep fresh, inspired, and constantly provided with new stimulus, which is essential for maintaining a vibrant creativity.

»Everyone learns in the process. For everyone, working together is a benefit – and usually a treat, too.«

Tradition and innovation make a good match

How do you take a 150-year-old traditional bank into the digital age? Zürcher Kantonalbank, an institution that serves all of the canton’s residents, has an important social mission: to be a universal bank for all customer groups, for private and business customers, from students to billionaires. With an opinion study on the future role of the bank, KMS TEAM analyses market and customer expectations: How relevant are digital tools for society? How much can the bank modernise while still remaining a trusted financial partner? It turns out that technology is only one decisive competitive factor. The other is trust. For Zürcher Kantonalbank, it is essential to reconcile these two factors anew.In close cooperation with the Management team, KMS TEAM repositioned the brand in the highly competitive banking market and translated the vision and brand values into a futureoriented self-image. Also internally, the brand concept now serves as a strategic management tool. For example, it helps employees to design and integrate new products and services.

Patrick Märki, Managing Partner - After completing his Music and Graphic Design studies in Basel, Patrick Märki acquired his international experience in Munich, where he met KMS TEAM. The art of creating harmonies on multiple levels and the courage to generate innovation with improvisations are his most distinctive hallmarks.

Simon Betsch, Managing Partner - As head of KMS Team’s Brand Strategy competence area, Simon Betsch advises national and international clients on strategic brand management and brand development. His energy and perseverance for pushing change knows no bounds.

The Power of Gestaltung

The scope of KMS TEAM’s grasp of the concept of design will be showcased in an event at the mcbw 2022. »The Power of Gestaltung« invites you to learn about KMS TEAM’s projects, ideas, processes and mindset – all far beyond beautiful!

More information on KMS TEAM via  www.kms-team.com

The conversation with Patrick Märki and Simon Betschwas first published in the mcbw MAG as part of mcbw 2022.