"A strong brand is a promise kept" - Red Dot spoke with Prof. Matthias Spaetgens, Managing Director Creation Scholz & Friends

Throughout Europe, some 800 “friends” work for this creative company that has made its mark far beyond German borders. The agency owes its success and reputation to its surprise effects that dare to be more than just slick and professional. Coming up with amazing punch lines, scoring with frankness, playing with the stereotypes of well-known
brands – all of this reflects the ingenuity of Scholz & Friends.

Red Dot spoke with Prof. Matthias Spaetgens, Managing Director Creation and partner of Scholz & Friends Holding Commarco, about the role as conductor.

Does Scholz & Friends have a system for promoting creativity?
Creativity is a core priority in our corporate culture. We offer, I hope at least, a culture of openness and flat hierarchies, which is the most important breeding ground for creativity, in my opinion. And I don’t believe that you can force creativity with any kind of process or methodology. We nevertheless work very systematically when developing new campaigns. We begin by searching for an overall concept, which is not tied to any medium. And then we bring that idea to fruition in each of the different areas, from advertising, social media, digital, design and event to PR.

What do learning processes look like within the agency?
Many of the conference rooms and offices of our executives have a round table. Even the original table by Jürgen Scholz still exists. He introduced the table with the idea that when sitting at a round table there’s no hierarchy imposed by the seating arrangement. In fact, the round table has even gained in significance at Scholz & Friends over time. Namely because we now have experts working together who come from very diverse communication disciplines yet stand on equal footing. What counts is the best idea and the best argument, regardless of where it comes from.

What constitutes a strong brand, and what should it be able to deliver?
A strong brand is a promise kept. And in today’s fragmented media landscape, strong brands are those that manage to articulate that promise, or message, consistently and seamlessly across the various channels of communication. Of course, this requires strong leadership and a lot of discipline.

How does the Red Dot Award figure in this assessment?
The Red Dot Award is an exception, as a matter of fact. Not least because our clients are familiar with the competition. That distinguishes the Red Dot Award from countless other competitions that are known only within the advertising and design world.