The first Love Magenta shop is opening today at Deutsche Telekom headquarters in Bonn. Alexander Engelhardt, Head of Brand Management, explains why the company is starting its first stationary merchandising shop in addition to its website.
Mr. Engelhardt, the "Love Magenta" online shop has offered a wide variety of products for just over two years now. Is the opening of your first bricks-and-mortar shop the start of a big thrust in the merchandising business?
Alexander Engelhardt: No, I wouldn't say that. Our retail shop is a complement to our existing online shop, which is very popular among many of our employees, as well as externals. Its purpose is to raise the profile of Love Magenta and to give people the opportunity to try products out, and on, before they buy. You might remember that we've done this in the past with pop-up stores at other Deutsche Telekom locations. The bricks-and-mortar shop provides another way to experience the brand directly.
So the motivation for the Love Magenta activities is primarily brand-driven?
Alexander Engelhardt: Definitely! The aim of Love Magenta is to provide a platform for identifying with the company. 80 percent of our employees are proud of our brand. Love Magenta gives them an opportunity to express this pride visibly. It turns the color magenta into a statement of loyalty to our brand and our company. And it's attracting an increasing number of employees and customers.
Magenta is a fashionable color. But if you don't mind my asking, isn't the focus that Love Magenta strives for too much of a good thing?
Alexander Engelhardt: Fashionable or not – the color serves an important purpose for us. When people see magenta, they know: Deutsche Telekom is talking. Around the world, you'll find very few companies that are as associated with a color as we are associated with magenta. It gives a huge efficiency advantage in our communications, which we want to leverage. When we created the Love Magenta concept, however, it was very important to us from the start that people enjoy all the items in everyday use. We don't want their identification to end when they leave the Group campus. A very subtle approach is required for some products. A giant "T" isn't always helpful, nor is excessive use of the color.
How is Love Magenta being received?
Alexander Engelhardt: The response to the concept has been highly positive from the start. Above all, people appreciate the high quality, attention to detail, and wide range of products available. Whether in the private sphere, at team events, or as presents for customers and colleagues: Love Magenta has something for every occasion.
Can men wear items from the magenta collection, too?
Alexander Engelhardt: I was expecting that question… (laughs). To clear away with the preconceptions: magenta has long been a lifestyle color for both men and women; we just have to make sure it's used in the right amount and for the right occasions. The success of our magenta sneakers is proof of this: they're popular among male and female employees alike. It's great from a brand perspective, because the sneakers have strong recognition and identification factors in the "magenta family".
The holiday season is fast approaching. What offers can we look forward to?
Alexander Engelhardt: I can think of quite a few things. We've relaunched our highly successful backpack just in time for the pre-holiday season, for example. But let's be honest: gift-giving is very personal and, of course, is always a matter of taste. We're planning new products with our partner Adidas again this coming spring. So it's always worth stopping by our online shop for a look. Or our new Love Magenta shop at headquarters.