The Rebranding Story of EU's Largest HR Service Provider

The Rebranding Story of EU's Largest HR Service Provider

Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: March 25, 2024

The HR market has changed significantly over the past years, according to Mark Pollok – the CEO of Trenkwalder Group, one of the largest HR service providers in Europe.

The "HR evolution," as Mark tells DesignRush, prompted the company to take on rebranding as one of their top priority tasks at the end of 2023.

In this interview, he explains Trenkwalder's decision to come up with new branding strategies after 35 years in the industry, as well as what it takes to do this project right when you are already recognized as one of the top players in the sector.


Who Is Mark Pollok?

Mark stands at the helm of Trenkwalder, bringing a wealth of experience and a forward-thinking approach to business development, customer experience, and HR service technologies. He's been a part of Trenkwalder for over six years, holding roles from Senior VP of Performance Management to CEO.

Every long-lasting company that seeks to rebrand itself should first do a comprehensive brand analysis which can produce the needed insights into the current perception of a brand.

"It was important to understand which brand values we wanted to hold on to and which were outdated so we could determine where we wanted to go," Mark says.

This led to establishing a strategy paper that contained key brand values that Trenkwalder needed to rely on.

The result was a young and fresh brand that stands for:

  • Growth
  • Innovation
  • Trust

The idea was for Trenkwalder to double down on its commitment to digitalization and a holistic approach in solving challenges customers in the HR industry face, Mark continues.

"We wanted to retain the identity of the brand – the red color, which had already symbolized a quality feature for our service that stems from our market expertise."

Trenkwalder Website Homepage
Trenkwalder Homepage | Source: Trenkwalder

However, Trenkwalder had to keep up with the latest branding practices by finding a compromise in terms of refreshing the familiar look by making it "edgier."

"What I was most passionate about was introducing the new digital offers on our homepage. We wanted to set an example when it comes to innovation and digitize the path from application to job," Mark notes.

It All Comes Down to the Data

The data from Trenkwalder's brand analysis showed that the company had a high level of brand awareness among the new generation, but that its services were only partially known.

This meant that it had untapped potential for reintroducing itself to the younger generation, especially among Millennials and Gen Z.

Asked whether his team took the data-driven approach during the rebranding, Mark says they were led by a combination of data and creativity.

"We created a comprehensive target group analysis and derived customer journeys from this research. This method helped us to better understand the needs of our target audience and provide them with the most suitable services," he concludes.

"Rebranding is an emotional process in every company. Some employees want to hold on to the old image, while others see the change as an essential part going into the future."

"A lot of persuasion was required."

Common Pitfalls in the Rebranding Process

To avoid making easy-to-avoid mistakes, Mark says that businesses should clearly define objectives for the rebranding, including the main reason for the change.

It's necessary to conduct market research to learn and understand ongoing trends.

This includes working on:

  1. Internal alignment
  2. Defining timing and communication
  3. Proper budgeting and resource allocation

"The heart of rebranding is always the definition of brand values – This is what makes you unique," Mark argues.

How Trenkwalder's logo looked before and after the rebranding
Trenkwalder's Logo Before (left) & After Rebranding (right) | Source: Trenkwalder

To define brand values, Trenkwalder consulted with both its own employees but also external partners.

"Their input has positively impacted the outcome since it combined the points that were crucial for our company," Mark notes, confirming he's happy with how the project turned out.

Good Things Take Time

The key takeaway from Trenkwalder's branding process is that "good things take time," Mark says, as you have "only one shot at success."

This comes fully in line with the remarks provided by one of the most renowned SEO experts in the U.S., AJ Khon, who was a recent guest on the DesignRush Podcast.

Your Branding Strategy Shouldn't Include Generative AI

The company received very positive feedback from both customers and employees, our interviewee explains.

"We conducted an internal survey a few months before the launch and repeated it sometime after the project was finished. This is a great method for measuring perception."

For more branding insights, check out our podcast with Living Corporate CEO Zach Nunn.

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