NESS Wärmetechnik GmbH has been developing solutions for process heating systems in Remshalden near Stuttgart in Germany for over 50 years, making it one of the world’s leading suppliers in this field. We interviewed NESS Wärmetechnik and the young start-up company that is currently supporting the medium-sized company about the company’s current communication strategy.

Interview with Jan Ohrmann, Marketing Director at NESS Wärmetechnik | Matthias Schmid, Co-Founder at FOKUS Media

Easy Engineering: Thank you for your time. We noticed your current communication campaign. Very nice, by the way. What’s behind it? 

Jan Ohrmann: Unfortunately, some things in marketing have changed drastically in recent months – one can almost speak of years. Face-to-face events such as trade fairs were only possible to a limited extent, if at all. Our strategic orientation in the area of marketing communication in 2022 is therefore focused on the online sector. Especially in the area of social media.

Social media because we see the most direct exchange with customers, suppliers and interested parties here.

Matthias Schmid: With this mindset, NESS is one of the few companies that are already prepared for the future! Social media is also entering the corporate world with a bang. Within a few years, communication has changed from “sterile” to “human” and the change has only just begun. New channels and new content will increasingly feed the market over the next few years and the winners will be those who establish themselves early. At this point, NESS has already taken the first steps towards a digitalised industry and digitalised SMEs. 

Easy Engineering: It’s quite unusual that you’re doing an interview together. As an agency and a company.

Jan Ohrmann: Yeah, right. Quite unusual. Quite sad. Isn’t it actually the case that the “social” part of social media should already be starting now? Just like the guys at FokusMedia, you guys are doing a great job. Why not say that openly? If the interview is published, then of course I will also communicate easyengineering.eu accordingly in a spirit of partnership and at eye level. At least that’s what I understand by social communication. 

Matthias Schmid: Perfect! Social media thrives on cooperation, exchange and human synergy. Wherever people come into contact, react and refer to each other within a public space, win-win situations arise. With NESS, we have found a corporate partner that shares our values, which not only makes my job easier but also maximizes the success of the project by cooperating with other partners.

Easy Engineering: We have seen that you are breaking new ground in employer branding for an industrial company. What is behind your campaign?

Jan Ohrmann: As one of the leading manufacturers of heat transfer oil systems, we as a company have a high level of expertise and great market position in our field, but we are still a medium-sized, family-run company. This has some interesting advantages compared to corporate groups.

For example, if you ask our employees what they like most about working at NESS, you will hear things like personal responsibility, self-determination, loyalty, trust and a family feeling.

These are things that should by no means be taken for granted. We want to give the people who work at NESS a space to express these feelings.

Matthias Schmid: The campaign sets the new standard for employer branding and personnel marketing in D-A-CH: While the vast majority of industrial companies currently primarily brand an image (logo), we are already going further and branding the people behind it. After all, a company is defined by its employees, the working reality they experience, their personality and their expertise. It is also these employees who create trust, not only with potential customers but also with potential future employees.

Easy Engineering: I would like to come back to a statement. In your opinion, what are the advantages of a medium-sized company compared to a corporate group?

Jan Ohrmann: I think a major advantage is the short lines of communication and the associated agility in thinking and acting. For someone who comes from a corporate group, it may feel unstructured at first, but that is mostly because I am allowed and able to understand processes and projects holistically from start to finish. In the end, you’re no longer a single cog in the gearbox, but you build the gearbox together with your colleagues. It’s a completely different working feeling.

To be honest, however, it has to be said that this way of working is not for everyone. This agility also requires flexibility.

Matthias Schmid: As an agency partner, the mentality of medium-sized companies suits us particularly well! It is relatively easy to recognize the true benefits and the down to earth communication makes it easier for the protagonists to perform in front of the camera. We also appreciate agile coordination and flexibility at NESS Wärmetechnik GmbH and especially in the employees.

Easy Engineering: Apart from the industry, the topic of employer branding is currently an important strategic measure for many companies. Do you see this as a trend? What are the intentions behind it?

Jan Ohrmann: Of course, the most important thing in employer branding is to stand out positively from the competition. For me personally, however, the topic goes much further and I would by no means understand it only as a trend or even underestimate it.

It’s not companies that give their employees a face, but employees that give their companies a face. Either you have a cool spirit in your company, great teamwork and social employees, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. It’s as simple as that. Actually, the employees do company branding, if you can put it that way. It’s fun to get to know all the views and ways of thinking of my colleagues, to communicate them and to learn something for myself.

Matthias Schmid: Employer branding is here to stay! I am convinced that this topic will take on enormous proportions.

Digitalization requires companies not only to digitalize processes and avoid paperwork, but also to make the overall communication of the company, product, employees and everyday life available digitally and to package it as appealingly as possible.

The labor market is changing more and more, jobs are becoming more diverse or specific, while the demands on future employees are increasing – the company that has already positioned itself in the context of the target group, communicates its benefits clearly and presents its leading roles as authentic protagonists will get the right employees.

The bar is constantly rising with the generational shift. The demand on qualitative branding and communication of an employer is huge for the coming generation! After all, we live in a world in which 18-year-old protagonists on YouTube inspire millions, so for a 25-year-old high performer, a certain standard must be set in order to go beyond his average attention span.

Easy Engineering: If employees are allowed to speak their mind unfiltered to the outside world, doesn’t that also offer a certain potential for danger?

Jan Ohrmann: Basically, no one simply allows himself to be banned from speaking. And that is a good thing. Employer branding can and should only work if everyone feels taken seriously, understood and valued. After all, it is a constant give and take. Working for a company or for a company makes a huge difference. I think most people know well the feeling of being just a number in the system. We don’t have that.

Matthias Schmid: I find it really exciting when an employee says what he thinks, unfiltered, authentic and real. We refuse to put words in someone’s mouth at work because that’s not necessary at all. 2 years of content production for Employer clearly show: every company has cool protagonists, noteworthy stories and a very personal story that deserves to be told. The risk of negative statements is vanishingly small compared to the wealth of content that opens up.