“One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal – one golden glance of what should be” are the lyrics from the song “It’s a kind of magic” from Queen, the legendary British rock band. In fact it seems that the melody, rhythm and text were always in our ears during the creation of the new concept and design for the Corporate Magazine FAST FORWARD. The project has enabled a dream to come true for us. We were given the opportunity and asked to rethink the strategy to challenge ourselves and our readers. The result is a magazine that in one or two places is different to the standard corporate magazine. It excites, motivates and mobilizes. And perhaps casts a spell. It’s a kind of magic.
One shaft of light that shows the way
Companies such as MANN+HUMMEL increasingly position themselves via issues. The forming of the brand is made via all possible channels. The challenge of fine dust particles and cabin filtration has allowed MANN+HUMMEL to become a pioneer for innovative solutions for these problems and the brand is also seen to set the agenda. These subjects, however, demand a suitable channel which is accessible to the general public.
Roughly 15,000 customer magazines are published every year in Europe. This makes for an annual circulation of around 990 million copies. 66% of those responsible for communication and brand management even wish to further expand the production of content. But we are not talking just about magazines. The focus is rather on a holistic communication concept and a communication strategy. In cooperation with Sinikka Kenklies, Corporate Publishing Manager at MANN+HUMMEL and Gero Joshat, Corporate Communications Manager at MANN+HUMMEL, the “wirDesign-Team” took up this challenge.
Right from the start we took care to ensure that the stories did not only conform to traditional reading habits and text forms. At all times we took into consideration what could also happen to the content and how we could break out from the constraints of a printed publication.
This is because due to the completely changed information landscape those who today only rely on the medium of printed paper will limit the distribution range. The magazine in the form of a physical bundle naturally has a limited range. But in theory the content contained within the magazine can be exploited endlessly, whereby here a link to the internet, or a request to participate in a campaign, are just two examples.
The bell that rings inside your mind
So how can one implement such a contribution? You get your hands dirty! And that is meant literally. We had a specific concept in mind about how to use photography to capture the dramatic language background of the subject of fine dust. But the question was how to present fine dust. Then one morning our colleague Veruschka, Project Manager at wirDesign, came into the office with a Tupperware container. “I have cleaned my chimney and collected the ashes”, she coolly answered our questioning gazes.
Then there was more than magic in the air! Along the lines of “Something in the air”, we prepared a surface and then covered the surface with the plunder from our colleague’s chimney. Then we held an extended photo session. During the shooting we tried out numerous blurring effects.
This created the impression that someone had swept away the threatening and harmful particles. And what will be the effects of this photo session on our health? Full physical involvement for a perfect result.
This flame that burns inside of me
We have learnt that the employees of MANN+HUMMEL are highly motivated and feel passion for their products. It would be a lie to deny we understand why, and this was exactly our experience when we created the magazine. This is the only way articles such as “Batteries Charging the Revolution” can be created, where Dr. Michael Harenbrock talks to a taxi driver on the way to Stuttgart airport. Some might say, so what? The two drove alone, just accompanied by a dictation machine.
You can read the result in the 2018 January issue. The article “Clean City” is also characterized by commitment and initiative. We asked the employees of MANN+HUMMEL to submit photographs of interesting projects or ideas for a clean city. The team also contributed with exciting pictures to create an impressive slide show. The consequence of these types of idea was that the flame never went out and the sparks of inspiration were continually transferred between the MANN+HUMMEL team and wirDesign.
What is FAST FORWARD all about? It concerns new perspectives, new narrative forms, an unconventional design and products, projects and characters who contribute a little towards making the world a better place. The magazine is a platform for change. The stories, reports and interviews show ways to separate the harmful from the useful. This is exactly how we handled our ideas. We filtered the good ones from the bad ones. There are, however, many interesting ideas in the pipeline so that we can look forward to the second issue. But that is a different story.