Dr. Gilbert Heise, 50 years old, 2 kids, married, Studied economics and business informatics, PhD in international marketing, company founder and consultant, since 1996 at Volkswagen, started as a specialist in Digital Marketing, later multi-brand strategy and product strategy. Head of CRM at Group level. Head of global Group Market and Trend Research, Head of Volkswagen Brand Brand and Product Strategy / Portfolio. Since 2 years Head of Global Brand Management, Customer Insights, Media and CI / CD for brand VW
What was your very first job? What does it feel like to look back at it now?
Started in Digial Marketing in 1996 at VW Group.. Many of the ideas I had these days came true, some are still not yet in market. Even Digitalization needs some time :)
Please describe, in your own words, what your current job is and what work it entails.
Director of Global Brand Management, Customer Insights, Media and Ci/CD. This covers a broad span of topics: Defining the Global Positioning of the VW Brand, a new brand strategy, local implematation plans with markets, all based on customer data and insights, brand tracking, developing of a new brand design in line with the brand strategy and new identy/purpose, Roll-Out in all global markets within next 2 years.
How did you discover that the creative world is right for you? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery? Which train of events did bring you to where you are today?
I always started with the consumers and their needs and demands, ecspically the implicit ones. Understanding their needs shows that people are more and more driven by purpose and design and a certain consistency when they decide for brands. Being responsible for the branding of VW worldwide gives me the opportunity to bring the brand experience across connected with these consumers needs. First I was able to influce the product development of our company, now I can create and develop the other customer touchpoints as well
In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how and where do you usually find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant?
I get inspiration from a lot of news-feeds, newsletters and special-interest digital magazines I read each day (e.g. High Snobiety) In addition to that I also meet with all kind of agencies (Trend-, Advertising-, Tech-) across the year. Some events are worth going as well. TED is always a good source of ideas worth spreading. For me its important that I am not just stuck in my industry of cars or mobility, I rather learn from fashion, design and technology as well. And when you are a fan of pop-culture (movies, music, TV series) you can much better understand how society and peoples behavior change and how you can connect to their dreams and needs.
If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, especially for the creative work and innovation it required rather than its recognition or industry success, what would it be?
When I was responsible for multi brand strategy of the Volkswagen Group we won several awards for our clear and differentiated brand positioning of the Group brands (strategies, positioning, CI/CD, Tonality etc.). We won awards recently for our new VW Brand strategy and our brand college concept as well. I am pretty sure that when our new brand design will be revealed in Sept. 2019 it is worth to be rewarded. But more important is that with our new attitude, a lot of proofpoints and the modern and less technocratic design we can win back the hearts of the consumers.