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German Brand Award 2022

»Wir sind Oper Köln!«


Oper Köln is not only innovative on stage: With its brand process, the house has won a German Brand Award

Being the first opera house in the German-speaking world to implement a strategy for its own branding is one thing – winning a prize with it is another. Oper Köln has succeeded in doing just that: The company won the German Brand Award in the category "Excellence in Brand Strategy and Creation – Brand Strategy – B2C" for its “Wir sind Oper Köln!" (“We are Cologne Opera”) presentation, the first of its kind in the country. It was almost enough to win the "Brand Strategy of the Year" award; at the end, Oper Köln even received a “special mention”.

The German Brand Award is a competition of the German Brand Institute. Founded by the German Design Council and GMK Markenberatung to strengthen the topic of brand management as a success factor in the competitive environment, this award is one of the most important German brand prizes. The response has been correspondingly tremendous: With 1200 entries each year, the award is noticed by companies, agencies and service providers and thus represents a gross reach of over 315 million contacts.

With the help of the strategy consulting firm Valoress and with the support of the Board of Trustees of the Oper Köln, the company was the first opera house in Germany to embark on the journey of branding because, despite its central importance for the cultural life of a society, opera "continues to be
exposed worldwide to critical questions regarding its relevance", explains Birgit Meyer, General Manager of Oper Köln. In addition, opera has to compete with other cultural providers for the attention of the audience. "A clear, sharp profile is of central importance: Only in this way can opera become visible and stand out from the sea of offerings," Meyer explains.

The central question was: how is Oper Köln different from other opera houses? What distinguishes its product and the interaction of the many individual trades at Oper Köln? To answer this question, numerous discussions with Valoress experts and workshop rounds took place at the opera. In addition, there was an extensive survey of internal and external staff as well as citizens.

The attitude that opera, as a central cultural institution, is there for all citizens and should be enjoyed by all, is expressed in the slogan “Wir sind Oper Köln!", which was presented to the approximately 430 employees in October 2021 during a "Brand Day". "Community, closeness, passion – these are the core characteristics here at Oper Köln. With this attitude we have moved mountains here over the years in unsteady difficult times and in premises not originally created for theatre," says General Manager Birgit Meyer, commenting on the result, which is also documented in the recently created brand book of Oper Köln This is also reflected in the brand essence: "Fascinate and inspire all people for their lives as a Cologne civic institution"