Marketing is not only important for companies. Federal states also need it to be attractive to people and companies. And that’s exactly what Stefan Franzke does. Formerly for the state of Niedersachsen, since 2014 for Berlin as CEO of Berlin Partnerfor Business and Technology. That sounds like a success story. And as is so often the case, they begin quite differently than we would expect.
EARLY ON AT THE TOP
In Stefan’s case, this success story begins in Niedersachsen, where he was born and raised. He studied mechanical engineering in the state capital of Hanover. So Stefan is a trained mechanical engineer, which at first has little to do with marketing or politics. He then also earned his doctorate in Hanover and worked together with his doctoral supervisor for the Institute for Integrated Production, a spin-off of the University of Hanover. Already here, Stefan rose to the position of managing director and gained his first experience in this field.
Stefan also climbed the next rung on the career ladder through the contacts of his doctoral advisor, who worked in an advisory capacity for the top politicians of the state of Niedersachsen. Among them was the then Prime Minister Sigmar Gabriel. For his plan to dissolve the district government, Stefan became active for the first time for the state of Niedersachsen.
FEDERAL STATE BRAND-BUILDING
And that was to remain the case for a while. Stefan became head of the Niedersächsischen Innovation Center, where he was responsible for the state’s national and international marketing. That wasn’t easy at all, since Niedersachsen was known at the time primarily as the land of Schröder and Volkswagen, which didn’t market itself very well.
For many years, Stefan worked for the state in the north and was constantly on the lookout for local strengths that could be highlighted and sold. “Selling the product of Niedersachsen for eleven years made me fit for Berlin,” he tells the podcast. He then headed to the capital in 2014 when Berlin Partner for Business and Technology was looking for a new CEO.
Berlin Partner for Business and Technology is a business development company that wants to attract companies and talent to the Spree. To this end, the CEO accompanies Berlin politicians such as Michael Müller and Ramona Pop on trips abroad to promote Berlin. In the podcast, he explains to us how important credibility is for such location marketing and that it is precisely the Berlin Partner network that marks this credibility: “230 players from all sectors give us the credibility in marketing that Berlin is cool.”
COOLNESS FACTOR CREATIVITY
Berlin’s creative industries play a particularly important role in this coolness factor. After all, it is precisely the creative sector that constantly brings in new demands and stimulates upheavals that keep Berlin lively and wild. That’s why Stefan explicitly calls for free space for the creative industry. “The creative industry is very good at breaking rules in a constructive sense,” Stefan praises the industry.
If you want to know even more about brand-building, the Berlin Partner Network and what it offers creative professionals, it’s best to listen to the podcast with Timm Lindenau. There you can also find out how Stefan became a Berliner over a gin and tonic with Klaus Wowereit.