Brand Strategy, Marketing, Customer Experience, Product Development


Ingeborg Bölitz – Author of a book chapter. "AccorHotels - Wie das Erfolgsrezept Familie die Kissenschlacht gewinnt"


"Why should I book your hotel room?" Is one of the typical customer questions that every tourism company should have a convincing answer to. But why are some providers more successful than others? What characterizes purposeful marketing in tourism and how do you achieve an above-average marketing performance?





New retail store concept for Swarovski based on a profound business plan




Up to then Swarovski was selling its loose components only to wholesaler and designers, which generates the largest share of revenue within its product portfolio.  


According to analyses from futurologists and trend researchers one key finding was the change of customer behaviour, which can be summed up in one phrase “from consumer to producer“ 

More and more juveniles want to excel as producer of their own style and their own personality and creativity.


Business idea

DIY retail stores: Completely new, trendy & exclusive world of DIY where loose basic & trend components, DIY materials, kits & DIFY are offered. The defined products will also be sold at related workshops & events & online.



  • Strategic approach: expansion into a new market segment, address a younger target group by selling loose crystal elements directly to end-consumers in three key markets USA, Europe, Asia
  • Extend the Swarovski business and develop a new DIY market to secure & increase turnover 
  • Create a role model for DIY customers: Act a trendsetter and influence standards to achieve DIY market growth by implementing new distribution channels and by addressing a new target group (a more trendy and fashion-oriented consumer in comparison to the existing crafter) 
  • Take advantage of market,- trend,-design,-application- and product expertise as well as the industry network (customers, designers, design schools, etc.) by further vertical integration
  • Further strengthen Swarovski's positioning as a luxury fashion brand by creating a consumer experience that embodies Swarovski's brand values of innovation and modernity



1) Business Plan:

Development of a profound business plan for realisation of a new concept store for three regions (USA, Europe, Asia).

  • Strategic objectives
  • SWOT-Analyses
  • Marketing & Sales Plan Summary (Brand, Product Assortment, Services, Distribution, Pricing, Promotion, Merchandising, Customer Experience, Seasonal and Quarterly Product flow (The basic crystal range is supplemented by seasonal components like shells, feathers, etc. )
  • Operating Plan Summary: Sourcing, Production, Fulfilment, Organization, Interfaces
  • Critical issues for implementation
  • Financial major assumptions (conservative, best, worst, exit): key KPIs: requested start up investment, Revenue (1/3/ 7years), EBIT Margin (1/3/7 years), CAPEX, etc.
  • Key decision points
  • major future milestones


2) Store Conception:

  • According to the creative level of consumers the concept is based on four pillars: Do-it-Yourself (loose components), Do-It-For-You (customizable jewellery), kits (ready-to-start) and statement pieces for inspiration.
  • The product assortment is complemented by additional offerings such as creative courses, special events, a ‘do-it-for-you area’, assembled kits and a very modern coffee bar.

Key elements of the new retail concept are:

  • The store’s “library of light” features over 2,000 elements (including: crystals, pearls, beads, and gems) that are organized by colour and style and takes up an entire wall.
  • large working tables to socialize with other juveniles and store staff as well as used for events
  • coffee / lounge area to enhance customer experience for an accompanying person while assembling the components 
  • Online design tool, which can be used in-store or at home – that allows customers to discover different elements of design and create your own pieces. Likewise, at the store itself, staff is available to offer hands-on guidance.
  • Floating window boxes that allow for unique, eye-catching displays of Swarovski's crystal accessories and fast changing window decoration


Swarovski Crystallized first store opened in London and was soon followed by other flagships in New York, Shanghai and Vienna.


For the first time ever, loose Swarovski crystal components are available to buy individually at the scintillating store, inspiring shoppers to be creative and customize your wardrobe as you wish. Crystallized also stocks a wide selection of other jewellery pieces made with semi-precious stones, metals, wood, and other components. There is also a design studio and personal stylist available to customers in-store. 





Customer Experience is the new Marketing.



Getting good recommendation is the new currency of our modern we-society and has a positive correlation to the average revenue per room.


Based on the following insights "friendship" becomes a new commercial & sales tool:

  • Community members are more than twice as credible as a CEO in 2015 in Germany *
  • 90% of consumers say they would rather buy products from brands with which they can „have a conversation“ espacially via social platforms.*

*Source: Edelmann Trust Barometer 2015



Manage and increase the online reputation score of the hotels brand (ibis, Mercue, Novotel, Sofitel, etc.) within the AccorHotels Group as 95% of the guests read online recommendation before they book a hotel room.



Development and roll-out of new brand markers and train hotel staff on remarkable services attitudes to create wow-effects and positive occations to write about on online repuation platforms like TripAdvisor to set AccorHotels apart from its competitors.



For example the implementation of the 'Service Spirits' at ibis hotels increased the e-Reputation and thus RevPar +1,2% in average





Leverage data to develop a strategy. Risk assessment – PREMIERE vs. NEW BRAND




  • Premiere AG faces stagnating subscriber numbers and revenues
  • Premiere AG aims to achieve approximately 3.8m residential subscribers by the end of 2013 with this program
  • After a profound data-driven brand evaluation findings illustrated that this aim was hardly to achieve with PREMIERE



  • Risk assessment – PREMIERE vs. NEW BRAND
  • Accomplish a brand evaluation to assess relevant options with a strong market and customer orientation


Key results and Rationale

  • NEW BRAND addresses a larger customer base. Due to PREMIERE's negative image more than 280,000 target customers did not subscribe
  • NEW BRAND supports the acquisition of more subscribers. 3.7 m to 3.9 m total subscribers are expected for NEW BRAND by the end of 2013 versus 3.0 m to 3.2 m subscribers for PREMIERE
  • With the launch of NEW BRAND a faster business break-even in 2011 is expected, not before 2013 for PREMIERE
  • Launch of NEW BRAND carries less risk. A re-launch of PREMIERE is much more difficult to control


Management decision-making basis:

The launch of NEW BRAND carries less risk than PREMIERE re-launch – overall easier to control and less unknowns

  • Building NEW BRAND is linear
    • Awareness generation in the overall TV market – straight forward achievable through marketing
    • Positioning can start from a clean base, no legacy to address – full marketing focus on establishing a new perception
    • NEW BRAND has no risk of 'just another re-launch' attitude among customers, partners and investors – No risk of limited support
    • NEW BRAND makes turnaround tangible for employees
  • In contrast, changing PREMIERE would be more complex
    • dealing with negative legacy which would consume marketing budget and is not predictable
    • Failed past PREMIERE re-launches created insecurity about required measures and direction


  • NEW POSITIONING: significantly broadening the current narrow Pay-TV perception, in order to increase the addressable customer base

NEW BARND communication / advertising

  • Awareness for PREMIERE better but NEW BRAND catches up quickly: Fresh start/'curiosity'
  • To reach relevant set with NEW BRAND is higher because better positioning away from negative 'pay' aspect
  • First choice higher with NEW BRAND – no negative brand legacy
  • Willingness to subscribe significantly better for NEW BRAND as easier to communicate changes

FOCUS Bester Arbeitgeber





Jede Woche entscheidet sich am Kiosk neu, welches der drei großen Nachrichten Magazine – FOCUS, Spiegel, Stern – das Rennen um die besten Verkaufszahlen macht. Den stärksten Einfluß spielt dabei die Titelgeschichte und der Content. Die Verkaufszahlen sind wiederum eine wichtige Messgröße für den Anzeigenkunden Markt.



Stetige Entwicklung von neuem Content, der einen Mehrwert für die Leser des FOCUS Nachrichtenmagazins sowie ein relevantes Werbeumfeld für Anzeigenkunden bietet.  



Focus, XING und Kununu zeichnen Deutschlands beste Arbeitgeber und neue

Arbeitskonzepte, basierend auf einer Befragung von knapp 20.000 Arbeitnehmern, aus.


Hamburg/München/Berlin, 28.01.2014 - Das Nachrichtenmagazin Focus hat am Montagabend in Berlin gemeinsam mit XING, dem führenden beruflichen Netzwerk im deutschsprachigen Raum, sowie Kununu, dem größten deutschsprachigen Arbeitgeberbewertungsportal, die besten Arbeitgeber Deutschlands ausgezeichnet. Darüber hinaus standen die Preisträger

des erstmals verliehenen „New Work Award“ auf der Bühne. Der Preis prämiert innovative Arbeitsmodelle, die Lösungsansätze für die Herausforderungen der Arbeitswelt von morgen liefern.



Positionierung des FOCUS als Agenda Setter

Zusatzerlöse durch Themenspecials im Werbekunden- und Leser-Markt 

Zusatzerlöse durch die Siegel-Vermarktung



Determination the course of action within a number of possible solutions.




The media and publishing company Burda started an internal optimization program based on findings of an employee survey.

The program was grouped into six subprojects (leadership, information flow, employee development, employer branding, communication, project management) and I was one of the subproject leaders.


Challenge Information flow:

  • How to guarantee transparency
  • How to deal with sensitivity of information
  • Information flow versus overflow 
  • Dealing with information vacuum from bottom to top and vice versa
  • Proactive attitude of all executives



  • Develop ideas for a better flow of information, which makes the company more efficient and increases the employee’s satisfaction
  • Empower employees and increase their responsibility to participate
  • Implement a new working method based on interdisciplinary project groups, develop and implement measures bottom up and thus have a high acceptance
  • Shape the corporate culture of the Burda News Group together



  • Within a series of workshops with employees from different departments we developed more than 25 ideas and underpinned each with business case.
  • KPIs: resources needed versus savings and period of time the measure has paid off (ROI, estimated costs for implementation, time effort, savings through less time to get the information) 
  • To evaluate the ideas and select those that carry the highest benefits to an organization I used a project priority matrix as a management tool.
  • The Project Prioritization Matrix helps to easily identify those initiatives from a wish list that offer the highest return of investment for the least effort.
  • The matrix divides all projects by the ease of implementation and their impact. Highest impact and the easiest to implement projects should be completed first. 



Decision document outlining five key measures proposed

Presentation to the management

Implementation after approval


Promote collaboration on a particular project.



  • My team and me we just implemented the brand refresh of Premiere within a short time frame when the company got acquired by the News Corp changing the whole corporate strategy. 
  • As a result, the whole budget was frozen and we had to start again according to the new company strategy.
  • Team was demotivated.



  • Reward and recognize the success already achieved / first milestones
  • Open communication: explain the new situation
  • Actively listening: to the concerns and needs of team members and valuing their contribution and expressing this
  • Peer recognition: invite team members to recognize the teammates they appreciate 


  • outing to a day event with a group dinner were much appreciated and had the added bonus of allowing teammates to develop stronger connections through socializing
  • used the day to renew the common vision and the commitment to team processes, leadership & accountability  




Invent and Simplify



Social media accounts (for all hotel brands) were hosted by the marketing department. This slowed down the pace and constant actuality of the content.



  • Decentralize the care for the social media accounts
  • Empower and train hotel staff to run the accounts
  • Develop and implement a newsroom desk. It's a content platform hotel staff can use a source of inspiration for their local hotel account


  • hotel staff assumed responsibility what had a positive effect on their commitment
  • increase of likes and fans
  • increase of customer experience due to constant actuality of content
  • higher ranking at web search and review platforms like trip advisor
  • KPI: raise of 1% NPS allows an increase amount of 2 EUR per overnight accommodation

​Example of a spontaneous created story by empowered and trained hotel staff


Ingeborg Bölitz