Renaming and rebranding at Haas

Published: | Adelbert Haas GmbH

Since the beginning of 2000, Dirk Wember has been a shareholder and managing director of Haas Schleifmaschinen GmbH. He shares this task with his daughter Marie-Sophie Maier-Wember and with his long-time partner and chief technology officer Thomas Bader

Haas Schleifmaschinen GmbH will now be known as Adelbert Haas GmbH.

Speaking with Grinding & Surface Finishing magazine, Dirk Wember, managing director of Adelbert Haas GmbH looks back and reflects on its pioneer and founder Adelbert Haas, while looking to the future.

Changing a company name and brand logo is a significant change for any organisation. Both are, after all, the epitome of reputation, trust and, in addition, a value proposition in themselves. Would you agree?

Dirk Wember: I completely agree with you on that, yet there are important occasions to do so. That's precisely why we didn't go for an extreme renaming and come up with some meaningless word creation. The need for a cautious brand evolution has become more and more imposing in recent years and now we are boldly taking this step. I would like to explain the reasons for this and perhaps one or two other machine manufacturers are also facing this challenge and can use us as an example.

What were your reasons for taking this step?

I´ll tell you the main reason that has been on my mind for years. We have long outgrown our previous name, Haas Schleifmaschinen. The name limits us far too much and at some point, in the near future, slows down our business development instead of giving it a proper boost. We don´t build grinding machines, we develop unique technologies and are valued for our solution expertise. Our own software plays a decisive role in the requirements of the future. As a company, we are a hybrid and unique in our industry. On the one hand, we are a machine manufacturer in the grinding segment and, on the other hand, we are a software pioneer with solutions that make us interesting outside our very specific industry. When we reach limits at Haas, we want to overcome them as quickly as possible, currently with a new appearance and technologically anyway. 

Is there a specific example that illustrates this?

One good example, from many, would be Styx. With our Multigrind® Styx software, we visualise and optimise complete production processes before the workpiece to be ground is even clamped into the machine. This digital test bed for 3D optimisation offers, with its 1:1 visualisation, maximum control, pixel-perfect and without restriction. This saves a lot of time and unnecessary grinding of expensive blanks. After all, it doesn't take much imagination here to envision what this technology could do in related industries as well.

Are there any additional reasons?

A common reason for changing the brand name is also successful internationalisation. This has also occurred in our case. We are advancing on all continents and this naturally generates conflicts. For us, a unique position in the market is indispensable. We want to clearly define ourselves with our cutting-edge technology and generate even more interest in our solution offerings worldwide. To do this, we need to differentiate ourselves to avoid any possible confusion. With the new name Adelbert Haas GmbH we strengthen the brand protection internationally and still remain flexible for what we have planned for the future.

What does all this have to do with the founder, Adelbert?

With Adelbert we want to create an awareness of our origin from the Black Forest. Adelbert Haas turns origins into the future. We have always been innovators, pioneers and "won´t work, doesn´t exist" enablers.  We are consistent, courageous and always close to the challenges of our customers. These characteristics have characterised us for almost 90 years and are an immutable part of our corporate DNA. That's why the decision to go with Adelbert Haas GmbH just fell into our laps.

Isn't Adelbert Haas GmbH a bit too bulky, especially outside the language area?

Yes, of course the name is bulky and that's a good thing as a name with rough edges initially causes discussions, but pays off in the long run. We are not afraid of the tongue twister, we have become far too relevant in the market for that. It is precisely what is unusual about our Adelbert that makes it special and we want to be special for our customer, too. The company has never lacked uncompromising courage, on the contrary. Who else in our industry would have named their new tool grinding machine Multigrind Radical? We think radically differently, act in a future-oriented way and that is exactly what our customers appreciate.

People certainly need some time to get used to the Adelbert. We are happy to take this time. Acceptance and identification are very important to us, both internal and external. Just imagine our loyal customers, the Haas brand means a lot to them and suddenly they are presented with some fantasy name? Then you take away something they valued and trusted. We want to preserve our added value and with it our attitude and our aura.

It is clear, however, that even if our motives are valid, they will of course be questioned by the public and that is a good thing. Our new name has to measure up to the previous one, so we didn't want a blank slate. We have proceeded cautiously and yet courageously. With a completely new brand name, memories are lost and we avoided that with the decision to change name to Adelbert Haas GmbH.

Why was the decision made now, our readers will ask themselves. Are there any other special reasons for the timing of this announcement? 

I will make this as clear as possible so that no misunderstandings arise: There is no outside investor at Adelbert Haas. We have not merged. We were also very successful during Corona and even used the time to develop our Multigrind Radical. Our order books are full, and we are looking ahead with great confidence. Thomas Bader and I have added another managing director to the circle in the form of my daughter Marie-Sophie Maier-Wember, placing the growth themes of digitisation and software at the very top. If there are still unanswered questions, just call me as I am always happy with direct contact, especially after the past two years.

Can such a change of name go wrong? 

Of course, there is no guarantee. Ultimately, it is the public that decides on success or failure. I can well remember a negative example from past years and, honestly, it still hurts today. The name change from Michael Deckel to ISOG was a fiasco, both in terms of craftsmanship and psychology. All the brand capital that had been built up so successfully, everything that the customer associated with the brand, was lost. We know the result: shutdown in April 2020.

Renaming and rebranding is certainly expensive and requires a lot of marketing know-how. Why didn't you shy away from it? 

The development of a global brand, with its strategic, legal and linguistic challenges, is a real challenge and we were aware of that from the very beginning. Pioneering spirit, however, never looks at the costs first, but has the benefit and result as its goal. On the subject of marketing, that has always been my hobbyhorse and I learned the tools from scratch. If we can't communicate our topics, they won't exist in the market. That's why an offensive communication and marketing strategy is essential. In line with our attitude, we always have the best professionals at the start, also in marketing. Marketing is really fun, just take a look at our current campaign for the launch of the Multigrind Radical. We receive a lot of praise and our competitors maybe a gray hair or two.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and marketing concept with our readers. Dirk Wember: I have to thank you on behalf of Adelbert Haas GmbH and on behalf of all Haas employees.

Adelbert Haas GmbH UK Agent: Kingsbury Tel: 023 92 580371



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