WÜSTHOF

Family tradition with an edge

We decoded the German knife manufacturer’s corporate DNA and redesigned their brand.

awards
OBJECTIVE

To consolidate and future-proof one of the most respected premium kitchen knife brands in the world,  founded in Solingen in 1814, for the eight generation in the family.

SOLUTION

We used the Business Genome framework to translate company values into a new brand positioning applicable to all touchpoints and designed a modular, flexible and robust visual identity system.

SERVICES

Corporate DNA design
Brand identity design
Brand identity systems
Stationery
Wayinding
Communication
Product graphics
Digital

AWARDS

OBJECTIVE

To consolidate and future-proof one of the most respected premium kitchen knife brands in the world, founded in 1814 in Solingen, for the family’s eighth generation.

SOLUTION

We used the Business Genome framework to translate company values into a new brand positioning applicable to all touchpoints, and designed a modular, flexible, and robust visual identity system.

SERVICES

Corporate DNA design
Brand identity design
Brand identity systems
Stationery
Way-finding
Communication
Product graphics
Digital

Thinking about WÜSTHOF’s heritage has encouraged us to put the cutting experience back at the heart of the brand.

The lack of brand differentiation among premium kitchen knife manufacturers is a complex problem, even for WÜSTHOF, one of the most respected brands in the category. Another problem for WÜSTHOF is the infrequent purchase cycle – top quality knives rarely wear out and even expert cooks are unlikely to make more than a handful of purchases in their lifetime. Founded in 1814 in Solingen, the business has remained in the WÜSTHOF family ever since. The family started rebranding in honour of the arrival of the latest family member, and to focus everyone’s minds on a longer-term vision for the business. The 8th generation of the WÜSTHOF family will join the business around 2040.

FAMILY — PRODUCT
A family name is a guarantee

The WÜSTHOF name on every product guarantees quality for the customer. It means a responsibility not only to the customer, but also to past and future generations that bear our name.

HIGH-QUALITY HERITAGE

To anchor rebranding in WÜSTHOF’s DNA, we identified core values (family, quality, heritage, transformation) and applied them to domains that require the most attention: product design, brand and content, retail, and employee relations. Thinking about the company’s heritage encouraged us to put the “cutting experience” back into the heart of the brand. WÜSTHOF doesn’t make knives, but remarkable tools which delight, empower, and enchant the world’s amateur cooks and professionals.

TRANSFORMATIVE — PRODUCT RANGE
Make knives visible and prominent in their daily environment

Develop products that allow users to store their knives so they are visible – and not hidden in a drawer.

THE KNIFE IS THE HERO

Recreational foodies are willing to invest time into food preparation and are willing to invest in a proper knife. By matching the corporate DNA with the needs of the target persona, we repositioned the knife as the hero of the kitchen and as a mood-changer. Few kitchen experiences can rival the feel of a beautifully-engineered, well-balanced kitchen knife. The superiority of WÜSTHOF’s tools can transform slicing, cutting, and chopping from a mundane activity to an enjoyable event of its own.

QUALITY — CONTENT / VISUAL
Reading experience should be channel and media agnostic

The reading experience, the composition, the visual elements, and thus the overall visual perception of the brand must be the same regardless of format or medium.

TRANSFORMATIVE — CONTENT / PHOTOGRAPHY
Its more about meditation than technique

Our mood changes for the better when we undertake simple, repetitive, creative tasks such as preparing a meal from scratch. Capture such moments.

HERITAGE — DEVELOPMENT
We are respectful of the heritage, but not a slave to tradition

We build on the shoulders of past generations and are proud of them. But we live in the present and build for the future. Do not let the past stand in the way of progress.

REDISCOVERING THE TRIDENT

The visual identity matches the precision of the knives and the craftsmanship of employees. The Wüsthof trident was registered as a trademark as far back as 1895 and the renowned trident symbol is now legally protected in virtually every country in the world. The original version of the symbol had a very primal design – simple, sharp, and to the point – a quality that was lost through the years.

Old product crates, buried deep within one of the company’s store rooms, gave us the inspiration to rediscover its original strength, underlining how we can often find answers to today’s problems by looking to our past. The high tech and high touch approach is reflected in the typography. Combining the primal nature of the trident and the tech optimism of the wordmark results in a logotype that manages to be simultaneously contemporary and historical – understated and simple, yet with a commanding presence. The umlaut crowning the letter Ü and the Made in Solingen tagline embrace the company’s origin.

QUAITY — PRODUCT
The feel of the product in the hand is the most powerful sales tool

Few kitchen experiences can rival the feel of a beautifully engineered, well-balanced kitchen knife. Give customers an opportunity to experience it as often as possible.

A TANGIBLE EXPERIENCE

We identified key opportunities within WÜSTHOF’s value chain. Safety concerns mean that knives sold at retail are invariably stored in locked glass cabinets, making it difficult to deliver a high value, hands-on customer experience. To deliver the tangible features of a WÜSTHOF knife to consumers, the manufacturer started working closely with retail partners at leading culinary retailers in over 80 countries worldwide.

FAMILY — EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
Our robots support, but can’t replace our workers.

We view our workforce as an extended family. When we began introducing robots into our factories, we promised that they would not replace any of our workers.

EMPLOYEES FIRST

The family value is reflected in the company’s employee relations. The owners pledged to employee-first policy, from communicating every issue with employees first, to restructuring the workforce to ensure no worker gets replaced by robots.

$1,000,000

The new WÜSTHOF US web shop has crossed the magic number of 1 million turnover.

125%

The global reach of the new brand brought an impressive number of new eyes to the company. Initial sales expectations were exceeded by 125% in the first few months.

Business Genome is an important partner in the WÜSTHOF Brand Competence Team. Their professional attitude in managing and solving challenging projects, even under time pressure, is highly appreciated.

Hartmut Wunram
Global Vice President Marketing
WÜSTHOF