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Award presented to a representative of the PR community for the first time
Stephan Grühsem, General Representative of Volkswagen AG for Group Communications, External Relations and Investor Relations, is today being presented with the prestigious “Brand Manager of the Year” award. This is the first time the Automotive Brand Contest – the international design competition for automobile brands organized by the German Design Council – has conferred this title on a representative from the PR community. The award is being presented in Paris. Andrej Kupetz, General Manager of the German Design Council, said: “Brand management is facing new challenges as a result of the enormous increase in the complexity of external factors. Stephan Grühsem has shown how brands can even reinforce their position of trust in the midst of unsettled conditions.”
Richard Gaul, a longstanding communications consultant and leading PR expert, commented: “In the automotive industry as elsewhere, innovative strength is no longer restricted to technical aspects. Stephan Grühsem recognized that years ago. One example is the sponsoring of arts and culture. Stephan Grühsem does not use this as a simple PR tool, but rather in acknowledgement of social trends and moods.”
Grühsem stated: “We must give people the assurance they can count on us to address the issues that really matter to them in the midst of social and political change. Brand perception is increasingly turning its attention to trust in the workforce and the management team, in social competence and acceptance, trust in a responsible approach to economic power.” He added that the digitalization of communication had led to very different ways in which opinions are shaped and customer decisions are taken. “That strengthens the role of communication work on a scale that many are as yet still unaware off. This is why I am enlisting support for the communication sector to open up still further and to put up a convincing performance with the much larger range of opportunities now at its disposal.”
The German Design Council is an independent and internationally active institution established as a foundation in 1953 on the initiative of the German Bundestag. Today, 200 companies from Germany and abroad with a total payroll in excess of two million persons are members of the foundation.