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gruppenbild nectanet und syndicate neue marke aus wro wird nectanet

WRO becomes nectanet

WRO becomes nectanet

Offenburg. Founded in 1988, the Ortenau Economic Region (WRO), an association of 180 companies, 52 municipalities, the district and the chambers of commerce, has been a household name in Ortenau for many years. But outside the region, awareness of the district tends towards zero. Even in the political spheres of Stuttgart not everyone can relate to the name Ortenau, has stated Brigitta Schrempp, Chairwoman of the WRO Economic Advisory Board. This is fatal for a network that is supposed to promote the Ortenau region and the companies based here and represent it to the outside world. “We have sensed that the previous brand is no longer sustainable, especially when it comes to attracting skilled workers abroad,” said WRO Managing Director Dominik Fehringer at a press conference in Lahr on Thursday. According to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Lahr’s Mayor Markus Ibert, the shareholders of the Ortenau economic region had recently approved the renaming of WRO to nectanet. The new name will be “Black Forest Power Region” with the addition “Connecting People and Ideas”. The sub-brands will also be given new names. The start-up network “Start-up Connect” will become “Foundersnet”, the Ortenau Education Region (BRO) will become “Educationnet” and “Working with world market leaders” will become “Futurenet”, the latter being about attracting skilled workers to the region. The coronavirus pandemic provided the impetus for the renaming decided on Thursday. “We had time to focus on ourselves,” explained Fehringer. Among other things, he had noticed during delegation trips to China that the name WRO was not decipherable for the people there. “It is not understood.” The Black Forest in the new name, however, is known worldwide. The WRO was not an isolated case with its previous name. To date, all other business development organizations in Germany have also included the region in their names. “All other competitors talk about their location, but not about what they do,” explained Heiko Hinrichs. His Hamburg advertising agency Syndicate, which developed the new design for the Skoda car brand among other things, is responsible for WRO’s new brand identity. After the decision for a new brand was made in August last year, Hinrichs’ team set about developing a brand strategy. They were faced with the challenge of addressing two target groups. On the one hand, the WRO is the mouthpiece of the region and the network of companies and politicians operating here. Secondly, and this target group is becoming increasingly important, the local companies need to be recognized internationally and be attractive to skilled workers and investors. Many are so-called hidden champions, i.e. world market leaders in their field, but their names are not particularly well known.

A bold step

According to Schrempp, Chairwoman of the Economic Advisory Board, the focus of the WRO has shifted over the years towards supra-regionality. The new name is intended to reflect this. The business community was open to the process. For local people, nectanet may take some getting used to at first, says Hinrichs, “but the bait has to taste good to the fish, not the angler”. He describes WRO’s move to abandon Ortenau and thus the location as courageous. However, Fehringer predicts that this is the right path to take and that many other economic regions are likely to follow in the near future.

Background – international target group in focus

WRO’s brief to the Hamburg marketing agency Syndicate comprised five points. It is to create and develop a new brand identity and name for the Ortenau economic region. The aim is to appeal to international target groups with the brand. The existing sub-brands “Startup Connect”, Bildungsregion Ortenau and “Arbeiten bei Weltmarktführern” are to be given a uniform brand architecture so that they can be assigned to the new umbrella brand “nectanet”. The economic region is now available on the internet
at Anyone entering the previous address will automatically land on the new homepage.

An article by the Mittelbadische Presse / Simon Alleger.