Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher take over the management with immediate effect.

GRAFT Brandlab, the Berlin-based agency for brand innovation, continues its success story of recent years with a new top-caliber dual leadership. As of April 15th, 2020, Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher, two experienced and internationally esteemed partners, will head GRAFT Brandlab as its new managing partners. Through their strategic competence and innovative media experience, they strengthen the unique creative profile of the agency in close partnership with GRAFT architects. As a result, the Berlin-based agency significantly expands its expertise in strategic consulting services and the innovative integration of multimedia experiences into the physical environment.

GRAFT Brandlab has consistently taken a holistic approach to the creation of brand experiences since its founding in 2014, and this new move represents a strategically important step in its development. While the agency’s core orientation will be maintained, Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher plan to expand and strengthen specific service areas and to enhance and refine its strategic brand consulting profile. Through progressive brand innovation concepts adnd multidimensional experiences, the agency will place greater focus on enriching the interface between digital and physical brand experiences.

Hafermaas and Zocher point to the agency’s close connection to the renowned architectural office GRAFT as a unique distinguishing characteristic of the agency. Together with Linda Stannieder, the GRAFT founders Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit established the agency GRAFT Brandlab as a partner company, and both companies have benefited from the collaboration by combining their strategic, creative and planning skills.

The particular strength of Nikolaus Hafermaas and Rico Zocher as a leadership duo derives from their complementary qualifications. Together, they broaden the unique profile of GRAFT Brandlab both at a management level and in its creative and conceptual profile.

Nikolaus Hafermaas is an award-winning artist, designer and professor at the renowned ArtCenter College of Design in California, whose Berlin satellite studio he continues to lead as executive director. He began his career at Triad Berlin, where he worked as CCO and principal partner.

Rico Zocher was most recently managing director at Superunion in Hamburg and has 15 years of agency experience (including various positions at MetaDesign). The economics graduate also has experience of the client side through work with Hugo Boss and Verti Insurance.

Together, they will develop forward-looking ideas for GRAFT Brandlab’s international client base. Hafermaas and Zocher are already looking ahead: „The current coronavirus crisis is forcing companies and brands to rethink massively. If there is anything positive to be drawn from this crisis, it is that exciting times lie ahead for us as branding experts, where we can actively help shape a new awareness for the experience of brands in all their dimensions," explains Hafermaas. Zocher adds: „With regard to market developments, trends and future consumer behavior, there is a greater need than ever before for a keen sense for current shifts and the ability to think ahead and create sustainable and high-quality concepts.“

Linda Stannieder, who with an interdisciplinary team steered GRAFT Brandlab to success within a few years, is leaving the agency at her own request to pursue new professional challenges. She is confidently handing over ongoing projects, clients and employees to the new managing partners.