Developing the Brand Identity for KPM Royal Porcelain Berlin

Developing Brand Identity

The Brand Origin: The Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin (German: Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin, abbreviated as KPM), whose products are generally called Berlin porcelain, was founded in 1763 by King Frederick II of Prussia. He jokingly referred to himself as his own 'best customer.' For his palaces alone, he ordered 21 dinner services, each of them with 36 place settings and up to 500 separate parts. Along with Augarten, Meissen, and Nymphenburg, KPM is among the best porcelain manufacturers in the world - and also ranks among the best German high-end brands.

The Project: To develop the Brand Identity of KPM - the brand meaning - and to discuss the branding strategy in regular face-to-face meetings with the company's owner and managing director over the course of a year. Starting with a Brand Audit based on the analysis of various market research results and customer surveys, the project concentated on the identification of the Brand DNA by diving deep into the brand's history.

The Challenge: KPM porcelain is much (up to 30x) more expensive compared to premium products - and 'craftmanship' is not enough to justify the price premium. Ideally, KPM porcelain should be connected with a 'dream' that corresponds with the life goals of the target customers.


Discovering the Brand DNA: The Brand Spirit of the Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin (KPM Berlin), founded in 1763, can be revealed by looking at what influenced it: The company’s founder, King Frederick II of Prussia, the company owners including seven kings of the House of Hohenzollern, and the regional culture. Although KPM is not marketed as a religious brand, the Brand Spirit relies on Protestantism. It is associated with Prussian virtues and Protestant work ethics, which encourage progress in science and technology. Frederick the Great was influenced also by idealism – the opposite of materialism. According to this philosophical movement, mental ideas are the foundation of all reality. He was inspired by philosophers such as Kant, Leibniz, Locke, and Voltaire, who was famous for his criticism of the Roman Catholic Church and his advocacy of freedom of religion and freedom of speech. This is reflected in the life maxim of Frederick the Great: “Let every man seek heaven in his own fashion.” In his book ‘Anti-Machiavel’ (1739), he criticized Machiavelli’s recommendations on governance mainly from a moral perspective, which reflects a very different conception of the world and of man. Considering himself 'the first servant of the state', he was a proponent of enlightened absolutism.

Combining the Brand Identity with the customer's life goals: The Brand Spirit is expressed by KPM’s iconic products including the Kurland service and the Urbino service, designed in 1931 by Trude Perty, inspired by Bauhaus and the ‘New Objectivity’ movement (‘form follows function’). It represents a protest against consumerism, hedonism and mass-production – by upholding KPM’s artisan manufacturing. It also opposes status-seeking and cultural decay (of the 1920’s) – by upholding high moral standards in all business activities. Holding a KPM cup in their hands, people may feel to become a sophisticated person. In the spirit of KPM, ‘Sophistication’ entails a constant quest for being a better person (which corresponds with the life goals of KPM’s target customers, the ‘intellectual rich’) – (1.) through self-restraint of instant gratification and indulgence (≠ consumerism) and (2.) through self-restraint with respect to the needs of others (≠ status-seeking).