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September 13, 2018

Pressing Forward: Storytelling at Hilti Group

Felix Reichstein: "He who tells stories must also be able to listen well."

He used to be a journalist looking for stories. Today, Felix Reichstein finds and writes them as a storyteller and content producer at the headquarters of the Hilti Group in Liechtenstein, the sixth-smallest state in the world. “That was a great cut for me,” said the native Bayreuther, “from Cologne to Schaan”. Felix has been in charge of the company’s internal and external social channels since 2016, exchanging ideas with numerous country organizations, creating videos, implementing communication projects, and using storytelling to enhance the vision and mission of the Hilti Group.

Conversing with Felix, I quickly realized he loves stories. For every question I ask, he finds an anecdote. We both discover we are big fans of podcasts. “When I travel by car, I like to listen to other people’s stories to relax and get some inspiration for Hilti content,” says Felix. In our conversation, we digress even more often. But that is exactly why it is so much fun talking to him and above all to laugh a lot. This also explains why he is just right as a storyteller at the Hilti Group. His own story of how his love of the written word flourished began as a child.

Felix Reichstein

“I wanted to become the person who writes the news.”

At the age of 13, Felix preferred to hide behind the newspaper at the breakfast table and soak up everything that was going on in the world. His wish that would shape his future life was already shaped here: “I wanted to become the person who writes the news,” he tells me. He began to record his everyday life in the written word. With school graduation in his pocket, his path led him to an internship where he would get a first taste of the news room. Another traineeship in the editorial department of a local newspaper followed.

“The first stepping stones encouraged me that I was on the right track. That’s why I kept on working as a journalist during my studies,” Felix continues. He studied politics in Kassel and worked while he was also working at NDR near Göttingen. Various production companies in Leipzig and Cologne were further stops on his journey.

But gripped by his wanderlust and following his drive to always dare something new, he wanted to change his point of view. Felix has always been attracted by corporate communications: “I find stories everywhere – sometimes you just have to look a little closer than others, that’s why I was drawn to Liechtenstein,” Felix looks back. He packed his bags to start a completely different chapter at the Hilti Group in Schaan. In his suitcase: his journalistic education. “When you think of Hilti, you first associate it with a drill. But the company is so much more: sales colleagues talk to clients a thousand times over, digital networking around the construction site is a hot topic – I found that exciting: “Filling a strong brand with life through stories that many people only know from the hammer drill,” says Felix.

“He who tells stories must also be able to listen well.”

At the Hilti Group, Felix found the beginning of an adventure. Writing editorial plans and storyboards, accompanying film shoots, community management – Felix found himself in a new universe. “I suddenly had the opportunity to combine the best of two worlds: to merge the different principles of journalism and corporation into a golden thread.” In 2015, the Group fundamentally reworked its brand strategy. The idea was to implement storytelling in order to portray the entire Hilti experience. For this purpose, the company primarily uses the LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, as well as an intranet solution. With the relaunch of the website in December 2016, the official green light for the brand’s new appearance was given. “He who tells stories must also be able to listen well,” he says looking back at the beginning. The shared narrative of Felix and Hilti group took their course.

“My idea is to give the customers and employees of Hilti a real stage as authentic protagonists.”

Felix knew how to write, how to find a story and make it exciting for the readers. His sense of research and the written word helped him with his greatest professional challenge to date – to give the people behind the company a face. “My idea is to give the customers and employees of Hilti a real stage as authentic protagonists. I want to record special moments. “Using Manager Milena and her nine-month-old daughter as an example, Hilti showed how women can balance family and career here at the headquarters. “We recently opened our own day care center and captured the beaming children’s eyes on video. We shared this on LinkedIn, because we find that a video shows much more emotion than pure facts in text form,” enthuses Felix.

He also gives insights behind the scenes of Hilti. “Our brand icon is the red suitcase. For two years, our design team has created hundreds of sketches, made prototypes and worked on new functions,” says Felix. This story was shared by video on LinkedIn as part of the Red Dot Design Award.

Looking back, Felix says: “It’s company stories like these that I want to find and tell. What nobody knows at first glance, Hilti is a very multi-faceted organization. It’s known for its great culture and a working atmosphere in which everyone feels comfortable”. The Group has sites on all continents and its employees are pulling together to bring the company’s history to the world. But the clients also contribute to underscoring Hilti’s story. “The circle is closed on our Instagram channel. With the help of user-generated content our clients show how Hilti products are used all over the world,” says Felix proudly.

Corporate communication in technical industries is not as dry as its reputation has been for a long time. He underpins that with another anecdote. “Last year, our company broke through the five billion franc sales barrier. This is a very emotional milestone for the company,” he recalls. His task was to convey this positive mood to every Hilti employee in the world. They were called upon to record high-fives on video and to share the virtual clap with all their colleagues. Over 50 videos came back and with it a small viral effect, carried by proud and happy employees.

With his creative ideas and journalistic approaches, Felix successfully contributes to Hilti’s script. His own story, he laughs at the end of the conversation, has yet to be written. Rounding up our conversation, I asked him about his the most important companions. “Of course my phone, a good dose of humor and constant curiosity – so I never get tired of surprising details.”

Thanks for this interview, Felix.

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Stefanie Möser
Senior-Beraterin bei Mashup Communications
Ein Prise Gelassenheit, eine große Ladung Humor und viel Herz und Verstand: Das ist Steffis Geheimrezept für die perfekte Team-Power. Ihre Top-Tools sind immer griffbereit: Stift und Papier, denn die besten Geschichten finden sich nicht am Büro-Schreibtisch.