Founded in 1945, Sennheiser began its journey in a small village outside of Hannover in Northern Germany. Laboratorium Wennebostel, more commonly known as ‘Lab W’, was the start-up business set up by Fritz Sennheiser, a researcher and scientist with a real knowledge and interest in the technicalities of electromagnetic and acoustic vibrations. 75 years on, the company still remains an independent, family-run business. Now spanning three generations, it has positioned itself at the forefront of the professional audio industry and is now spearheaded by brothers, Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser, who have embodied their grandfather’s admirable work ethic to create an established brand with a worldwide reputation.
The celebration of such an astonishing anniversary feels bittersweet, as the entire population carries itself through the uncertain ups and downs of 2020. However, for Sennheiser, this year has been important to reflect on what the company has achieved across its 75 years in business. Daniel explained: “COVID-19 has affected us all in our private life, as well as our business life. We definitely feel that, on the professional side, this will really challenge and change us as a company. As this is also Sennheiser’s 75th anniversary this year, there are a lot of mixed feelings: On one hand, we have so many stories to tell about the company’s successes over the years and, on the other, we’ve been really hampered by something which was completely unforeseen for everyone in the industry. So, while we of course want to celebrate, the circumstances are really difficult.
“We were looking forward to some exciting events that we had planned, which we inevitably had to cancel. Our employees set a strong example for our customers; they embodied our anniversary motto ‘This Is Your Crew’ by sharing photos of themselves working from home to demonstrate that ‘no matter where we are, we keep going!’. Instead of the planned celebrations, we have supported our customers by giving musicians and other professionals a common platform on our social media channels. Together, we have created new formats with the hashtags #DontStopTheMusic, #DontStopTheEducation or #AtHomeWithNeumann. Some of these ideas are likely to live on after the COVID-19 pandemic because we expect long-term changes for the future due to the current situation. When it comes to products, we’re really focussing on the home recording equipment. As you can imagine, this side of the business is the one field working well at the moment, and it’s given us a good opportunity to refocus efforts into that market. We’ve seen the highest growth in years here and it has allowed us to support customers through our anniversary promotions and online platforms.”
Daniel and Andreas both started their role as co-CEOs of the company back in 2013. Coming from entirely different backgrounds, but following in the footsteps of their father, they combined their expertise to guide the company into the next phase of family history. Coming from a largely engineering background, Andreas explained how he adapted his skills to suit his CEO role at Sennheiser: “The audio side was something that was very present from the early years. We always had music in our home, it was a very important part of our education. For me, I was always more interested in the technical side. Sennheiser has always been living in two worlds; one being the highly technical world and the other, the emotional world of arts. I always loved that combination from very early on. I studied Electronic Engineering at Zurich University and then worked for a power tool company in the construction industry. All of this prepared me for joining the company with my brother.”
The audio side was something that was very present from the early years. We always had music in our home, it was a very important part of our education. For me, I was always more interested in the technical side. Sennheiser has always been living in two worlds; one being the highly technical world and the other, the emotional world of arts. I always loved that combination from very early on.
For Daniel, his passions always lay in creativity, design and marketing. After studying product design at university, he couldn’t see a role for himself within Sennheiser straight away, however, over the years, the company changed, allowing Daniel to use his skillset to benefit his family business. “Today, our products need to be well designed, but they also need to be carefully and strategically marketed. It was a coincidence that me and my brother came into the company at the same time, but it turned out to be a really great thing. Especially in difficult times, it’s good to be diverse as a leadership team and to be able to look at the challenges we’re facing as a business together. That will be what ultimately allows us to come out of the other side stronger.”
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