The scope of the assignment:
Our successful collaboration with BMW lasted for 19 years (7 with JvM). We had the overall responsibility for BMW Sweden and partial responsibility for BMW Nordic and Europe.
We figured out that we made a yearly average of 40 campaigns of various sizes and about 22,000 productions for BMW over the years, including brand development, 360° campaigns, strategy and concept development, TVC, outdoor, print, digital, retail, PR, etc.
We’ve learned that everything, every single communication activity, is just as important. It is not enough with just some prize-winning campaigns now and then (but we do them as well) unless all other communication confirming people's image of a modern, vital brand.
Consumers want to drive expensive cars because of the status it gives them. But BMW had lost its glamor when the yuppies (young people with high paying jobs who gladly displayed their financial position) went off the road in a BMW in the beginning of the 90’s.
We used our tools Brand Egg and Brand Monitor to identify and measure the brand values in comparison with BMW’s main competitors Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Saab.
After measuring the brand values for a while, we could se that almost all the tracked values increased, having a stronger connection to BMW than any of its competitors. Exception: BMW was still associated with being less responsible than its competitors.
When we knew this, we were able to base our priorities and decisions on this fact. To attract a broader audience, we had to communicate something else that gives the buyer the feeling of status beyond the fact that they can afford a luxury car.
How can BMW be seen as responsible and at the same time as young and exclusive?
The Key Emotional Driver:
Humans in general, and luxury car owners in particular, have an innate urge to relate to their environment by comparing themselves in relation to others, driven by status and social acceptance. To be seen as someone who drives a BMW instead of a cheaper car just because of the luxury feeling it gives is not perceived as socially accepted.
We had to find a new connection between what our target audience perceives to be high status and what constitutes high social acceptance among others.
Something else that drives status to this competitive consumer group, beyond a good financial standing, is to be a good driver.
What is the tension between the insight and the brand?
With a dynamic and sporty car, which is built to stay on the road and to react more quickly and decisive than other cars, should be more prone to avoid accidents. Therefore, BMW will help its owners to become even better drivers.
The key message:
The safest car is the one that makes you a better driver, because the best accident is the one that never happens.
Reinterpret BMW’s brand essence ‘Joy’ to a more social acceptable alibi and give the drivers a reason to own a BMW by referring to the relationship between car and driver more explicit, not just the car or the driver itself. If you love to drive, a BMW will support you like no other car.
The result after the campaign ”Active safety”:
The measurements from the Brand Monitor showed that BMW went from being rated as worse, to equal and in the end, we had the strongest connection to the value ‘responsible’ in comparison with Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Saab. But perhaps the biggest change was at the dealers, where the individual salesman for the first time could sell safety with a newly found self-confidence.
By never take driving pleasure for granted and always reinterpret its DNA with the change of pop culture and mega trends and constantly monitoring brand strength on every possible level and, we’d successfully launched new concepts to tune the brand. We became the world leader in building the BMW brand.
– Jung von Matt Sweden as the benchmark for all the other markets globally.