Volkswagen's Paris motor show display reveals a “more emotional” brand strategy that's set to influence its future business decisions.
The campaign will be built around a fresh advertising catchphrase — ‘Think New’ — and is intended to relaunch VW one year after the Dieselgate scandal blew up. Signalling a new, more emotional brand positioning, sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann promised VW would reconnect with its vast customer base and refocus on its heartland of the global middle class.
He said: “We have 40 million customers worldwide and these are our biggest asset. We want to stay warm and close to our customers. We might be making breakthroughs with technology, but we won’t become a cold and technical brand.”
The ‘Think New’ tag line will be linked to VW’s strategic shift towards electric vehicles, starting with its recently revealed ID, and matched to imagery of the Volkswagen Beetle and Volkswagen Golf Mk1.
“Think New is not about a fix, but a lighthouse for where we are heading as a brand,” said Stackmann. “VW has always been innovating and changing. The change from Beetle to Golf was significant. The VW Paris show stand features the new image Now we are changing to electric vehicles. That’s just as significant.”
Stackmann wants to exploit the warmth felt for VW’s back catalogue — the Beetle in Germany, Mexico and Brazil, the Transporter in the US and the Passat in China.
In Europe, ‘Generation Golf’ — the European middle class that grew up in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with VW’s iconic hatchback — will be part of a new brand pillar, ‘Moving People’.
VW is building its new marketing strategy around six new ‘customer promises’: smart sustainability, human excitement, intuitive usability, connected community, always up to date and safe choice.
VW’s marketing department has been working on the strategy since late last year, when Stackmann moved over from Seat as VW’s new sales and marketing boss, a job he previously held in 2012.