Un brand può sembrare un’entità dal valore effimero(*), ma che si può calcolare con precisione: la società specializzata Interbrand, che pubblica ogni anno uno studio rigoroso sul valore dei marchi, assegna al marchio Volkswagen un valore monetario di circa 11 miliardi di dollari ponendolo al 40° posto di una classifica alla cui testa c’è il marchio Apple che ne vale 184.
Il marchio Volkswagen dunque rappresenta solo poco più del 10% del valore dell’azienda nel suo complesso, che i mercati valutano intorno ai 100 miliardi di dollari. A mo’ di confronto, il marchio della Mela contribuisce al valore dell’azienda di Cupertino per oltre il 21%, mentre per rimanere nel settore auto, il marchio Mercedes contribuisce per ben il 57% al valore di Daimler e quello Toyota per il 26% a quello della omonima casa giapponese.
Potrebbero essere queste le considerazioni da cui scaturisce l’annuncio che anche il venerabile marchio sarà oggetto di un restyling per renderlo “più elettrico”.
Abbiamo percò pensato di chiedere la propria opinione ad alcuni esperti di branding internazionali, cercando di spaziare i cinque continenti, e riporteremo qui la loro opinione man mano che ci risponderanno.
Lipstick and the Pig
(by Matthew Childs, U.S.A.)
I know this sounds a bit cynical but is the VW announcement that it will have a new electric model, the I.D. in 2019 and 80 electric models by 2025, simply an attempt to put is diesel fiasco behind it?
A “pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain” Wizard of Wolfsburg moment? The announcement and the announced rebrand to for this electric world seems to be a step in the right direction.
That said it’s a small step to just say it. As Martin Lindstrom wrote in Fast Company“not just Volkswagen but German industry itself stands for just two words: trust and engineering” and both of those seem to be empty coffers at VW.
The company can say it but ultimately the proof will be in the delivery and both expert AND consumer testing. It takes time to rebuild trust and the engineering short cut that led to cheating on the test rather than doing the hard engineering of getting the emissions right is a big challenge that a new logo to carry.
The logo may be a great messenger of a new attitude at VW. But we all know what happens to messenger that doesn’t bring a popular truth. From a personal perspective, I would bring the I.D. way before settling on a new logo for a “new” VW.
Let the car and the driving experience create the need for a new brand presence, the other way round risks simply being lipstick on a pig with a bad diesel engine.
(by Saurabh Uboweja, India)
The current planned identity refresh for VW is the first since 2012 and is expected to be the first significant identity transformation and not just an identity upgrade as is usually the case with most large brands, especially in the automobile sector where ‘brand logos’ hold strong emotional value for consumers.
The approximately 8 identity refreshes in their history roughly match with Volkswagen’s eight broad milestones, if you include the Swastika-winged logo of the 1930s:
- The People’s Car
- Iconic Beetle
- Volkswagen Bus
- The Golf
- European Leader
- The Global Player
- Diesel Emissions Violation
- E-Mobility Era.
The current era which is representative of the digital transformation which almost all organizations are going through comes with new opportunities for Volkswagen to stake claim of global leadership, but much like every other large automobile manufacturer including the digital and electric mobility first brands like Tesla.
Unlike in the past, automobile identities had their most iconic manifestations on the car front. Today’s brands need to be more imaginative about how they want their identity to manifest in digital applications such as a smart phone.
I am sensing that VW would look to develop an identity that is more digital first than car first. They are probably looking to be a brand that is more electric, more colourful, more global, more connected and more autonomous. They would want their identity to reflect these imminent global changes.
Their strategy document for Vision 2025 is public and firmly places their focus on developing mobility solutions and not just cars while strengthening the existing core business.
The new identity is likely to be less representative of the car that is VW and more of the mobility solution approach that VW may want to stand for. Their future target segment is clearly the new age consumer who carries no significant hangovers of legacy brands other than giving them a semblance of respect. The new consumer wants a new age brand that speaks to their needs and aspirations not some forgone heritage. In that sense, it may be a well calculated risk by VW to consider a rebrand to become a more approachable, younger, more adaptive and less stiff brand.
They may want to get rid of the rigid German image in favour of the more fluid global image. However, there is a caveat when you let go of your source identity. You do end up looking pretty much like everybody else who is trying to be more global, more digital.
They may want to retain few elements of their original identity if they want to remain distinctive in the future. There are a few other reasons though that would be good qualifiers or should serve as terrific triggers for their rebranding: the diesel scandal being one. They need to shed away the ‘cheaters image’ and sometimes a rebrand can serve as an effective reincarnation.
The second compelling trigger could be their complex brand architecture. They have 9 other car brands in addition to Volkswagen under the Volkswagen group. It may be a great opportunity to create a distinction between the VW group brand and the VW car brand.
More often than not, it is very difficult to discern which one are we talking about when it comes to major announcements, especially when they are not pertaining to new car launches.
L’età del ferro
di Maurizio Bazzano, Italia
Devo ammettere che sino a quando non abbiamo dovuto fare il rebranding di una importante azienda distributrice sul territorio nazionale di turbocompressori per automobili, non mi ero reso completamente conto che TUTTI i marchi delle case automobilistiche sono stemmi metallici in 3D.
Siamo andati alla prima riunione con delle prove fighette di marchi flat, quelli che vanno di moda adesso: alla ENEL per capirci. Il CEO ha aperto il tablet e ci ha fatto vedere in rapida carrellata tutta una sequenza di marchi automobilistici tridimensionali, metallici e muscolari: alla Iron Man per capirci.
Ma, però (che non si dice)
Come da dovere istituzionale le agenzie creative devono immaginare il futuro, e penso che anche questa volta andrà così. Occorre quindi tenere nel cassetto l’intuizione, perché forse un giorno tutti vorranno lo stile vitale ed elettrico del bel marchio del nostro produttore italiano di energia a sostituzione dei retorici e tronfi stemmi dell’età del ferro.
(*) la parola “effimero” non deve trarre in inganno, in quanto questo valore è assolutamente concreto e reale: basti pensare alle situazioni in cui un’azienda ne compra un’altra per rendersi conto che il valore dei marchi entra a pieno titolo nelle componenti valoriali oggetto della transazione commerciale
Una risposta a "Ora di cambiar pelle?"
Very thoughtful response Saurabh. I was really focusing on this part of the rebrand: “They need to shed away the ‘cheaters image’ and sometimes a rebrand can serve as an effective reincarnation.” Because, at least in America, the scandal is still alive and the Green and millennial buyer is a very provenance-driven buyer. They want to know the back story and VW used their prowess in engineering not to make a better for the environment car, but to mask the environmental issues they were creating.
So a rebrand without some third-party (and probably consumer) verification and evangelism is going to feel like a new coat of paint on an old room. The onus is more on VW now to create a transformative experience before talking about it unlike Tesla, which transformed first in vision and then in engineering. (Though this last is a bit problematic at the moment.)
"Mi piace""Mi piace"