What is the essence of New Volkswagen?
Over the past few years, Volkswagen has accomplished a fundamental realignment. The future of the brand is electric, fully networked and has a neutral carbon balance. Volkswagen is assuming responsibility for the protection of the climate. The fundamental requirements are the targets of the Paris Agreement. By 2050 at the latest, the brand intends to have a neutral carbon balance – with its vehicles and as a company in general. E-mobility is the new lead technology that Volkswagen intends to make affordable for millions of people.
With the ID. family, Volkswagen will become the world’s most sustainable volume automobile brand. By 2025, the brand intends to be the global no. 1, with more than 20 electric models and 1 million electric vehicles sold. Finally, all Volkswagen models are to become fully connected smart devices, mobile service providers and living rooms. With the “Volkswagen We” digital ecosystem, the brand will take its customers’ world into the car – with the best user experience and a wide variety of mobility services that will make life easier and be enjoyable. On this basis, the brand is transferring its claim to a new era: also in the electric, digital age, Volkswagen will enable individual mobility for millions of customers throughout the world – affordable, sustainable, reliable and fascinating.
Volkswagen is in the process of transformation into New Volkswagen. Volkswagen has always aimed to make mobility and technology accessible to as many people as possible. “With the Beetle, Volkswagen created individual mobility for everyone and then democratized new technologies with the Golf,” says Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Volkswagen brand. “With the ID.3, we aim to make zero-emission mobility attractive to all customers.”
Volkswagen is evolving from a pure automaker into a provider of modern mobility services and smart devices that will make customers’ everyday lives easier and more enjoyable. For this purpose, the brand has reorganized its marketing communications structure, made it leaner and grouped it together in regions. This way, it will be possible to see and experience the transformation of the company equally clearly throughout the world.
Finally, Volkswagen is also presenting a new face to the outside world:
“2019 is the year of “New Volkswagen”. The comprehensive rebranding is the logical consequence of this strategic reorientation. A new era is now beginning for the brand,”
The rebranding also represents a tremendous opportunity to allow customers throughout the world to experience Volkswagen as a strong new brand, “New Volkswagen”. “New Volkswagen” represents a departure towards the new Volkswagen world, where digitalization and connectivity will make customer communications more data-driven, more personalized and much more individual. For the new brand design, the design and visual language, the corporate identity and the communication style have been entirely revised. These main principles are playing a key role in the process:
All activities are to be focused even more strongly on Volkswagen customers.
Digital media are to become the key points of contact with the customer.
The new brand design expresses the new attitude of Volkswagen: human, open, inviting, transparent, responsible and authentic.
The new brand design is to make the differences between Volkswagen and its competitors clear and perceptible.
Total brand experience
Thanks to 360° communication, Volkswagen will provide the same experience across all touch points, irrespective of where the customer is located.
Global brand governance
Whether in China or in South America, Volkswagen will once again have a uniform presentation throughout the world. The new brand design will function both for our MQB and for our MEB vehicles.
How was the new brand design created?
The inner transformation of the brand, its vision and its new attitude are also presented to the outside world by the new brand design. The strategic foundations for the new brand design were not laid by external agencies but by a joint team of Volkswagen Design and Marketing headed by Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Jochen Sengpiehl and Chief Designer Klaus Bischoff. The design was implemented with the full integration of all departments of the company in the record time of nine months using a powerhouse concept developed by Volkswagen especially for this purpose.
The short development time was possible because everyone concerned reached agreement on a bold approach to the new brand design at an early stage. The working title was “Vibrant Power”. The idea was to make the brand more human and more lively instead of showing a perfect advertising world, to adopt the perspective of the customer to a greater extent and tell authentic stories. “We aim to make people’s lives brighter with our products,” says Jochen Sengpiehl. “Many people develop a close relationship with Volkswagen and even give their vehicles names. We want to convey this natural approach with its emotional ties.”
As a special innovation, Volkswagen will be using a female voice on almost all markets in the future. “This is a voice that is warm, pleasant and confident. In our opinion, this voice goes very well with Volkswagen,” says Jochen Sengpiehl.
As Volkswagen customers are increasingly obtaining information via digital channels, the new brand design has a consistent digital orientation, with a strong focus on interaction and linked with the OneHub strategy. This way, Volkswagen will have an equally prominent presence both on-site and off-site and will create an almost personalized user journey for each user with a view to meeting individual needs and allowing a seamless brand experience in the digital Volkswagen ecosystem – for car buyers, owners and fans.
Volkswagen is also optimizing its communications structure – by improving its efficiency by 30% up to 2020 while the media budget remains virtually constant at €1.5 billion. The digital share in the media mix is to be increased to about 50% (2015:25%) and the number of digital elements per campaign is to be boosted fivefold. Global marketing activities are to be grouped together at four central locations: Berlin, New York, São Paulo and Beijing.
How will the new brand design provide a new brand experience?
The most important symbol of the brand has been fundamentally redesigned. The Volkswagen logo is the most important link between the product and the brand and stands for Volkswagen values such as quality, attention to detail, value and durability. However, the 3-D logo seemed to be rather inflexible in the digital era. “The new two-dimensional logo has been reduced to its essential elements. It is flat and open, offers high contrast and can be used with outstanding flexibility in digital media,” says Jochen Sengpiehl. Another major innovation: the “W” hovers – a significant difference from earlier versions.
The digital application was especially important for the development of the logo. The new two-dimensional design will ensure that the logo is displayed in the optimum way in all media – on large hoardings as well as on a smart watch, tablet or mobile phone. A new blue tone has been added to the color range, allowing additional color variants of the logo – for example a red Volkswagen logo for GTI models.
Other key elements of the new brand design include the moving frame and the sound logo. The moving frame brings an end to the rigid positioning of the logo in the bottom right-hand corner, with the frame moving nimbly across digital user interfaces. This allows the flexible positioning of the logo at the most effective point. As a result, interfaces can be kept simple and user-friendly and the logo can also be prominent on small devices.
In future, Volkswagen will not have a brand claim – instead, the brand will have its own distinctive sound for the first time – the sound logo. The new sound of the brand will be present in the product, the vehicle itself and in communications such as TV or radio commercials. Occupants leaving the ID.3 will also hear it.
The visual language of the Volkswagen brand is also changing. It will be much more powerful, more colorful and more natural than in the past. It will focus on customers and the diversity of their stories. “We are no longer concerned mainly with products but with the people who live with our products,” says Jochen Sengpiehl.
Different realms of images have been created for the various product categories, with detailed differences but within the framework of a harmonious overall design. The presentation of the vehicles will also change. Instead of mainly showing perfectly lit vehicles, the focus will be on realistic, authentic situations that customers can identify with. A tree may be seen in front of the car or only part of the car may be visible. The targeted use of light is another key style element of the new brand design – in the illumination of the logo at twilight, in showrooms and in pop-up stores in metropolitan areas and cities. “Light is the new chromium. This way, we want to focus on warmth and humanity,” says Klaus Bischoff, Executive Director of Volkswagen Design.
The first model designed on the basis of New Volkswagen and the new brand design, the ID.3, is being presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. The design language of this vehicle is 100 percent in line with the new orientation of Volkswagen. “The ID.3 is a Volkswagen of the future. Its natural, intuitive design already gives us reason to be confident,” says Klaus Bischoff. “The natural design language and the absolutely intuitive user experience bear witness to a new, electric mindset.”
How will the new brand design be rolled out throughout the world?
People will be able to experience the effects of the new brand design for the first time at the IAA. The Volkswagen stand at the show will be a blueprint for the way Volkswagen will present itself throughout the world in the future. At the dealerships too, the logo, the moving frame and light will play a key role. To keep the cost to dealers as low as possible, only the outdoor logo installation is to be replaced, while the new brand design will ensure more color, light and warmth in the showrooms.
The new brand design is the most comprehensive rebranding accomplished by a company throughout the world in recent years. All in all, 171 markets are concerned. At the 10,000 facilities of dealers and service partners throughout the world, about 70,000 logos will be replaced.
The changeover is to be implemented in several waves using a cost-optimized, resource-conserving approach. Initially, the brand’s locations and dealers in Europe will be changed over, followed by China in October. The roll-out will then be implemented step-by-step in North and South America as well as the rest of the world from the beginning of 2020. The changeover is to be completed by the middle of next year.
1 ID.3: The vehicle is not yet available for sale in Europe.