KATHMANDU: Bayerische Motoren Werke, popularly known as BMW, is a dream machine and an
aspiration brand to millions across the globe. More often than not, a man’s success, love life and even nightlife are defined by his ownership of a BMW! It is a brand with a large aspiration baggage.
“The BMW brands stand for a promise of fascinating individual automobiles — a promise we do and will keep,” Helmut Panke,
former BMW chairman is often quoted to have said about the brand, BMW. It is clear from this that the brand philosophy is to promote a sense of pride in motoring and deliver a joyful driving experience. All other attributes are directed to be aligned with this single philosophy.
The product is the brandInherent product: The biggest strength that the BMW brand has is its product. The brand is synonymous with a great driving experience which has been con-tinuously maintained over the years. Given the fact that the use of the product, in this case the driving experience, is a very firsthand and personal experience, a hitch or a glitch at this would overshadow all the other attributes. No amount of marketing, lineage projection or product positioning can undo an unsatisfactory driving experience. BMW uses all the other three attributes to project and communicate this aspect of ‘joy of driving’ and it being an ‘ultimate driving machine’.
Marketing: Given the philosophy of portraying itself as a maker of ‘driving experience’ rather than a superior car, the BMW brand has always used and focused its marketing efforts to highlight the product and bring to light product attributes like design, technology, performance and the experience of driving. BMW has regularly associated itself with art. The attempt is to
position the brand as a ‘work of art’ that the owners will be proud to own. A BMW owner is not
supposed to announce his arrival to the world, the world is already expected to know about him!
Lineage: BMW has been around for close to a century now. With its presence in bicycle, motorcycle, aircraft engine manufacturing and car segment, BMW has always managed to boast its lineage and capitalise upon its ability to deliver a superior driving
experience over a century of existence. Moreover, to reinforce its sense of continuity, BMW has continued its practice of naming its product variants on lines of series that is, 3 series, 5 series, 7 series, Z series and X series. New variants are simply named by adding their engine size to their respective series, for example, a 2200 CC engine 3 series would be called BMW 322!
Positioning: BMW has over the years used its marketing and products to position itself as a maker of ‘the ultimate’ driving experience. The brand has been built around the user who has always been portrayed to ‘deserve’ a good ride, hence a BMW. The magnetism of the design has always been projected subtly. It is supposed to be a beautiful product, not a sexy offering. The product positioning of a BMW is best summed in the words of Mr BMW, Paul Hanemann, who handled the brand for years — ‘If a businessman has made something of his life in Germany and wants to show his neighbour that he is someone to be reckoned with, his only choice is a Mercedes. If, however, he has made something of his life but feels no need to show off, then he buys a BMW.’ This is the positioning that the product is expected to command.
It is clear from these facts that BMW has been build around the product and the driving experience. The product is the brand.
(The author is associated with The Chaudhary Group and can be contacted at email@example.com)