Mercedes-Benz brand strategy / positioning case study

BrandStruck
Mercedes-Benz Brand Strategy Analysis
Mercedes-Benz
ABOUT

Category:
Automotivecars, luxury cars

Owner of the brand:
The Mercedes-Benz Group AG

Key competitors:
BMW, Audi

Brand essence

The best luxury experience.

Brand values

Highest quality, luxury, comfort, safety.

Brand character

Confident, masculine, powerful, aspirational, luxurious, German.

Dominating archetype
EVIDENCE
Comments
1

The history of the Mercedes-Benz brand dates back to the late 19th century, when three famous automotive engineers, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Carl Benz came up with a number of inventions that would later constitute the foundation of a modern vehicle. Daimler and Maybach worked together for more than three decades at various companies, including Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG), where Daimler was a cofounder. Meanwhile, Carl Benz set up his own business, Benz & Cie. in 1883 and three years later he released the so called “Patent-Motorwagen” (“Patent Motor Car”) which is considered to be the world’s first car[1]. In 1926, DMG and Benz & Cie. merged, creating the Daimler-Benz company.
In 1998, the company acquired Chrysler Corporation, changed the name to DaimlerChrysler AG and, later, to Daimler AG after selling the Chrysler brand in 2007. In 2022, Daimler AG was renamed Mercedes-Benz Group AG after spinning off its commercial vehicles division as a standalone business, Daimler Truck.

2

Until recently, Mercedes-Benz, was a pure consumer brand in Daimler AG’s portfolio. In 2022, it also became a corporate brand as Daimler AG was renamed Mercedes-Benz Group AG. The group positions itself as “one of the world’s most successful automotive companies” and defines its strategic territory similarly to its main competitor, BMW, focusing on mobility and sustainable luxury; prioritising development of electric vehicles and proprietary automotive software.
The Mercedes-Benz consumer brand is a premium automotive brand targeting a high-end consumer. It promises the highest quality products created with utmost precision and attention to the tiniest details. While BMW is about the ultimate driving experience, Mercedes is more about the luxurious lifestyle for the upper class. BMW is strongly associated with performance, Mercedes – with comfort.

 

3

For many years, Mercedes-Benz’s brand mantra has been “the best or nothing”. The brand is involved in multiple initiatives, which further strengthen this positioning and build associations with a luxurious lifestyle. Some examples include the brand’s involvement in high fashion events, “Mercedes Me” magazine or “She’s Mercedes” – a platform dedicated to empowering women.

4

In recent years, Mercedes-Benz has introduced a few changes to its strategy. In 2016, it announced a new product strategy, called CASE, which referred to four trends crucial for the brand: C – connectivity, A – autonomous driving, S- (Car) Sharing and E – electrification. Later, the meaning of the letter S was widened to include not only sharing but also other mobility services like renting or ride-hailing.
In 2020, the company announced a business strategy update consisting of six pillars[2]. Three of them assumed the improvement of the company’s commercial performance by prioritizing the most profitable parts of the business, growing its recurrent revenue (e.g., from subscription services) and reducing costs. One strategy pillar referred to Mercedes-Benz’s product strategy: its focus on the development of electric vehicles and proprietary automotive software. Two remaining pillars were related to brand strategy: the brand’s renewed focus on luxury (“a luxury experience that will be electric, software-driven and sustainable”[3]) and a stronger emphasis on growing Mercedes-Benz’s sub-brands (e.g., Mercedes-Maybach – standing for ultra luxury and Mercedes-AMG representing high-performance luxury) with the objective of expanding the brand’s customer base.

5

Another change in strategy involved becoming a more attractive proposition to younger consumers and building a more emotional brand image. According to company executives, Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to be “only” a highly-respected brand. It wants to be both respected and loved[4]. It has introduced younger-skewing car models (e.g., GLA and CLA), become active on social media, started creating a lot of digital content, and launched comms programmes targeted at young adults, including campaigns that focus more on human emotional benefits rather than product features (e.g., “Grow up”[5]). Jens Thiemer, VP of Marketing at Mercedes, explained how the company redefined Mercedes traditional brand values so that they are still relevant:  There are three concepts that can help to understand this new orientation: ease, trust and boost, which offer a new interpretation, as it were, of our traditional brand values of safety, comfort and sportiness.[6]

6

The Mercedes-Benz brand is based on the Ruler archetype – only the best premium experience for the most demanding consumers, the highest quality, “the best or nothing”.

Tagline
Most important campaigns

1. “Enlightenment” (2022)

2. “Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe – Life Track” (2019, US)

3. “Difficult Is Worth It” (2018)

4. “Easy Driver” (2017)

5. “The Uncrashable Toy Cars” (2015)

 

Official brand statement:

Mercedes-Benz, a Mercedes-Benz Group AG company, is one of the most well known and established premium brands in the world. The company that invented the modern day motor car has since gone on to shape its development more diversely and enduringly than any other manufacturer – from drive technology to comfort and safety through to design.[7]

Interesting facts:

Mercedes-Benz’s logo, the three pointed star was supposed to symbolise Daimler’s ambition of dominance “on land, on water and in the air”.[8]

Mercedes-Benz was the first car in Nepal in 1938 – it was a gift from Adolf Hitler to King Truibhuvan. It was carried to the capitol by men, as there were no roads in the city.[9]

Must-reads

1. Autocar on Daimler’s rebranding to Mercedes-Benz Group
J. Warrick, “Daimler rebranded as Mercedes-Benz AG”, Autocar, Feb 2022,
https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/business-finance-and-corporate/daimler-rebranded-mercedes-benz-ag 

2. Forbes on Mercedes-Benz’s “What Makes Us” campaign
D. Buss, “
New Mercedes-Benz Campaign In U.S. Doubles Down On Attributes That Made Brand No. 1″, Forbes, Apr 2018,
https://www.forbes.com/sites/dalebuss/2018/04/09/new-mercedes-benz-campaign-in-u-s-doubles-down-on-attributes-that-have-made-brand-no-1/#288f2f676f3b

3. Campaign explains how Mercedes wants to become a loved brand
E. Tan, “Mercedes Reveals New Agency Model And Brand Strategy With Spring Campaign Launch”, Campaign, Jan 2017,
http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/mercedes-reveals-new-agency-model-brand-strategy-spring-campaign-launch/1422561

Sources:
SIMILAR BRANDS

Want to hear more?

Sign up here for our weekly

BrandStruck Express News.

Check the newly added brand strategy case studies and get our latest blog post.