Mr. Kaiser, how are brands affected by technical innovations?
In itself, a technical innovation is not a value that changes a brand. Strong brands are backed by good stories that are characterized by values and emotions, performance promises and experiences. And, in order to continue this story, there must be more than a simple improvement of the technical output data due to development of new technical components. However, if the innovation gives rise to new perspectives, contents and product ideas, then there is significant change potential – depending on the industry. Daimler, for example, has enhanced its brand image as a classic car manufacturer by the facet of supplier of complex mobility solutions that fit the lifestyle and temperament of a young and more urban generation with extended offers such as car2go. This is the foundation on which Daimler is planning things like an autonomously driving fleet of smart “shared cars” in southern California.
So strong innovations do have the power to influence the customer’s view of a brand on a sustainable basis?
In any case. For example, look at the Apple brand, which was previously perceived mostly as a computer manufacturer. In January 2007, Apple announced that the word “Computer” would no longer be included in the company name. For many people this was probably just a minor detail. But, such fine distinctions are sometimes decisive for the internal and external effect of a brand. Because, in the same year Apple brought out the iPhone – a device in the periphery of traditional computer technology that has decisively dominated the image of the brand as a technology leader in mobile communications and media use.
And what is currently driving the brands in the automotive industry?
In the automotive industry, for the last few years we have been seeing how brands are changing through the rise of new drive technologies and new forms of usage, such as car sharing. And, the topic of autonomous driving, which has previously been strongly dominated by information technology brands like Google in the perception of the public, also continues to write brand history in a new dimension.