Lennart Mueller-Teut, Head of Marketing & Communications, Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East, says in order to succeed in the Gulf, digital marketing strategies of luxury brands should be based on a deep understanding of the region.
How do you assess the overall market condition of global brands in the Gulf region, including Mercedes-Benz over the last few years? Is it under pressure?
The GCC is an appealing market for luxury brands, as it attracts customers with high purchase power, and enjoys a vibrant shopping culture. However, as is the case in any country or region around the globe, there’s always a direct correlation between economic growth and the consumer-product industry, including the automotive industry. This evolving economic landscape has affected consumer-product industries.
Cautious of these changes, we expanded our portfolio at the right time and this has supported our performance, helping Mercedes-Benz maintain its leadership position among premium car brands in the region.
How much of the pressure can be attributed to the brands’ marketing strategy? Where are luxury brands in the Gulf going wrong in their digital strategy?
Digital is an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy as today’s consumers are tech-savvy and digitally connected – luxury brands cannot afford to ignore it if they are to remain relevant. To succeed in the GCC, strategies should be based on a thoughtful and deep understanding of the region and its consumer needs, attitudes and desires.
For example, we recently rolled out a regional digital campaign called ‘Grow up.’ which, as the most extensive content creation we have ever undertaken on a regional level, is a project we approached with great enthusiasm. This purely digital campaign addresses attitudes towards a new generation of young grown-ups.
We created a series of authentic stories relevant to a younger generation that is redefining adulthood in the Middle East – many of whom are caught between the freedom of adolescence and the responsibilities of adulthood.
We hope the campaign will stimulate the feelings and imagination of our audiences – just as it did to ours. This transition toward lifestyle-focused communication will help position Mercedes-Benz as a brand that is not just respected, but also loved.
Does going digital mean luxury brands would erode their exclusivity?
Luxury brands rely on their singularity and ability to give customers a personalised experience for a unique item – but rather than erode exclusivity, going digital breaks down communication barriers between the brand and consumers.
With a constantly connected audience, luxury brands must adapt the way they communicate to highlight the brand’s unique value propositions and enhance brand relevance, while informing and inspiring consumers along the way.
The interview is part of the cover story that appeared in the November 2017 issue of Gulf Marketing Review.