Vice President Brand Steering, Brand Management BMW and Marketing Services
Is there a single touchpoint of your brand that you think will be more influential to your consumers in the next five years?
Of course, aspects like product design, premium service, and outstanding engineering, resulting in our brand promise, “sheer driving pleasure,” are still the main drivers for our customers.
One point, which certainly will affect us as a brand and the automotive industry as a whole increasingly in the future, is the higher sensitivity and relevance concerning sustainability and the responsible use of natural resources.
BMW is aware of its ecological, economic, and social responsibility. The brand stands for the responsible use of natural resources and acts in a socially responsible way.
With BMW EfficientDynamics, we already have a very good offer for our customers today. With BMW EfficientDynamics, the brand offers solutions that fit both joy and low emissions and fuel consumption. If you will: “The brand provides sheer driving pleasure with a clear conscience.”
"BMW is aware of its ecological, economic, and social responsibility. The brand stands for the responsible use of natural resources and acts in a socially responsible way."
But EfficientDynamics, for us, is even more than “Less emission. More driving pleasure.” EfficientDynamics is an attitude that expresses everything we do and helps to intensify the experience of joy whenever you come into contact with the brand BMW.
Our “Joy” campaign that is currently aired in various markets and the concept car “BMW Vision EfficientDynamics” shown at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September are good examples that reinforce this strategy.
How does your brand influence the decisions made at your organization?
BMW has identified very early on that, next to our products, the brand is the second strongest pillar for our success. It delivers the emotional added value that is very important for our customers.
So the brand influences the decisions throughout the whole organization, starting within the research and development process, where our engineers verify every specification and step for whether it fits with the character or “personality” of the brand.
Another example is the brand communication, where every measure, from local below-the-line activities to global advertising campaigns, is briefed and examined to support the BMW brand personality.
We also bring the brand alive through a specific brand behavior. Knowing that the most effective impression is created by personal contact, we see it as an important point to provide a consistent and holistic brand impression—while staying authentic at the same time.
Can you provide us with insight on how you have managed to successfully balance a diverse portfolio of brands?
"BMW has identified very early on that, next to our products, the brand is the second strongest pillar for our success. It delivers the emotional added value that is very important for our customers."
The BMW Group, as the corporation, is steering the brand portfolio, which is organized as separately as possible. We do not follow an “umbrella-brand” strategy when communicating to our customers.
So, the BMW Group provides “living space” inwards (resources and know-how).
Outwardly, the BMW Group supports a strong market position. In return, strong, independently perceived brands support the BMW Group.
The brand identities, as well as brand and corporate activities, must not disagree at any time. Also the BMW Group does not compete, but always complements the brands on a communicative level.
The presentation of products and activities towards consumers is always conducted by the respective brand. A good example of this is the BMW Welt in Munich, which is the BMW brand’s home, in the perception of the customer. Another example is Goodwood, Rolls-Royce’s headquarters, which includes factory and customer service.
Jan-Christiaan Koenders is BMW’s Vice President Brand Steering, Brand Management BMW and Marketing Services. He builds up all new global branding activities, including BMW brand management, corporate identity, marketing innovation, merchandising and lifestyle, BMW Welt and BMW Group Classic.
Koenders joined BMW in 1993 and quickly moved up the ranks from his initial position as Program Planner of Long-Term Price and Volume Planning to his current title. His work with BMW has offered him exposure to all facets of the BMW brand. Prior to his work for BMW, Koenders worked in Strategic Planning for Toyota and was an Assistant Vice President for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company.
Koenders has a master’s degree from MIT Sloan School of Management with an Internet concentration and a B.A. from Tufts University.