Audi for more than eighty years now is trying to achieve to construct the perfect automobile for ultimate driving pleasure. In order to achieving this, the German automaker choose the way of trying to combine all possible competitive features of its competitors in to one car. This becomes visual by having a closer look at the advertisements and the positioning strategies that the four-ringed manufacturer is using. According to a commercial which has been added on You Tube August 2006 Audi combines the advantages of four well known automobile brands in its self.
The commercial shows four empty key holding hooks on a wall which will be filled one after the other with the keys of Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Volvo and BMW after asking the viewer the question “What car do you want? ”. While hanging up these keys it lists the different advantages of those vehicles. With Alfa Romeo it says “designed”, Mercedes is comfort, Volvo stands for safety and BMW for sportiness. After all the four keys have bin hung up, the key holding rings which have bin hanged on the hooks form the logo of Audi.
After the logo becomes visual to the viewer a text appears which says: “In one care only? ”. This commercial is the best way to prove my above mentioned statement about Audi-s strategy of combining all the advantages a car can have in on vehicle. According to this and some other facts, which will introduce later on, I would now like to evaluate the positioning strategies of Audi according to the theory I mentioned in my literature revue. As I have mentioned in my review companies can use several strategies of positioning their product towards other products.
In the case of Audi Automobiles this is absolutely the case. Audi doesn’t specify it self on only one strategy it rather creates a mix of them in order to achieve the best result. Comparing the product to competitors for instance is one strategy for Audi in order to position its vehicles. This could be seen in the previously mentioned commercial. It is questionable if in the case of Audi that is a good way to go or not. On the one hand comparing yourself to four other cars brands, specially in the way they have done it, can easily lead the consumer into the wrong direction.
The reason why, is that with this commercial Audi didn’t only promote its self but also the other four competing brands. On the other hand positioning yourself close to your competitors can also be very efficient because so consumers can make a direct comparison between the other car manufactures and yours. According to my literature review this is called the “me too” strategy. Another strategy related to the previous one is to base the position on the benefits of the product, which in this case obviously happens. But as I have just mentioned it shouldn’t promote the other competitors too much.
Referring to the origin of the product is another positioning strategy which in my opinion is very wisely used in the case of Audi with the German slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” which means as much as keeping ahead trough technology. This slogan doesn’t only appear on the official International website (www. audi. com) but also in several commercial such as the commercial for the new Audi R8. It can be stated that in the case of Audi this is a very well used slogan, because of the language it refers to a country which is famous for reliable and sustainable work.
Further more it refers to the country where the two other major luxury cars come from in the form of Mercedes and BMW which also have a high reputation in the market of luxury cars. Continuing the evaluation of the positioning strategies used by Audi Automobiles another strategy is the appealing to the users of the product. In a blog commercial provided by www. autoblog. com we get to know the humorous side of the company by seeing Audi having fun at expenses of BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. This commercial shows a couple driving home to a family reunion in an Audi A4.
The video also shows other members of the family heading to the reunion, but they are driving a BMW a Mercedes and a Lexus. In stead of pointing out the advantages of Audi against the other competitors it picks on the stereotypes connected with the driver of the other auto vehicles. BMW is associated as a driver who drives crazy cutting of other cars, making insulting gestures, not caring about any responsibility on the road. The Mercedes owner is pictured as an old man with a young woman on its side driving with his wipers going and his blinker on.
The couple sitting in the Lexus is represented as yuppies. According to the web site this commercial was created by Audi to letting us know that its consumers are normal people like you and me. It is to be decided if this was the most appropriate way of doing that. Another way could have bin to picture parents taking their kids to a summer camp or a couple driving to the movies. It’s also to be decided if doing such a comedic and sarcastic commercial won’t have any side effects on the reputation of the Company.
This way of advertizing can make the brand look unserious and unappealing to some potential consumers. In the literature review I mentioned the article written by Debora Henken in which she mentions five priori steps to positioning which should be taken in consideration in order to position a product successfully. The first of these steps is to define the target consumer or the target market. In the situation of Audi it is not really obvious who or what the target market is.
Although Audi often tries to compare it self with other luxury cars with either replacing them or underlining their advantages and make them its own, which could be seen as referring to a certain target market, it rarely if ever shows people in their commercials which would represent a certain kind of user segment. According to the theory this is a good strategy because this ensures enough place to develop a compelling value proposition which is another prior step needed to be taken in order to position a product efficiently.
Because, of not directly “speaking” to any target market to whose expectations it has to adjust its values, the brand is able to create a value that fits their concept the most. That value on the one hand is the achievement of perfection in technique and design, on the other hand combining the outstanding values of the competitors. According to Debora Henken another step is to differentiate from your competitors. In the case of the four-ringed automaker this is an interesting strategy.
Audi does differentiate it self from its competitors with the help of its advertisements in which it constantly replaces or compares its self to them in a more or less comic or sarcastic way. Audi and its advertisements, no matter if broadcast media or outdoor media, usually have a suggestion of humor about them compared to the way how its competitors advertize them self’s. This already is a good way to stand out of the “crowd” regardless if its in a positive or negative way.
What I mean by that is that on the one hand it can result an unserious picture as I have previously mentioned, but on the other hand can make the brand even seem more pleasant and “fresh” to the potential consumer. In the literature review I referred to the theory of Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong who state: “The positioning task consists of three steps: identifying a set of competitive advantages upon which to build a position, selecting the right competitive advantages, and effectively communicating and delivering the chosen position to the market”.
It can be stated that Audi took the first step which is identifying a set of competitive advantages very serious. This can be proven by the commercial of the key hooks where it lists all possible advantages in one car. The reason why I refer to that commercial so often is that in that advertisement Audi collected all the “themes” which it uses to advertize its cars one by one, but now collected them all into one commercial.
What I mean by that is that in one commercial it wants to position its product as a high performance driving machine, in the other as an perfectly designed masterpiece, and in the third as an comfortable an secure driving vehicle. It seems to me that the German car manufacturer can’t decide on which advantage to select and support, which leads us directly to the second step of positioning according to Kotler and Armstrong which is to select the right competitive advantage.
The company with the four-rings doesn’t seem to be able to select and stick to only one advantage, which one might find disturbing because he gets confused by the variety, and the other might find attractive because he likes to have the freedom to decide between a sportier high performance car or a safe and comfortable car within one brand. Audi in this matter seems to differentiate from the theory mentioned in my revue which doesn’t mean that its going into the wrong direction.
With this the brand is offering itself to a larger market instead of narrowing it down to only one segment of it. This leads us to the third and final step of positioning regarding to the theory of Kotler and Armstrong which is to efficiently communicate and deliver the chosen position to the target market. As I have just mentioned the company doesn’t specify its commercials on a specific target consumer. However the way of communicating and delivering the product anticipates a feeling for a potential target market which is supported by the usage of the marketing mix.
All in all Audi Automobiles reaches for a high-quality position on the market to which the 4 P-s have bin adjusted perfectly. The product it self is a high-quality vehicle with up to date technology, modern and timeless design, high performance engine, and top service reputation. This is also reflected in the price, which is reasonable according to these features. Also the place of purchasing and the way of promoting, no matter how comic, sarcastic or comparing it is, anticipates the feeling of facing a luxury item.
Audi [Internet] Available from http://www.audi.com/audi/com/en2.html [Accessed 1 November 2008]
Auto blog [Internet] Available from http://www.autoblog.com/2008/10/09/meet-the-beckers-audi-has-fun-at-expense-of-bmw-mercedes-and-l/ [Accessed 31 October 2008]