What's behind the latest brand symbol overhaul at BMW

BMW GM of marketing talks about the fifth iteration of the automotive brand's iconic visual identity

Some brand symbols are iconic, and immediately convey not just an identity but a set of attributes that clearly describe what the brand stands for. Such recognition can take years to establish, and it is something most brand owners are loath to mess with.

Over time, however, market sentiment and behaviours can change, and the relevancy of a brand symbol to some audience members can wane. So how should a brand owner go about ensuring their symbol remains effective without risking losing what has taken decades to achieve?

BMW has asked itself this same question many times since its formation in Bavaria in 1916, having gone through four revisions of its circular brand symbol up until 1997.

Tony SestoCredit: BMW
Tony Sesto


Yet the world has been swept by the digital revolution since then, changing the media formats brands use to engage with audiences, as well as the behaviours and expectations of audiences themselves.

And it is specifically these digital audiences BMW has in mind with the fifth revision of its iconic symbol. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year, the new symbol does away with its former 3D effect in favour of a flatter look on a transparent background.

According to BMW Australia general manager of marketing, Tony Sesto, the new symbol has been designed specifically for digital marketing and communications and is intended to convey openness, clarity and modernity.

“We want it to invite our customers to become part of the world of BMW,” Sesto told CMO. “BMW is not giving up on the past, but we are embracing our future with our new and most loyal customers, and a new symbol for digital marketing is an integral step in this process.”

Sesto said the reduced complexity of symbol, in terms of its colours, proportion and flat design, coupled with a distinctive typeface, means the new identity is highly optimised for digital marketing, and allows the brand to remain flexible and harnesses the opportunities of digitalisation and communicating in new ways.

“We are confident both of our brand identities – the one seen on our vehicles and at dealerships, and the other for marketing – will complement each other perfectly,” he said. “Relevancy is incredibly important in today’s market and to achieve that, we must focus on being a relationship brand with today’s consumers. The new and transparent version of our BMW brand identity invites our existing customers and new customers to join us as we embrace the future.”

Most importantly, Sesto said the new symbol reflects BMW's transition from focusing purely on the automotive world, to being about technology and connection to our customers.

“We are a premium brand that happens to build cars, but we’re in the business of providing luxury experiences,” Sesto said. “So not only is the intrinsic detail of the vehicle critical for us, but it’s also the overall experience that wins hearts and disseminates joy, which is at the core of our brand. It is this that has won over customers and earned us a spot on the best global brand rankings.”

Sesto said feedback from employees, network of dealer partners and customers has been positive.

“Since its official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year, the new brand symbol immediately became an integral part of our brand communications in Australia,” he said. “This is just the beginning, and we’re excited about the opportunities the new identity will deliver for BMW’s marketing efforts in Australia in the coming years.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Awesome information on marketing company..awaiting for your new article on Advisory services and also on below topics.business advisory s...

Wasim Ahmad

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 2 December 2021

Read more

I couldn't understand one things why on earth people only talk aboutimpact of digital transformation on banking and finance field instead...

Rajesh Acharya

Digital take-up and experiences help drive Suncorp's solid FY21 performance

Read more

I really appreciate your article. Love your Article. By reading your article, its created an idea in my mind about loyalty strategy to ke...

Jack Reacher

Report: Marketers failing to realise the benefits of customer loyalty programs

Read more

One month’s research and we’ve handpicked this generation’s 50 most talented Women CEOs, leading the top multinational companies around t...

Vaishnavi Pillai

Women in leadership the focus on International Women’s Day

Read more

Great post!

deen8

What felix Mobile is doing to keep customer support cost-effective

Read more

Blog Posts

When friction can be a brand’s best friend

I always enjoy those oft-forgotten, in-between moments in any experience. These moments are not necessarily part of any defined experience per se. They likely wouldn’t show up in an organisation’s plans or ideas to help make the customer journey or user flow as simple, easy and seamless as possible.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

How much attention should we be paying to the ‘attention economy’?

There’s been a lot of buzz in the advertising industry lately about what’s coined the ‘attention economy’. And it’s fast becoming the new battleground for media channels to prove their wares and to develop and espouse new attention metrics.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

Sometimes the best solutions are some of the most counterintuitive

Exceptional CMOs do exceptional things for themselves and for those they inspire. At your best you are creative, innovative and inspirational. We have a problem though. We now live in a corporate world that demands sensibility where everything you do is measurable and stakeholders demand predictability – the antithesis of breakthrough and transformation.

Hamish Thomson

Author, former regional president and global brand head, Mars Incorporated

Sign in