Towards a Future-Oriented Brand Personality
The term living brands describes well that brands undergo constant evolution and optimization as part of an ecosystem of users and other brands. Living brands are hyper-personalized, intelligent and user-centric.
In collaboration with Audi’s CI team, we defined such a living brand personality, which simultaneously builds future brand behavior. It enables Audi to deliver a long-term relevant and therefore successful brand experience while remaining true to the core of the brand.
From Status Quo to Vision
In a discovery workshop, we kicked off with the Audi team to develop a clear vision of the brand experience. To do this, we used key brand archetypes and, in our “brand as a person” exercise, asked how the Audi brand would look, act and be perceived as a person. We wanted to find out where the team believed the brand was currently positioned, but also to create a picture of the future in 2030 to give the brand a framework to evolve within.
We also conducted vox pops, i.e. surveys of people who are part of Audi’s strategic target group, to determine the consumer’s perspective. We also included the current corporate strategy in our analyses.
Defining the Brand Personality
We described and clustered our findings from a brand, user and business perspective in adjectives. There were four concise attributes that matched the brand personality: personal, proactive, flexible and intelligent. These apply to all touch points, i.e. all points of contact between the brand and the user, and ensure a consistent, positive user experience.
Next, we translated these attributes into brand filters—a tool we use to transfer the brand personality to the design. The brand filters guarantee that the strategically defined personality is accounted for in the design of all brand signatures. We therefore asked, “If we want the brand to be experienced as personal, proactive, flexible and intelligent, what does that mean for the look and feel or content of a website, for example?”
In the case of Audi, we extended the brand filters beyond purely digital design to include dimensions of physical product design such as interior, exterior and lighting design.
Using the Brand Filters in Daily Work
As a proof of concept, we evaluated the current Audi and myAudi websites using the brand filters, identifying their scope for improvement toward the desired brand experience. We also applied these brand filters as part of a new service journey to show how the brand personality changes in both facet and volume depending on the context.
Finally, we showed how to integrate brand personality into business processes and measure its actual impact through KPIs.
Ready for the Future
With our work, we have supported Audi’s CI team on its transition from rigid brand management to a future-ready living brand approach that enables consistent yet flexible brand design. With the brand personality and brand filters, we defined a core control and monitoring tool that allows the CI team to define and review the behavior of the Audi brand at various touch points and within the customer lifecycle at any time.