Friday, October 30, 2009
Brand repositioning - Case
On this site I regularly want to share some of the good case studies that I've come across over the years. A very good repositioning case is the amazing story of Skoda. Since Skoda became part of VW group in 2001 it has made an amazing brand journey. Prior to this some of the old Skoda jokes were...
Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen?
- To keep your hands warm while you push it
How do you double the value of a Skoda?
- Fill it with petrol
This was the general view of Skoda in the 90's. In 1991 Volkswagen took a first 30% stake in Skoda and VW started to train and educate the Skoda workforce. And in 2001 VW took total control of the Skoda business. The first Skoda to be built on the Volkswagen platform was Octavia launched in 1998. Octavia was launched in the UK with Skoda’s highest promotional budget ever (approx. £10 million). But the launch was a massive failure. Only 6,154 cars were sold over the year after launch despite very good reviews in leading car magazines. It was at that stage that the people in charge realised just how seriously negative perceptions people had of Skoda as a car brand. Research also suggested that over 60% of Brits promised that they would never buy a Skoda due to its unfashionable, poor quality image. An image that was no longer in sync with the very good cars that Skoda now offered to the public.
VW understood that they needed to close the gap between Skoda's poor image and the reality i.e. the good value, high quality cars that Skoda now offered. The new model Skoda Fabia was going to be the platform for the Skoda repositioning. The ad agency brief was something like: “Relaunch the Skoda brand and do it by using the launch of the new supermini, the Fabia”. The agency delivered a SIMPLE and BRAVE solution…
ATTACK THE NEGATIVE PERCEPTIONS OF THE SKODA BRAND
EXPLOIT THE POTENTIAL OF: “GREAT CAR MEETS DISBELIEVING PEOPLE”
The Skoda brand repositioning was supported by a number of ads. See e.g. this commercial from 2002.
The overall objective with the campaign was to turn the Skoda brand from cheap and nasty to value for money and cheerful. And the idea was to create a message that made gentle fun at Skoda’s poor customer perception.
Theme: “The Fabia is so good that you won’t believe it’s a Skoda”
The campaign ran in both print and TV supported by three different television ads showed situations where people failed to realize that the car in question is a Skoda.
The poster ads featured lines such as “It’s a Skoda, honest!” and “No, really”.
The campaign was also supported by a major PR push aimed at consumer press with the attempts to influence journalists to discuss Skoda in a positive light.
So, what were the campaign results one wonders? Well, Skoda sales grew by 34% in the year of the campaign. By the end of 2000 more than 11,000 Fabia had been sold in the UK and even Octavia saw an increase in sales of 29%. Moreover, customer perceptions of Skoda improved dramatically! Instead of seeing the “old” Skoda they now saw a cut-price, high quality VW. And the agency was of course very pleased when the three commercials for the Skoda Fabia picked up bronze, silver and gold places at the annual British Television Advertising Awards in London.