Mr Stegmann, as Director Brand & Marketing Strategy you are responsible for the Mercedes-Benz brand. How can you continue developing the brand strategy in times of digital transformation and radical change at Daimler without losing sight of the brand's core?
"Every brand has its own unique signature, its own DNA. This DNA is all-pervasive and apparent everywhere: from the product and the people through to marketing. The brand is at the core of everything we do. As the soul of the company, it is reflected in the brand's personality, in the brand's style, in the way we act and communicate.
The Mercedes-Benz brand has a long tradition of reconciling the apparent opposites of heart and mind in a fascinating manner. We seek to warm hearts while convincing minds. Our approach combines tradition with a spirit that embraces the future. It embodies the modern zeitgeist in supreme fashion and is very much of the moment. That's the Mercedes-Benz style. We at Mercedes-Benz dub this "Modern Luxury". This distinguishes us from the other car brands and sets us apart in the eyes of the customer. A good example here is our new A-Class. It sets a new benchmark for luxury in the compact segment and presents a revolutionary interior design. At the same time, with MBUX it offers intelligent high technology and a whole range of functions which have been the reserve of the luxury class to date. It is young and dynamic and at the same time grown-up and comfortable like never before.
How difficult is it in your view to alter a brand?
Brands can be carefully changed and developed - that's precisely my job. On the one hand, work on a brand is influenced by psychology and requires a deep understanding of the thought mechanisms that are triggered in people's minds. On the other hand, it also involves a pronounced craftsmanship factor. As a brand manager, by gently tweaking both of these factors you can develop and refine brand images in people's minds. Mercedes-Benz is a prime example here. There are few brands that have gone through such a radical process of change in such a brief space of time. From an essentially conservative brand to one that is modern and progressive in character, while always remaining true to itself. It is precisely this delicate balancing act that our customers have come to appreciate.
What does Mercedes-Benz stand for today?
As a brand, we have always applied our engineering prowess to address people's needs, setting technological milestones along the way. Today we aim to pursue this same course more rigorously in the areas of marketing and communication, too. At Mercedes-Benz we call this "human-centred innovation". This will enable us to make Mercedes-Benz an even more desirable brand which will continue to set benchmarks in the mobility sector of the future.
Mercedes-Benz has long offered its existing and potential customers more than just premium vehicles. Comprehensive and diverse service, mobility, financial and insurance products and exciting lifestyle offerings and events broaden the product and brand experience into an all-embracing Mercedes world. The development of our product and service range continues to be ongoing, of course. Still driven by our claim "The best or nothing" after more than 130 years.