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There is probably no one at this particular time who understands the importance of branding better than Volkswagen. With the recent revelation of the diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen really put their foot in it. As facts continue to surface about the product, executive knowledge, and the fact that 11 million vehicles (and their owners) are impacted, the deception consumers feel is enormous.

How does this scandal affect VW’s branding?

It’s a devastating liability. From a consumer’s viewpoint, branding facilitates buying. Instead of buying something of which they are certain – and VW certainly had phenomenal brand recognition and loyalty – consumers now have difficulty evaluating the quality and honesty of the product, and will look to other branded products.

Edward Boches wrote an article* in AdWeek summarizing the fallout that will affect VW’s consumers. The product has had great advertising for a long time, and that influence played a large part in shopper’s decisions. Even Boches says, “VW’s advertising made me feel good about the brand, the car and myself.”

VW the force imageI remember how delighted I was to see (and watch many times over) Volkswagen’s “The Force” commercial. https://youtu.be/R55e-uHQna0 I don’t own a VW and the commercial wasn’t enough to get me to purchase, but I will say kudos to their creative team for creating an ad and branding that tugged at my heartstrings as I cheered for the mini Darth Vader. The commercial evoked feelings of perseverance, faith, and success. These are three components VW will certainly need as they move forward.

Will Volkswagen recover from this disastrous turn of events? Only time will tell, and if they have a strategic and well-executed crisis plan that can turn around public perception. What will be interesting to watch is how their branding, advertising and messaging will change. Branding has considerable value. Once a brand is tarnished, it’ll take momentous effort to move consumers.

Even the Force may not be strong enough to fix this one.


*Read full article here:Edward Boches’ How Volkswagen Just Squandered 55 Years of Great Advertising