In the era of mobility transition, communication is particularly important for car manufacturers. Bettina Fetzer, Head of Communications and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz, reveals how she and her team offer orientation and positioning for this.
Mobility is currently undergoing extreme change. What are the implications for car brand marketing and communications?
Above all else, we need to operate flexibly. If we’re talking about our customers and fans of the brand, then particularly in times of transformation in the automotive industry, we aim to offer orientation and clear positioning. What’s important in doing so is to think and act from the perspective of the multi-layered target groups, to know their needs and to put them at the heart of our operations. The meeting and interaction with our brand should be infused with a contemporary spirit of the age and cultural and sustainable values.
Electrification, digitalization, sustainability – what do you say to those people for whom the path to the future isn’t moving fast enough?
Recently, in July, Mercedes-Benz accelerated the transformation to an emission-free and software-driven future once again, with the strategic step to “electric only”. By 2022, we will be offering battery electric vehicles in all segments where the brand has a presence. From 2025, all new vehicle architectures will be exclusively electric, and a fully electric option will be available for every model. We are pursuing the goal of a CO2-neutral new car fleet across the whole value-added chain for Mercedes-Benz; from development to the supplier network, to in-house production, product electrification and, beyond that, to renewable energies for the service life of electric vehicles. Key milestones are CO2-neutral production in all own Mercedes-Benz AG plants worldwide from 2022, the joint shaping of the infrastructure, and the agreeing of concrete CO2 measures with suppliers.
With that in mind, how do you get around most of the time – and is it electric and connected?
That really depends. At work, we are superbly connected digitally, and at the moment we rarely need to travel around to make meetings. Otherwise I like to drive, although I don’t exclusively drive, electric. Even longer distances with ranges of several hundred kilometers are not a problem, if you deliberately plan in short breaks. Thanks to digital technologies in our products, such as navigation using electric intelligence, the quickest route including charging stops can be planned, taking numerous factors into account. Then there’s our “Mercedes me” services and our smart driving assistance systems: for me, that makes driving electric convenient and reliable.
Who would you most like to get into conversation with at IAA MOBILITY?
Given the breadth of interesting and important themes, I would find it difficult to name just one player. I hope for an open and wide-ranging dialog with all interested parties, where we can discuss our visions and ideas for a sustainable, digital and climate-neutral mobility together. We want to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to be responsible for our planet and our society, because it’s only together that we can achieve something as big as the mobility transition.
What innovation would you like to be announcing in 15 years’ time for IAA MOBILITY?
In 15 years’ time, we will be traveling even more sustainably than we are today. On top of that, our cars will be a lot more connected. That opens up new possibilities for us – for instance, when it comes to road safety. But the way we operate the car will also be different, and more intuitive: maybe simply through the power of our thoughts. In addition, there will be more and more situations on the road where we travel in ‘automated driving’ mode. That allows us to do other things in the car, such as watching a film, reading e-mails or playing with our children, for instance if we are stuck in traffic somewhere. That opens up a wholly new form of freedom and luxury for us when driving.
Bettina Fetzer has held various posts with the company since 2004. Since November 2018 she has been working as Head of Marketing for Mercedes-Benz AG. In this role, Fetzer is a catalyst for the brand and responsible for the global internal and external positioning of Mercedes-Benz and its products. Based on a strategic brand model, together with her team she pursues the clear and globally consistent positioning of Mercedes-Benz as a modern luxury automotive brand. Beyond that, her area of responsibilities also takes in the global design, implementation and management of communications measures and marketing strategies. On July 1, 2021, Bettina Fetzer also assumed the role as Head of Communications (COM) at Mercedes-Benz AG, in a combined post.
Mercedes-Benz AG is responsible for the global business of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans, with over 170,000 employees worldwide. The company’s focus is on the development, production and marketing of cars and vans, along with vehicle-related services. Beyond that, the company is aiming at a leading position in electromobility and vehicle software. The product portfolio covers the Mercedes-Benz brand with its sub-brands Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach, Mercedes-EQ, G-Class and the smart brand. In 2020, around 2.1 million cars and close on 375,000 vans were sold. “Lead in Electric” is the message from Mercedes-Benz at IAA MOBILITY in Munich. With a feeling for the zeitgeist and an exhibition presence geared to dialog and experience, Mercedes-Benz is promoting a strong, forward-looking image as a modern luxury automotive brand. Of the total of eight premières at the show, five are pure electric models and one is a high-performance hybrid vehicle.
IAA MOBILITY is transforming itself from a pure car show to an international mobility platform with four pillars: The Summit, the Conference, the “Blue Lane” and the downtown Munich Open Space. Under the slogan of “What will move us next”, it stands for the digital and climate-neutral mobility of the future. From 7 to 12 September 2021, the car, bike and tech industries come together at IAA MOBILITY in Munich.