Volkswagen attempts brand rebuild with marketing push

Volkswagen is starting its offensive to salvage consumer trust with a marketing push, placing numerous newspaper ads aimed at reassuring customers.

VW rebuild trust ad

The ad headline states: “We have broken the most important part in our vehicles: your trust”. The ad appeared over the weekend in most of the national broadsheets.

It goes on to say that Volkswagen’s main priority is to win back trust with actions rather than words.

According to YouGov’s Brand Index figures, Volkswagen’s overall index, which includes measurements like reputation, value and satisfaction, has dropped 32 points over the past month, placing the brand at the bottom of a list of 34 competitors. It used to hold the top spot.

The German brand’s emission scandal is also having a wider impact, hitting the brand power of the German nation. Germany has now lost its position as the most powerful nation brand to Singapore and its value has dropped by $191bn to $4.2tn, down 4% on 2014, according to Brand Finance.

The annual report evaluates the financial impact of the image and reputation of the top 100 countries.

“German industry is lauded for its efficiency and reliability. That such an iconic German brand, the ‘people’s car’, could behave in this way is beginning to undo decades of accumulated goodwill and cast aspersions over the practices of German industry,” says David Haigh, Brand Finance’s CEO.

However, marketers generally seem more positive about the brand. A survey by recruitment consultancy EMR shows that 70% of marketing professionals would happily accept a job at Volkswagen, considering it the “the ultimate brand challenge”.

Only 13% said they would avoid associations at all costs, perceiving a job at the brand to be “a nightmare role”.

Serrol Osman, EMR’s managing director says: “In modern business reputation and honesty is everything. The impact of cheating their emissions test will be felt globally by VW and their brand reputation among consumers has clearly already suffered.

“In today’s society it’s even more essential that businesses act in an honest and ethical manner as consumers’ awareness of a brand’s integrity is greater and the level of engagement with the brands they invest in is more complete.”

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