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January 11, 2012#

BMW Finds its Way Back Home

The road to long-term business success takes us down many roads, and sometimes it’s inevitable that we’ll make a wrong turn.

That’s what happened to BMW when it abandoned its powerful and iconic brand positioning, “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” in favor a much softer and generic promise of bringing “Joy” to drivers lives.

That was two years ago. And BMW was heavily, and rightly, criticized for getting all squishy, and walking away from one of the sharpest, most recognized and adored taglines of all time.   People inside BMW behind the “Joy” campaign claimed that they weren’t giving up on The Ultimate Driving Machine.  But how were we to know based on what was presented to us? Of course, The Ultimate Driving Machine is more than just a tagline. It defines the company’s purpose.  It’s what motivates, guides and brings pride to employees, and what compels consumers to perceive BMW as a cut above in the luxury car segment.

I wrote about my misgivings about the “Joy” campaign here on 2/19/10 (BMW’s New Brand Positioning), recommending that BMW return to The Ultimate Driving Machine soon rather than later.

Fortunately, employees and consumers alike will now once again find true “joy” in having their Ultimate Driving Machine back.