Creating Tremendous Digital Experiences – Customized Company | com

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT “TheGame Group” – THE GAME in a nutshell – you won’t get any clever on the website. At the end of April, visitors see a somewhat blank but flickering page on which ten vacancies are announced. You can join as a 2D or 3D artist. Or as a brand strategist, consultant and art director. At the front of the Careers section is a description of what the game actually means: “Creative Agency Above Disciplines.” “Dedicated dealership for BMW cars with a start-up character”.

THE GAME is currently the agency’s most ambitious project in the German-speaking world. The agency, which was officially established on April 1, 2021, will operate exclusively for the BMW Group for at least three years. Then, from the third to the fifth year, it can acquire more customers outside the automotive sector. After the fifth year, the balance is drawn.

The model has been customized – that is, tailor-made – to meet the needs of the Munich Car Group. Nearly 150 employees now work for the agency. It must make a critical contribution to developing a consistent look with unified messaging for corporate communications and branding as well as marketing, shaping the public perception of the premium manufacturer across all channels.

“Ultimate driving pleasure” – BMW’s famous claim not only to top speed is being revived. Drivers expect innovative technical and digital devices from fairly expensive cars. It takes experience. Charm. Communication should be up to date with technologies and energize, especially in the virtual space. With THE GAME, BMW invests primarily in digital, audio and motion picture platforms.

A role model for others

Behind the idea of ​​creating a dedicated dealership there is a strategic reorganization of the external image of the BMW Group that has been going on for years. The company is tearing apart the limit that still exists in the minds of many corporate communications and marketing. For organizations whose brands are sold by the factor of experience and image and by emotions, marketing and PR can no longer be separated anyway. So other companies should take a closer look at how agency and group collaboration works and how creative the output is.

“We are witnessing a public relations renaissance,” says Alexandre Pilgerie, responsible for communications for strategy, services, media and market communications for Europe and China at the BMW Group. Of course, you will continue to serve journalists as an important target group, but your own channels are becoming increasingly important to clients and other stakeholders.

For Billgeri, every media consumer is a hybrid. what does he mean? Each individual is both a sender and a receiver and part of several target groups. An individual belongs to the general public, but at the same time he may be a shareholder, an employee, an interested party or a customer. “Everyone expects a strict and coherent picture – no matter what channel of communication something is consumed through. Data from marketing and from communication should support each other and not conflict with each other.” Apparently, the BMW Group identified the shortcomings here for itself in the past and with comprehensive and coordinated cooperation internally as well as between individual agencies with each other and with their results were not always pleased with their results.

As a solution, the BMW Group, together with those responsible for the BMW brand, defined the “everything from one source” model. The claim: To find an agency that covers marketing, creativity, content, social media, event experiences, and classic PR. Fits BMW. “We didn’t find that for us in Germany,” Bilgerie explains.

Then the BMW Group contacted various agencies. Among them are Jung Von Matt, Experience One Agency and Looping Group. Question: “Do you want and can you build a dedicated dealership for us that can do BMW’s marketing and company communications?” Jung von Matt is an obvious choice as an advertising agency. Experience One, now called Going Beyond GmbH, should cover everything related to events and customer experiences. The Looping Group stands for competence in public relations and social content and combines storytelling with data. The agency, founded by former Stern editor-in-chief Dominic Wichmann with three co-founders, has experience with automotive customers, among other things due to collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. In addition to colleagues in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg, the dealership also works for BMW at the London location.

Think outside the traditional categories

Why didn’t BMW find what they were looking for in the already existing dealerships? Serviceplan, Fischer-Appelt, Scholz & Friends and others also claim competence in integrated communications, marketing and advertising.

“The agencies always come from the same direction,” says Pilgerie. “Sometimes from PR, sometimes from classic advertising or from marketing.” It is precisely this thinking of the classes that BMW wants to stay away from. The group wants their agency partner to be open and think outside their usual patterns of communication. Desire to design independently of current communication channels and preferences and focus solely on the overall preparation and communication of the topic. Experience from outside the auto industry is clearly desirable. So inspiration is also sought from the tech, fashion, media and environment groups.

Using the avatar, users can explore the virtual world of “Joytopia” and see how the car manufacturer envisions the future of mobility. Recently, “Joytopia” won an ADC Grand Prix. © BMW Group

“Warmer, closer, more direct, more surprising, more progressive” – Billgeri uses these adjectives to describe future BMW communications. “If you look at BMW five years ago, there was a lot of gray. The group in particular acted very cautiously. Now it will be more lively and dialogue-oriented.” The automotive group also wants to reach younger target groups and connect more closely with influencers and bloggers.

What does the BMW Group want it to stand for anyway? Bilgerie: “The BMW Group wants to be more than just transporting people from A to B. We also want to move the heart, inspire the mind and provide intellectual stimulation.” The themes developed by Connectivity aim to go beyond cars and mobility.

Mark Niedzballa joined The Game in June of last year as CEO and General Manager. Experience the first discovery phase from the outside. Agency rooms did not exist at that time. At first, Niedzballa jokes that you worked with your cell phone and laptop on a park bench. Meanwhile, THE GAME has rented an office in Munich – right next to the English Garden.

Niedzballa knows the auto industry well. With his previous agency Hey, he worked for BMW in Germany. Prior to that, he worked for the Daimler company for a long time. Complete the interview with Stefan Mauerer, who is responsible for customer business at Looping Group and co-founder of Haeberlein & Mauerer Agency (today: Haebmau). Above all, Mauerer contributes to social experience, public relations and content.

Organizing, looking at products and messages holistically and aligning them – this is how Niedzballa sums up the mission of THE GAME. “In the old world of BMW, there was no comprehensive, coordinated organization that we brought in with THE GAME.” The BMW Group and BMW want to tell a comprehensive, consistent story across all channels.

The structure of the game looks quite classic. There is a strategy and consulting department, as well as teams for campaigns, social media, editorial, PR, and experimental, which are constantly being expanded. “We can now put connections from these divisions together before they start rotating,” Nidzbala says. Mauerer adds that experts from different fields can be brought together at the same table from the start. There is also a common work area in the dealership rooms where BMW and dealership employees can work and exchange ideas.

What is the first conclusion? “Of course, BMW knows that such construction was not completed on day one. It is clear that we have to do groundwork with the customer,” says Nidzbala. There is great confidence on both sides. They went on a trip together. Stefan Mauerer sees a great desire for change at BMW. “The model has to be lived and regulated internally.” It is changing the culture of communication.

In conclusion, the BMW correspondent Bilgeri also emphasized the internal effect. There is more exchange across communication disciplines. Measures considered prepared will also be put to the test. “What the model really brought is great transparency. We see people in other departments working on the same issues.”

Content and lifestyle

The BMW Group and THE GAME are very satisfied with their appearance at IAA Mobility, which was held in Munich in September 2021 and served as a home match for BMW. For the trade fair, it was the headquarters of the automobile company with the four cylindrical towers equipped with a giant lighting fixture. The premium manufacturer has also built a Metaverse-style virtual world under the name “Joytopia”, which can be explored with the help of an avatar.

Show the world the future as BMW envisions it. In terms of content, BMW has focused on the vision of a circular economy and sustainable mobility. Joytopia has provided insight into technology, design, sustainability and materials research. Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz guides you around the world. In addition, there was a virtual concert for Coldplay. With their single “A Higher Power”, the band provided the soundtrack for the BMW iX and BMW i4 electric car campaign.

Overall, BMW seems to have a soft spot for celebrities. A world of content much like a lifestyle brand is visible to consumers. Experiences await everywhere. Film composer Hans Zimmer explains how he creates the sounds of electric car engines. Elsewhere, artist Jeff Koons designed the BMW M850i ​​xDrive Gran Coupé, or you can set out on an overnight ride through London with a special soundtrack. With “Changing Lanes” there is a podcast series in which he presents, for example, one of the best reports on kite surfing in the world. We went with singer Doja Cat to the Coachella Festival at BMW. It’s colorful, sometimes glamorous. Everything looks to the future. more than great.

Only: Is it really appropriate to produce such amounts of content that only have to do with the base product “the car” in passing? Videos, podcasts, digital worlds, and the entire content may be produced. What the BMW Group wants and for whom the cars are exactly the right choice is only partly clear. Stories about Art Basel in Miami, South Tyrol, London, California, Munich, and from “A City in 2063” give the impression that customers’ favorite training tool is not a BMW 3 Series, but rather a private jet – or something similar to a rocket. A potential buyer could be a 50-year-old plant.

This article first appeared in the print edition of #Agentur. You can order the brochure here.

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