Rita Felder,
Director Brand and Marketing, Mercedes: Sustainable Futures

View from the inside

At Mercedes-Benz, many things move us. During times of great uncertainty, providing orientation and support becomes more important than ever. We feel it is vital to develop an attitude – as individuals, as a society but also as a company.   

Let me highlight our sustainability initiatives to fight climate change. Sustainability is complex with manifold ecological, economic and social facets. We have chosen a holistic approach to CO2-neutral mobility. We call it “Ambition 2039”. 

It applies to the entire life cycle of our vehicles – from their development to the extraction of raw materials, to production and use, their disposal and recycling. Our focus is on a significant reduction of CO2 emissions. In terms of our global production, all of our own car and van plants will be CO2-neutral from 2022. When it comes to our vehicles, our plan is for our new car fleet to be completely carbon-neutral by 2039.  

It takes not only attitude but also determination to get out of our comfort zones and to continuously reinvent ourselves – we are determined to reduce the footprint we leave on earth to an absolute minimum. 

Another topic that is very important to us is Corporate Culture. Our corporate values apply to everyone who is part of our global team. Values and guidelines give orientation in everyday life and help us do the right thing. Diversity of our workforce is our strength, and a key factor to our success. Respect, tolerance and team spirit characterize our corporate culture. No form of discrimination, harassment or bullying has any place at Mercedes-Benz. Our Formula 1 and Formula E racing teams have taken a clear stance for respect and against racism: All Silver Arrows now compete in an all-black base coat with the words “End Racism” painted on each car’s halo. We have committed to positive action to improve the diversity of our teams in both series. 

A brand can show attitude as well. When Covid-19 hit the world at full speed, we did what most companies did: we helped in the best possible way wherever we could. In very traditional ways – and beyond. Within the first few days of the pandemic, we decided to use the reach of our global Mercedes-Benz social media channels to “Donate Our Reach”. We felt the most important thing we could do is to educate and to inform in order to help slow the spread of the virus. We used our power to reach some 50 Million people and encourage them to stay at home. At the same time, we thanked those who could not stay at home and who are giving their all in these challenging times. In addition to that, we made use of one of our key assets: The brilliant brains of our engineers as well as our production facilities. For example, we dedicated 3D printers normally used to make car components to the production of medical equipment and face shields.  

Consumer attention is clearly rotating elsewhere.

One of our most recent collaborations, where we once again made use of the power of our brand sensibly and brought it in line with our attitude. When our chief design officer Gorden Wagener joined forces with Virgil Abloh, chief creative director founder of Off-White and Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton, they united the worlds of fashion and art with automotive to completely shake up established ideas of luxury with their ‘Project Geländewagen’. However, we did not want to stop there. A replica of the design study was produced and auctioned off as part of Sotheby’s upcoming “Contemporary Curated” auction. The proceeds were donated to an arts foundation. 

All of those actions directly shape our brand image – and thus the value of our brand.  

In challenging times like this year, the world has clearly felt that we are getting through this. Namely together. People. Nations. Companies and brands.  

We are grateful that we were able to take a part to cushioning and mitigating the effects of the pandemic to some extent. 

We believe major brands such as Mercedes-Benz have to give customers orientation and support, especially in uncertain times.  

It is our brand’s inherent responsibility to express an attitude and to use our voice with purpose. Of course, it is not always easy to live up to these high expectations of oneself. We are a global company with different target groups and stakeholders.  

Now more than ever, we consider it essential that we coordinate quickly and work together in every corner of the globe.  

We intend to maintain this spirit of helping and solidarity. 

Naturally, our innovations, products and services are our bedrock. However, other important factors shape our brand as well.  

Our influence is not limited to automotive; today the brand has multiple touch points to many cultural industries from music, to sports and, of course, fashion.  

Wherever a customer meets our brand, we want to inspire them.  

This inspiration applies to the attitude Mercedes-Benz represents to the public.  

With it, we hope to inspire and to motivate as many people as possible to take responsibility for our planet and society – because together we can achieve great things. 

Going forward, the brand will see a renewed focus on luxury, making it an integral part of all products, customer interactions and digital technologies. Our target is to redefine automotive luxury. We strive to offer the most desirable products and services to our customers by providing an enhanced product substance, technological product features and services.  

Luxury has always been part of the soul of Mercedes-Benz. From the brands start in the early years of the last century, Mercedes-Benz was a contemporary desired brand. Luxury itself remains a timeless concept. It differentiates a brand when creating and triggering desire – the desire to own something extraordinary within a specific environment of values or experiences. 

Mercedes-Benz will reshape its product portfolio, brand communications and its sales network to deliver a true luxury experience – a luxury experience that will be electric, software-driven and sustainable.  

We as an engineering company integrate creativity as guiding principle in all of our internal processes and external activities, from product creation to our customer touch points. Creativity for us means creating perceivable luxury experiences. 

We will further pursue our ambition to offer luxury cars across all segments and sub brands: Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach, G-Class and EQ. The new strategy will take them to the next level – accelerating their development, with clear and targeted plans to unlock their potential and drive substantial incremental EBIT growth.