For the German automaker, a shift to electric vehicles has meant a fundamental adaptation, not only of manufacturing but also of communications.

Volkswagen (VW), the German carmaker, has realigned its entire enterprise toward the goal of becoming the global leader in electric mobility, making it affordable to millions of people. In a recent appearance, Jochen Sengpiehl, chief marketing officer at Volkswagen Passenger Cars, explained what this means.

For the carmaker, such a big strategic shift (having cautioned against it in 2009) reflects VW’s effort to rehabilitate after the 2015 emissions cheating scandal on its diesel cars. To move beyond this crisis, the firm needed to reset. Electric cars have been the answer.

Though they remain mostly the preserve of a privileged few, VW's plan is to democratise e-mobility. Firstly, this means making an affordable electric car that turns a profit. Secondly, this means emulating software makers rather than hardware makers as the company embarks on contributing to electric infrastructure.

In this electrical future, one of the main adjustments is to start thinking in terms of products that are never truly finished, as in the world of software.

For Sengpiehl and the marketing capability, the work is similarly ongoing. Sengpiehl uses a telling word when describing historically separate, though related, disciplines – sales, marketing, PR – as “melting” together. The sales value chain that has existed for most of the company’s history is becoming more complicated.

Its attempt to make sense of this boils down to its recent work creating the OneHub system. This is a simplified front-end for the firm’s website with a clear purpose: bringing its over 600 million monthly visitors (excluding China) into the ecosystem and then quickly moving them towards either test drive or conversion.

For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Volkswagen’s new strategy: dreams of electric fleets.

Sourced from WARC