If you missed the Audi ad during the Super Bowl, it showed a man in bed inside a classic estate who is awakened with oil all over himself. He throws back the covers and screams as he finds the grille to his deceased Rolls Royce. It was a clever nod to the classic scene in The Godfather (in case you aren’t old enough to remember.) Out front an Audi R8 drives away as a voice over tells us that old luxury is officially put on notice.
Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, Audi’s chief of marketing, Scott Keogh said that Audi would try to embody “new age values” and that those values would come “mostly from the West Coast.” He contrasted Audi’s “new luxury” with “old luxury” as typically associated with Europe.
All this is fascinating stuff even if you don’t give a rip about automobiles. It is part of a bigger trend that has impact not only for sales and marketing but literally every aspect of any business.
The trend is the redefinition of concepts.
I’ve been an advocate for the importance of defining precisely the intent and meaning behind words commonly used within an organization so that there is shared meaning. (What do we mean by “customer service?” How do we define “selling?” What is “distinctive?”) I’ve lately begun to see that the bigger and more important challenge is in redefining concepts; in refusing to play by the rules of old and unquestioned concepts. Innovation, excitement and potential progress are to be found in these redefinitions.
Audi is attempting to redefine “luxury.” Success won’t be determined by an entry in the dictionary, but by buy-in from existing and potential luxury buyers who are tired of the traditional concept.
All of us would be well to identify the primary concepts that drive our businesses and to questions whether we can invigorate them with new life and appeal through redefinition. In today’s competitive world, that’s one of the things that leaders do.