A Case Study of Audi’s Brand Repositioning in China

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Submitted By iiiistone
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China Media Research, 9(3), 2013, Zheng, Case Study of Audi’s Brand Repositioning in China

A Case Study of Audi’s Brand Repositioning in China
Lu Zheng University of Florida Abstract: Based on a comprehensive review of Audi’s press releases published from 1999 to 2007 and in-depth interviews with Audi’s public relations professionals, this case study identified media relations, event sponsorship, and corporate social responsibility as Audi’s main public relations strategies for its brand repositioning in the Chinese market. Each strategy and related tactics were first illustrated by specific examples and then surveyed in light of contemporary public relations and mass communication theories. [China Media Research. 2013; 9(3): 64-73] Key words: Audi, brand, reposition Introduction Audi, a subsidiary of German car manufacturer Volkswagen, entered the Chinese automobile market in 1988. In the late 1990s, or one decade after its China debut, Audi, with the help of Ruder Finn, a New-York based independent PR firm, began to implement a brand repositioning strategy in China. By the mid-2000s, thanks to its unremitting PR efforts, Audi has successfully repositioned itself from a government car brand to a premium car brand targeting successful business professionals (Ruder Finn, 2007). Since the launching of its China production in 1988, Audi was designated as the “premium government car brand” dedicated to serve high-rank government officials. In contrast, middle and low ranking government officials were only allowed to use Red Flags and Santana. Consequently, during the 1990s, Audi was largely perceived as “the government car brand” among Chinese general public (Li, 2005). The implications of such brand image are two-fold. As a government car serving exclusively the high-rank government officials, Audi symbolizes unchallenged status and power. Meanwhile, such…...

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