In 2007, Daimler set up a team of senior executives to develop new growth initiatives beyond the world of cars.
Having identified the brand as one of the most important assets to leverage, the Business Innovation team approached Wolff Olins to help develop appropriate businesses that generated new and profitable growth without putting one of the world’s most iconic brands at risk.
Wolff Olins developed a brand-led innovation framework that ensures each venture protects the Mercedes-Benz brand, leverages what is tangibly special about it (e.g. German engineering), gives the brand new relevance in the world (for example attracting younger customers and building new sustainability credentials) and makes money (with a return on sales of 20% or more).
Working with Daimler's Business Innovation team and the leaders of the business in UK, US, China and Japan, we developed 10 new businesses to pilot. In January 2009 (10 months after the start of the project), Daimler launched Kinderclass – elegant solutions for family mobility - at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey, UK. June 2009 marked the launch of the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy in the UK - the first of its kind in the world. Later in 2009, an exclusive travel service will be launched in China.
Kinder class has already led to a significant increase in the sale of child safety accessories and continues to attract younger families to the
Mercedes-Benz brand. The Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy was received enthusiastically, gaining over 500 customers within eight weeks.
The Times credited the brand for ‘highlighting a huge and long ignored problem.’ The Academy aims to have 1,000 franchises by 2015 and by August 2009 has already received 200 franchise applicants.