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Does every premium brand need an experience center?

October 31, 2006

Mercedes-Benz just opened a brand experience center in Surrey, UK.

This center features everything anyone could possibly want to know and experience about brand Mercedes including; an off-road driving circuit, a road circuit, an immersive simulator ride through the production process and a brand gallery showcasing iconic Mercedes models from history.

The center is expected to attract 300,000 visitors a year.

It’s interesting to read how Mercedes explains the strategy behind the center.

“The automotive world is a highly competitive one and the success of all brands is constantly under attack. As manufacturing and design standards have risen in all cars, brand differentiation becomes more and more difficult. The opening today of our new brand centre in the UK marks another important milestone in our history, and enables our customers to appreciate just what it is that makes our brands and product very special.”

Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management DaimlerChrysler

Mercedes believes that brand centers like this one are now an important component of its marketing mix. There are 5 other such centers around the world.

For premium brands it’s clearly critical that they are able to get their brand story out. Retail environments need to play more of a brand experience role and to engage the consumer in an education of the brand, in addition to selling product. While getting this balance right is always something of a challenge; creating dedicated brand experience environments, like Mercedes is doing, would seem to make sense, even for luxury brands that have always relied on retail alone.

Should Louis Vuitton open travel museums?

Should Rolex have mini watch-making factories?

Should Le Creuset open a dining club?

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