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This week, the Elf on the Shelf ditches the sleigh for a set of German-engineered wheels. Grab a seat and strap-in for a tour of one of the world’s oldest and most recognizable automotive brands.
This is “BMW: Brand of the Week.”

Founded in Munich, Germany in 1916 and currently the leading brand in the luxury automotive category, BMW can trace much of its success back to its strong brand identity. In 1975, the company introduced a slogan that would later become its calling card: “the Ultimate Driving Machine.” In a move that clearly demonstrates the long-term focus of its brand strategy, BMW continues to market itself under the same slogan today. The brand may have changed and adapted its designs over the years, but it never lost its most iconic components (e.g. round headlights and a split grille). Even after nearly a century of manufacturing different models and designs, odds are you can still pick out a BMW on the street, no matter what year it was made.

BMW’s product messaging and presentation position its cars as superior performance machines packaged in provocative elegance, thereby aligning its brand identity with a sense of adventure, status, and sex appeal. To quote the company’s mission statement, “The BMW brand stands for one thing: sheer driving pleasure. Sporting and dynamic performance combined with superb design and exclusive quality.” These brand values are perfectly catered to BMW’s primary target audience, which it defines as upper-middle class and upper class males aged 27 to 65.

As emerging technologies continue to redefine the marketing ecosystem, BMW continues to refine its marketing strategy to most effectively reach customers across all channels and touch points. The automotive category has been historically slow to carve out a foothold in social channels, but BMW was a relatively early adopter of social media marketing. Perhaps most impressive is the company’s Facebook account which boasts about 13.5 million total page likes, with daily status updates receiving around 50,000 user interactions each. BMW offers six Facebook apps that allow users to engage with various aspects of the cars, including the Ultimate Drive app, the Superfan app, and the XDRIVE CHALLENGE app.

BMW has also experimented with user-generated content. One competition held on BMW’s Facebook page challenged users to create 6-second advertisements for the launch of the then-new 3 Series. Anyone who doubts BMW’s ability to remain relevant and effectively capitalize on trends in the social sphere has only to look at the fact that the company was driving user-generated Vines before Twitter’s Vine service even existed.

From social media to online video to the car in the lane next to you, BMW boasts more powerful brand awareness and brand affinity than virtually any other brand in the luxury automotive space. BMW’s well-structured integration of offline and online marketing communications lays the foundation for its ongoing and campaign-specific strategies, all of which are tailored to reinforce the company’s already stellar brand identity. BMW’s commitment to a long-term brand identity, combined with its multi-pronged approach to traditional and online marketing strategy, has earned the company a strong foothold in the luxury automotive marketplace.

And just what does the Elf on the Shelf have to say about all this? Unfortunately, within seconds of grabbing the keys to the Beamer, the Elf said something about “giving Rudolph a run for his money” and then took off. But, based on the note she left behind, we think she approves:

“For this holiday exhibition
A brand with taste and tradition
Took me out on the road for a spin
I checked it twice before marking it ‘Nice’
Then punched the gas with a grin”

Check out the Rest of the Elf on the Shelf’s Favorite Brands: