This month we had the opportunity to sit down with Leon Van Schie, General Manager MINI Brand Communications. Starting out as an intern at Rolls-Royce, Leon then worked for a couple of years in the FMCG industry, followed by three roles in MINI Marketing in the Netherlands, Germany (MINI HQ) and now MINI UK.
YOU PREVIOUSLY WORK FOR THE ROLLS-ROYCE BRAND. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO MINI?
MINI is unique in all aspects. To be able to work for a brand with such a unique design, heritage and future is an honour and a privilege.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR FAVOURITE MINI MARKETING CAMPAIGN, PAST OR PRESENT?
The relaunch campaign of the new MINI Countryman in 2017 was our best campaign yet, and I had the opportunity to develop the campaign in my role in HQ and then execute the campaign in the market during 2017. The MINI Countryman is performing really well in the UK now which is a true joint effort between all business areas.
YOU HAVE RECENTLY MOVED TO WORK FOR MINI UK AFTER WORKING IN MUNICH. HOW HAVE YOU FOUND WORKING IN THE UK AND HOW HAS IT DIFFERED FROM YOUR TIME IN GERMANY?
The most interesting thing about the opportunity to work abroad is to get to know new cultures from within. Working at the headquarters was a great learning experience and has given me a thorough insight in what it takes to steer a global car brand. Now, being back in the market, I am thrilled again by the pressure from the current business challenges and to react to it with our team in an agile and entrepreneurial way. The team spirit and performance driven culture of BMW Group UK is a great environment to work in.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES MINI FACES OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
We are now in the exciting phase before launching our all Electric MINI in 2019. The appetite for a cool, urban Electric car is great in the UK and I cannot wait to launch the car and add a new chapter to the MINI Story.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU SEE FOR THE MINI BRAND IN 2018
MINI has a straightforward portfolio of only 5 models, and answers to the needs of the current car customer: premium quality, authentic design and fuel efficient engines. We need to become more daring in showing the unique qualities from MINI through clever use of advertising and media.
WHAS HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER WHILST WORKING FOR BMW GROUP?
In 2015 I was part of the team that introduced a new global CI and Tonality for MINI. This was a project that had to be executed with limited resources and in a short timeframe. Also, with the MINI Clubman that was launched that year we entered a new category for MINI, the UKL2 segment. Having been part of these projects was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am proud to say the global brand value of the MINI brand has consistently been growing ever since!
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW WILL THE MARKETING INDUSTRY EVOLVE IN THE FUTURE?
Our industry is at the forefront of a revolution – the car industry in 20 years will in no way resemble what we know today. When it comes to marketing, a big change that has started years ago already is the ever increasing transparency from marketing efforts and the accountability to contribute to business goals. At the same time, consumers for all types of products value a true, relevant story and product more than ever before. Only those companies and brands that can balance these two elements well will survive.