for Microsoft Azure
Mercedes Japan was created in 1986, one hundred years after the invention of the automobile, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler. With the company motto “Mercedes-Benz, becoming the most-loved brand,” great efforts are made every day, along with every official dealer across the country, to provide the best products, service, and brand value to customers.
In 1886, the two automobiles that Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz invented brought about the humanity’s motorization. The environment surrounding the automotive industry changed continuously over the next 130 years.
When Mercedes-Benz LIVE! was launched in 2015, it mainly covered events, motor sports reports, along with the company’s various activities. A renewal project was launched in 2017, in effort to reach a broader customer base. Instead of focusing primarily on the development of Mercedes-Benz features and performance, the company decided to increase the number of articles and images that would appeal to visitors’ feelings and senses, in a more right-brained way. Anticipating higher traffic after the renewal as visitors flow in from various media sources, they chose the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to ensure the site’s stability. Now, even after a 3.5x increase in page views, the system continues to run reliably.
For a long time, the Mercedes brand has maintained a general image of “simplicity and sturdiness”. Much like the famous Bauhaus quote “form follows function,’ this was truly Mercedes’ credo. However, the current diversification of customer values has changed what people need from their cars. One one side, there is a desire for more stylish type of design that presents emotional appeal, as well as model variations that fit different lifestyles. On the other side, in addition to the basic large and mid-size sedans, there is also a need for a more compact car in high-traffic urban areas like the crowded Tokyo.
The Mercedes lineup has expanded rapidly over the past several years, and the portfolio now holds its own against the largest domestic automaker. As customers have many different needs, Mercedes-Benz LIVE! exists to provide information rooted in their differing values. Not just a car-centric site, it is an entirely new venture, opening up the brand from a customer’s point of view.
As an approach to these customer values, Mercedes-Benz LIVE!’s global navigation bar has words like “FASHION,” “TRAVEL” and “SPORTS,” which to not immediately appear to be associated with cars. Under the “DRIVE” section, for example, visitors will find life scenes — such as people and cars, or places and cars. Human livelihood comes first, and cars are there to accompany it.
In sections like “SPORTS” and “EVENTS,” visitors find current information about other brands and collaborations that Mercedes is actively involved in, such as F1 Racing, gold, triathlons, soccer and other sports that Mercedes sponsors, and motor shows. “WHAT’S MB” contains posts about car technology, core product information, and the history of inventions that Mercedes has been developing over 130 years.
The current Mercedes-Benz LIVE! site is the product of continuous trial and error. Prior to the renewal project, there was an abundance of strictly car-based content. However, working with the site manager Condé Nast Japan, and with the idea that visitors should come to the site with a level of curiosity aligned with the sensibilities of their daily life, the company continues to expand its customer base. Mercedes-Benz Japan’s Media Communication Division Manager Tsudome Hisao notes that “it might be an extreme thing to say, but we want to provide information that allows even people who didn’t originally have any interest in Mercedes-Benz to empathize with Mercedes’ world view, just by visiting the site and reading an article.”
Mercedes-Benz LIVE! also has a section intended mainly for women, called “She’s Mercedes.” Most of visitors to the Mercedes site are men in their 40’s and 50’s, but according to analysis by Condé Nast Japan, Mercedes-Benz LIVE! has been able to attract visitors in their 30’s and also access a new female customer base. This success was brought about by the varied content of She’s Mercedes, like the heavy emphasis on fashion and travel that targeted a previously untapped market. Also, starting in April, the company held a three-month publicity campaign. An aggressive push with social and newsletter communications bore fruit with increased traffic, particularly after they started running advertisements in July. Page views rose to 3.5 times what they were before implementing KUSANAGI for Microsoft Azure.
In addition to advertising with the website, Mercedes also opened brick and mortar locations called “Mercedes Me” (formerly Mercedes-Benz Connection), in Roppongi (part of Tokyo) and Umeda (part of Osaka) to promote the brand. There, they offer a proposition for how cars can accompany various scenes in everyday life. The storefront is a gallery, restaurant, and a shop — with cars available to test drive, but not for purchase. Mercedes is also putting out a large volume of information to various media outlets every day. The web is an invaluable tool for connecting and compiling myriad information, and Mercedes-Benz LIVE! is a part of that process.
The story behind the name “Mercedes” is a famous one. Emil Jellinek, an entrepreneur involved in the creation of the Mercedes engine, named the car after his daughter. His affection for his daughter was well known — he even hung a large portrait of her an an automobile exhibition.
“There is a strong desire behind the name ‘Mercedes,'” mentions Tsudome, “to be a car that is loved by people in the same way that a person is loved by other people. Now, the automotive industry is undergoing a revolution with technology like automated driving and electric cars. As part of this trend, what we deal with is not just a bundle of features collectively labeled a ‘car,’ but something irreplaceable about which you have thoughts and feelings. That is what we want this site to communicate.”