Audi launches Story of Progress campaign with South African industry shapers

Audi South Africa recently launched their fully electric e-tron brand in South Africa along with a thought-provoking launch campaign, the “Story of Progress”, aligned to local industry shapers and pioneers who are showcasing their efforts within the futuristic fields of digitalisation, design, performance and sustainability.

To celebrate the era of electric mobility and the next step in Audi’s automotive progression, the ‘Story of Progress’ interview series explores the ideas, visions and expectations of what the future may look like and how we as South Africans can be encouraged to get there.

“By showcasing and bringing to life the stories of a few South Africans who are doing extraordinary work within their respective fields, we aim to inspire an optimistic outlook towards the future and a certain conviction of how impactful each of us can be. This campaign has been a great way to localise our brand ethos of ‘progress’ and ‘future is an attitude’ in a way that is relatable and meaningful to our audience. While electric mobility is an exciting step towards the future, the associated benefits of design, digitalisation, performance and sustainability are great reasons to believe in it too,” said Tarryn Knight, Head of Marketing, Product and PR at Audi South Africa.

The Audi “Story of Progress” campaign includes a local angle and follows a continuation of global stories carried out by international personalities like Janelle Monáe (singer and songwriter), Regé-Jean Page (actor), Stella McCartney (fashion designer) to name a few. The integrated campaign which spans across digital and above-the-line channels is delivered through an interview style execution which aims to drive meaningful thought and conversation.

To celebrate our industry shapers, We sat down with Dion Chang for a question and answer session. See the full conversation below.

When you are working on a project, how do you push yourself?

OK, so I think just the nature of flux and I think that’s why the team that I’ve got are very passionate about information. So how we kind of do it is we join the dots specifically for businesses and for corporates.

We say to them, it’s not just about the trends that we’re gonna present because the research part is relatively easy, although you have to be on the ball all the time. But the interesting part of it and that’s the service we do is actually analyzing the trends for a specific sector or a car or a company. But then most importantly, we ask the questions of what are the blind spots that your company might not have seen and what are the unintended consequences because a lot of people don’t ask those kinds of questions. So we asked sort of more difficult questions for people to kind of self-reflect and then see what they think the company will be doing with those trends.

Okay. And so how do you challenge the status quo in your industry?

OK, it’s a bit strange because we have a saying that ‘we will ease you into a hot bath slowly’. So because a lot of the trends that we track are disruptive trends, you kind of hit a nerve with a lot of companies, and they either get a bit terrified or they don’t want to sort of embark on it. So this might sound counterintuitive to your question, but we actually have a saying at flux, don’t be 2 hours ahead of the curve be 20 minutes of the head of the curve. So even though our research shows we’re going sort of more into the future, we have to bring it and make it more tangible for the clients. We just bring a little bit closer and say, okay, so kind of baby steps to do it. So it’s a sort of strange way of saying how to kind of push, you know the status quo, but you have to do so sort of quite gently because otherwise, we say you scare the horses and then that doesn’t help anybody if your clients just don’t wanna listen to it or, they just say no. It’s not gonna happen with that stuff.

So what are your future plans with flex? What do you where do you see the company going? Where do you see yourself going?

Well, just before the pandemic in February 2020, we launched an innovation tour in Joburg and this was going to be a series. So this is based on innovation tours I’ve done internationally. The best one was a week-long innovation to New York. We visited about 50 top-performing companies from every sector. We were advertising a whole lot of things, 3D printing factories, all of that kind of stuff. So I wanted to replicate that, but I wanted to make it slightly different because I think on the African continent, we look at innovation slightly differently actually.

It’s not innovation for innovation’s sake, it’s solution-based innovation. So especially in a lot of what you see coming out of a lot of African countries is we don’t always have the infrastructure. We don’t always have the funding and we’ve got real-life problems to fix. And for me, that is much more of a future trajectory than just innovation for innovation’s sake, it is looking at solving problems to make the world a better place. So the innovation tour was meant to do that. 

Our last question would be if someone wants to attend the innovation tour, how
would they register? How would they go about it?

OK, so what happened in February was rather interesting. So it’s a very personalized experience and we were very surprised in February 2020. We just didn’t announce it publicly, we just sent it to our corporate database and said look, this is what we’re doing, there were no details on who, what the tour was about. And we sold out before we did a public announcement on the 12th. So to answer your question, if you go to our website, there’s a little register for newsletters and notifications and that’s the way we’ll do it. But we holding our thumbs because we already had a waiting list for the last innovation tour.

We literally just whispered it out, and then it was fully booked and no details, nothing. People were just happy. I was very happy they actually trusted us and they said okay, we know it’s gonna be good. Whatever you do and we’ll look for it. So people book blind for it and I’m very happy about that.


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