Some interesting thoughts in a recent FastCompany article about turning your back on brand history and how it relates to MINI and VW (via DC):

>In their endless rush to embrace the next big thing, too many businesses have forgotten what they are and what they really do. The fashionable compulsion to break with the past has, bizarrely, come to mean abandoning the true value they once offered customers.

>The latest evidence comes courtesy of Volkswagen of America, which has, over the past few years, lost the plot of its own brand story–efficient “people’s” cars with minimalist interiors and mechanics. Expanding its offerings to a luxury sedan and an SUV, and filling its most basic models with plastic and padding, VW turned off its core constituency. Meanwhile, BMW rose to fill VW’s abandoned niche with its Mini Cooper: simple, solid, and small. So after four years of declining market share, what does VW do? It hires Mini Cooper’s advertising agency!

>It’s as if companies can’t fathom that the most powerful link they have with customers is their products themselves. A car company says more to its customers with the placement of its cup holders than it does in any TV advertisement. A credit card company communicates to its users through the privileges it offers–not some silly online Seinfeld “Webisode.

[ Back in the Box ] Fast Company

So my open question to MF readers is this; What do you fear the MINI brand becoming? Where do you want to see it go? How can MINI stay true to it’s heritage (both past and present) yet remain successful and relevant in the modern marketplace?