Auto Brand Loyalty
**A Milesperhr Exclusive**
Let’s talk about sports cars.
First, a definition: a sports car sacrifices utility for driving pleasure, comfort for cornering speed, fuel-efficiency for fun-factor. A sports car has been a purpose-built tool without any concessions to added objectives…at least until recently.
A ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Electric’ production sports car just a decade ago wasn’t just “future-talk,” it wasn’t really discussed at all. There were a few loonies tinkering away in their garages, but manufacturers were not involved in anything more than projects like the original Honda insight…and that couldn’t roll faster than a child’s pedal-powered Big Wheel. Yet presently, we have several of these technological marvels in our midst with many more on the way: the Porsche 918 Spyder, the new McLaren P1, the Ferrari LaFerrari; they all promise remarkable performance and fuel efficiency (get the full specs on these cars by visiting Autoblog Canada). For the first time, a sports car offers every bit of driving euphoria we’ve come to expect, without requiring its own oilrig.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do a vehicle launch, especially through a distributor.
The wrong way includes drawn out product demos and extensive PowerPoints proclaiming the “innovative” characteristics of the newest vehicle from _____ automaker. There will be food and beverages and maybe some entertaining displays, though you will never convince yourself that the entire event was done in a way that encouraged conversation about the vehicle. It’s always about pushing the refined message.
-Objective three: To heighten brand visibility for the primary and secondary audiences from televised content by 80% by December 2012, at a cost of $500,000.
1) Product Placement in season 8 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. This show could be a great opportunity for Bentley to display its newest models on a popular program that portrays the life of a rich and famous individual, Larry David (HBO, 2011). Bentley vehicles would be perfect to reflect the style of the brand’s target audience. Curb Your Enthusiasm has prompted extensive online dialogue from the show’s fans over the past decade, which can allow Bentley to track noticeable increases in brand mentions online (HBO, 2011). With the show’s audience covering a diverse range of demographics, Bentley can spread its visibility, while narrowing its image. People will come to associate Bentley vehicles even more with wealth and success, while discussing the cars and the show on social networks and chat forums. To execute this initiative, Bentley needs to make a product placement deal with Wildfire Studios, the production house of Curb Your Enthusiasm. From there, Bentley PR representatives would need to publicize the deal in digital entertainment magazines, so the target audiences could access the news on computers, tablets and phones.
** Part 5 of an 8-part Bentley Motors Campaign Plan**
–Objective two: To increase Bentley vehicle video sharing and feedback 120% by June 2012 at a cost of $400,000.
1) Launch a user-generated video contest for aspiring owners to describe, in three minutes or less, the Bentley brand and the status vehicle ownership would bring to their lives. The winner would receive a brand new Bentley Continental GT for a month. The contest would run from April to May 2012. The restrictions include: no profanity or violence, three-minute maximum and single-camera production. Those who submit videos would receive votes on a specially-designed contest website and the winners after one month win the grand prize. The top five videos get the car for a month while the five runners-up get VIP passes to the 2012 Concours D’Elegance show at Pebble Beach in California. This tactic encourages the primary target audience to share their submissions with friends, vote on the Bentley website and comment on videos. Essentially, the only costs for Bentley are the prizes.
–Objective one: To increase interaction with primary and secondary audiences by 20% within the mobile communication arena by January 2012, at a cost of $10,000.
1) Build a mobile application which features a beautiful UI interface and interactive features. Bentley will outsource the app development to VentureFizz, a database of Boston area mobile app developers who will bid on the project. As more of Bentley’s target consumers spend hours each day on their smartphones, Bentley can capitalize on this trend by developing a sleek, free application that allows users to build their dream Bentley model and share it with friends or learn about Bentley’s heritage from brief, in-app videos (Mashable, 2011). The app will be easy to use, so the secondary audience can enjoy it, while offering cutting-edge graphics and video to appeal to the primary audience. Developed to operate on iPhone and Android platforms, this application will reach the majority of smart phone users. To spread the news about the app, Bentley PR will speak with Boston tech. publications like Boston Innovation to reach the primary audience initially.
OBJECTIVES & EVALUATIONS
1) To increase interaction with primary and secondary audiences by 20% within the mobile communication arena by March 2012, at a cost of $10,000. Bentley understands smart phone use and general mobile activity is surging year after year, so the automaker must forage into the mobile environment to dominate luxury auto brand presence. The most effective way to evaluate the success of this objective is to track web site traffic now and immediately after the March 2012 deadline. Results should reveal a 20% increase in mobile-driven site traffic. With more than a third of U.S. adults using smartphones, it is critical that Bentley capitalize in mobile communication soon (Mashable, 2010).
** this is part 2 of a multi-part feature on how Bentley can successfully navigate a new marketing plan**
The goal of this plan is to become the leading luxury automotive brand presence through digital communication and engagement with Bentley’s target audiences.
Primary audience: Cultured, aspirational young adults. Men and women, ages 18-28, who appreciate digital communication, luxurious lifestyles, brand presence and technology innovation. These young adults would like to own a Bentley vehicle one day and enjoy the status that accompanies a car of that caliber. On the cusp of the digital revolution, these young professionals can relate to Bentley’s goal of transitioning its marketing and PR efforts to the online and mobile landscape.
This will be a multi-part post detailing steps Bentley Motors North America should consider to engage with stakeholders in the modern communications environment. Enjoy!
Bentley Motors, Inc. operates out of its North American headquarters of 3 Copley Place, Suite 3701, Boston, MA 02116. As one of the most recognizable luxury automakers, Bentley produces elegant, hand-built, powerful vehicles to the one percent of consumers who can afford them. With the majority of Bentley’s sales coming from the US, this contemporary headquarters of 25 employees sits in the heart of wealthy downtown Boston (Auto Channel, 2007). Since it was first established by O.W. Bentley in Crewe, England during 1919, Bentley Motors grew from its racing heritage into a major auto brand and was absorbed by Volkswagen AG in 1998 (Bentley website, 2011). Vehicle sales in 2010 were just shy of 5,000 cars (Gulfnews.com, 2011).
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