Wheels of change
Few inventions have changed the world like the automobile.
Suburbia spread as networks of roads and highways were built. Escaping railroad schedules and fixed routes of public transportation, people could go wherever and whenever they wanted. Huge industries devoted only to the automobile—including the commercial production of gasoline—were created.
Most important, the introduction of the automotive assembly line and mass-production techniques revolutionized the way people worked—and lived. Throughout the 20th century, carmakers across the globe continued to embrace technology to roll out faster, sleeker and more sophisticated cars that appealed to consumers’ tastes and needs.
Having survived the worldwide economic crisis, which resulted in high-profile bailouts and sharply reduced consumer demand, car companies face many new challenges. The pace of globalization has intensified and global sourcing has become imperative. At the same time, car companies see great potential in developing regions such as China and India as their consumer markets grow rapidly.
With financing tighter, automotive companies recognize the need to make acquisitions and cement partnerships that expand and enhance their product lines. Many manufacturers are pinning their futures on smaller, more fuel-efficient cars as well as electric automobiles. According to Pike Research, the worldwide market for all vehicles will grow about four percent per year over the next six years. During that same time frame, the electric vehicle market is expected to expand at a rate of nearly 20 percent.
Consumer needs are also shifting. In today’s youth culture, cars no longer serve as the gateway to freedom and independence. Research conducted by the Gartner Group indicates that 46 percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 would choose Internet access over owning a car. In addition, today’s car buyers are demanding vehicles with advanced electronics, high style and significant fuel-economy gains. As a result, the need to develop new technologies and innovative products that can lure customers has never been more important.
Driving branding forward
As consumer values change, so does the need to develop a powerful story that illuminates exactly what a brand stands for. For automakers, driving those stories through unique and distinctive customer experiences is critical to stand out from the competition. Our approach identifies how brands should communicate to drive consumer engagement and satisfaction. Then we determine how to deliver the right information at the right time through the right channels.
A key part of this process is gauging the effectiveness of a brand’s touchpoints—including the website, salespeople at dealerships, financing specialists and service partners. We audit and assess all these channels and interactions to find the best ways to connect with consumers. In today’s constantly shifting marketplace, that includes analyzing your digital and social media strategy to ensure the delivery of a unique brand experience.
Purchasing a car is a complicated decision influenced by price, safety concerns, design and style as well as environmental considerations. We cut through the volume and complexity of your information—reorganizing, customizing and streamlining communications to make them clearer and more relevant for customers.
As a new economic reality emerges, automakers are reexamining conventional wisdom about how to market to customers. Those companies that follow a roadmap of fostering innovation and engaging consumers with powerful brand experiences will drive growth—and profitability—in today’s constantly changing marketplace.
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