Revealing the soul of an inscrutable giant

Revealing the soul of an inscrutable giant

Increasing perceived brand value and desire in the crowded mid-price automotive sector.

Client: Major Japanese Car Corporation
Relationship: Mainly via agency, with regular client meetings
Commissioned by: Agency
Services provided: Analysis, strategy, concept development, creative direction, art direction, copywriting
Project duration: 9 months

The brief

The UK arm of one of the world’s largest car manufacturers had a challenge that needed solving. They had respect, which they appreciated, but they wanted desire, which they lacked. Their arch-rival was sexy, loved and the darling of the motoring press in the UK – winning plaudits that should have been our client’s by right. How could they better that?

The approach

Thorough and methodical. A meaningful shift in buyer perception cannot be achieved in weeks, or on the back of a single campaign. The agency that called me in to work on this wanted to go back with a big bang and a quick fix. But revolution is messy and the results are unpredictable. Evolution is more effective and easier to manage. The client was happy to play a long game. After all, that was a big part of what made them the world’s most effective mass producer of motor vehicles.

The method

It was a simple principle. Find what is really different and unique in the corporate culture, and tell people about it. Build a brand story that people will connect with and respond to. The more they know, the more reason they have to believe. That builds customer loyalty and brand evangelism.

Car buying is significantly influenced by what your family, friends and peers think, you need to know why you chose this car brand, because they will ask you. Selling cars is not about creating desire; that was achieved the minute the first Karl Benz three-wheeler scared its first horse, back in 1885. Selling cars is about giving people permission to buy. And that involves telling a compelling story.

The result

The creative solution I developed marked a decisive move on the part of the client into corporate storytelling. Unfolding the rich and fascinating story that is theirs alone, and which no one else can lay claim to. My work achieved instant impact and won wide acceptance among employees and customers alike.

From the initial pilot stage, it was subsequently implemented across the entire UK network. The success of this project led directly to the client trusting the agency with a much larger project, involving the complete rebrand (including renaming) and relaunch of their lucrative after-sales offering. I worked with them on that as well, from initial brief to delivery.

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