The art and science behind automotive marketing is evolving rapidly, driven by simultaneous advancements in technology and a crackdown on carbon dioxide emissions via EU law. As an industry, automotive has always been at cutting edge from engineering processes to materials (such as the discovery and usage of the game-changing graphene). However, the most influential factor in the industry’s future marketing approach is sustainability.
Automotive marketing and sustainability considerations have been becoming increasingly intertwined in the EU and will become more so over the next 15 years. This month, EU officials are meeting with environmentalists to hold an open summit regarding the reduction of CO₂ emissions in new cars being sold in the market leading up to 2030. The target set for reduction is likely to be increasingly tough and put pressure on every aspect of the automotive industry. Significant changes in the marketing of cars to consumers by brands will be paramount.
Over the last 20 years, emissions have lowered by 34 percent, but renewable energy campaigners are pressurizing automakers and regulators to set newer and more radical targets. Some car companies have already stated that they are reaching the limit of what is possible whilst retaining their market competitiveness. This means that marketing and sales teams in the automotive sphere will have to increasingly work alongside environmental technology specialists. This would ensure that new sustainable technologies are marketed effectively to potential buyers.
For example, BMW’s most recent launch campaign for the new BMW 7 Series showcases the mobility and sustainability as being luxurious and sexy. By presenting the future of a global brand, whose name is synonymous with luxury, as a sustainable one they set the bar for other automotive brands that will need to find their own unique ways to execute a similar approach. Marketing the product and its sustainability as a unified invention will become essential if automotive brands are to maintain their sales in the context of environmental quotas.
In order to uphold the fantasy associated with car ownership, brands will have to revolutionize their marketing strategy. They will have to sell the pro-environment changes in car specs as enhanced engineering, probably at elevated prices. One such company giving lessons in unconventional marketing is Tesla – the environment-friendly brand owned by Elon Musk. They have adopted less conventional marketing by allowing the quality of the product to speak for itself using word of mouth and online buzz to encourage real-life showroom visits and test-drives.
If the 30 percent reduction over a decade is to be achieved, then the on-going battle raging between automakers and environmentalists will have to be salved with the help of savvy marketing and innovative advertising.
Kate Howe – Managing Director, gyro London
Kate Howe is the managing director of gyro London. Howe most recently served as European president for Draftfcb where she aided in the London acquisitions of digital agency Blue Barracuda and integrated agency Inferno. While at Draftfcb, Howe also managed the global Beiersdorf account and successfully led a number of local pitches and defended the Post Office direct response account.