“It was a new day yesterday, but its an old day now!” go the lines of a Jethro Tull song. The new year has already broken upon all of us. Here’s wishing the entire world terrific motoring through these 12 months. Given that so many new automobiles will be launched and announced through the year, the role of marketing becomes even more critical to bring distinctiveness and create impact.
Marketing in 2021 will be a combination of some age-old fundamentals and fresh learnings from how work and behaviour evolved with the COVID-19 pandemic. If I were a marketing or product manager for an automobile brand, here are the three things I would do.
Tell my brand’s stories
I will go beyond product communication into the realm of sharing the legacy and story about the brand I represent. Most of us have not done so for long. Those amongst us who have, have surely benefitted from creating a stronger and more enduring association with customers who appreciate those specific stories. I will share the anecdotes, milestones, and heroes. Also, the failures, disappointments, and learnings. My brand is human, after all, with a fair share of achievements and fragilities. This is an age-old fundamental, ignored by most of us, that sees relevance now.
Get into hyper-personal conversations
This is the next frontier I will have to not only reach, but cross. A friend of mine, founder of one of India’s leading tech brands, told me that if the traditional automaker does not wake up to the tech revolution happening, it will just cease to exist in the next 5-7 years! As a marketer, I would get into “conversational AI” to engage better with my customers and prospects. The days of one-way communication are over. Static media like print and outdoor will also incorporate response mechanisms and become dynamic.
As a product manager, I will partner with cutting-edge software partners to help engage in one-to-one conversations with each customer for feedback, updates, migrations and upgrades. Brand success will depend on hyper-personal conversations and I will have to re-skill and upgrade myself to play my role more effectively.
This is an outcome of how our behaviour, preferences, and priorities have changed over the last 10 months.
Adopt big causes
Any automobile brand, apart from its specific own purpose, has to be aligned to the larger national causes of road safety, air quality, employability and economic impact. The one big lesson from the pandemic is the imperative for greater collaboration and co-creation within industries and across sectors for the greater good. It will be my endeavour to join hands with like-minded brands to work on one big cause this year to create a demonstrable on-ground impact.
Wishing all of you a year full of hope and honesty.
Drive safe. Ride safe. Stay cheerful!