Amazing auto: Live experiences will help sales soar

The UK new car market is a seesaw ride. One month things seem to be on the up, and the next sales have plunged by twenty per cent.

It is hoped that the turbulence whipped up by tax changes and a host of political, cultural and technological issues will calm down as 2017 progresses. However, emissions scandals, record levels of product recalls and FCA investigations into irresponsible lending to fund car finance deals mean consumer trust has been left in tatters.

Auto brands need to work harder than ever to connect with shoppers and regain their trust. This comes at a time when shopper behaviour has shifted. Where once shoppers would head straight to the car show room of their preferred brand to be excited and inspired, nowadays their journey of discovery could have been going on for weeks, even months, across a multitude of different channels.

Brands in every sector are faced with this challenge. How do they engage people across the entire shopper journey?

However, auto brands are by nature in a unique position to reinvigorate and connect with shoppers. The reason? A car is more than a sum of its parts. It can be a thing of adventure, of beauty, of convenience and of desire. It creates bespoke experiences in the real world for its driver and passengers. No amount of research, online reviews or purchase nudges can erase the innate emotion cars can stir up.

By getting to know their customers, whether existing or potential, auto brands will begin to understand what really drives them in their day-to-day lives. Are they looking for a vehicle to get the kids from A to B or a sleek machine to take on winding country roads?

What comes next is something agencies can get excited about. Auto brands should seek to create exhilarating real-world experiences based on their understanding of what motivates people to make car purchases. The goal for agencies is to accept the creative challenge and really take it for a spin.

Take the stunning live experience that Fiat generated to launch its new 500 model, for instance. Tapping into the youthful spirit of its target audience, the brand hosted singer-songwriter Ella Eyre, who performed tracks alongside a Fiat 500 atop a giant turntable, 15 metres in diameter. Shoppers could engage with the product and brand on their own terms, rather than in a conventional sales environment, and share in the excitement.

Meanwhile, with technological innovation happening at the speed of light, there are more and more opportunities to engage and inspire. Game-changing brands like Audi and Jaguar Land Rover are already using virtual reality (VR) to connect the dots between the real and digital worlds, creating exhilarating experiences for their shoppers.

Customers are increasingly taking their own individual route to the point of purchase, it's up to auto brands to understand them and use innovative live experiences to help them navigate the road.

Read more from Rachel in her piece for Automotive World here.

Initials launches new website for Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘Brave the Shave’ campaign