With spring coming (honest!) and summer events on the agenda, Sarah Yeats, managing director, Sledge looks at the event options for the automotive sector.
As we approach the official start of spring in the UK, many auto marketers will be turning their attention to key upcoming events, as well as general brand awareness raising activity as we step out to enjoy the great outdoors.
However, we know that audience expectations have not only changed, they are constantly evolving, as is the auto sector, with sustainability and technology advancements two key matters that are shaping its future.
So, what are some of the most effective ways automotive brands can activate this year, and the best practices that pertain to them?
Strategy-led appearances at sector specific events
For those looking to target automotive fans or industry professionals specifically, events such as the New York Motor Show, Goodwood Festival of Speed, and European auto shows including the Geneva International Motor Show and International Motor Show Germany are key.
However, these environments can be both crowded and competitive, with many brands vying for attendees’ attention, and it’s where unique creative concepts supported by a robust brand and sustainability strategy are a must.
It’s important to determine not only the ways a custom stand or space can draw people in, but how it can be produced in a sustainable way, and meaningfully share a brand’s story and core messages – and it’s also here where unique, hands-on experiences will add immense value.
Personalised incentives for employees and dealers
Attention to detail is essential when it comes to sharing company and product updates, and thanking teams for their efforts.
Look to host several thoughtful, smaller scale events versus the one company-wide update or get together, and tailor the content and activity to guests’ roles and locations – reducing travel is a more sustainable alternative here, too.
Consider a family-friendly approach, to encourage attendance and foster a warm, welcoming atmosphere. This will show that the company truly cares, boosts morale, and makes for a memorable all round experience.
Test drives, with a twist
These tend to be an industry go-to when launching a new vehicle, particularly from a media perspective. While hosting activities of this nature for select individuals still has a place, why not extend the reach of the traditional test drive?
Technologies such as augmented and virtual reality can be used to bring the thrill of getting in the driver’s seat to employees as an education piece, dealerships to help potential customers convert, and high foot traffic areas such as shopping malls and high streets, to raise awareness among the general public.
A roadshow style approach to the activity can also produce fewer carbon emissions when compared to physical test drives. However, it’s also important to look at the campaign’s entire supply chain. Vett supplier partners for their green credentials, champion recyclable or reusable materials, and develop a modular solution that can be easily transported to multiple locations.
End-to-end activations that generate buzz
If the goal is to reach as many people as possible in a somewhat fleeting moment, temporary pop-ups or PR stunts situated in prominent locations can prove effective.
The success of this approach, however, is dependent on how the activity is amplified throughout, and is where quality film production has an important role to play.
Teasers on other brand-owned platforms, for example, can build excitement and intrigue beforehand, and live crosses via social media, as well as garnering media attention will drive consumers to the experience. Meanwhile, premium assets will ensure the activity remains in peoples’ minds once it has ended.
While a singular activation might be the aim here, from a sustainability standpoint, consider how existing materials can be incorporated, or otherwise re-used for future activity.
A note on sustainability in the auto sector
As I mentioned earlier, developing a dedicated event sustainability strategy is a must. Furthermore, mapping out upcoming activity on an annual basis and developing an ‘always on’ sustainability plan can go a long way here.
It allows for the identification of suppliers with green credentials, who can then be called upon to support on all activity, the establishment of robust reporting criteria and tools, and can also influence how, when and where materials are able to be reused across multiple activities.