THE response to our list of the Top 100 Most Influential Car Dealers on Twitter was phenomenal, with many dealers asking to be considered for the next instalment – but we already had something else up our sleeves.
This week we published the list of the most influential car manufacturers in the UK, and it too makes for interesting reading.
Like the Top 100 Dealers list, the research we put into compiling our manufacturers’ table threw up some shocks.
Brands such as Mini and Dacia were positioned quite low down, posing the question: ‘Why?’ In the case of Mini, you would think that with its large fan base, distinctive cars and quirky advertising, the company would have been positioned higher. Numerous competitions – headlined recently by their Not Normal campaign – have had social media feeds buzzing. Meanwhile Dacia with its clear marketing strategy and distinctive ‘no-frills’ message also languished towards the bottom of our table.
So why is that? It could have something to do with that cheap and cheerful brand image I just referred to. With Mini, it could be argued we’ve heard it all before and that familiarity has diminished the British brand’s influence on the general public. And Dacia (as we proved in our special feature a few months ago), is only really known by a few people in the UK. Even Renault’s MD told us at the Frankfurt Motor Show that more work is needed to increase brand awareness.
But what of the car maker that topped our list? Some manufacturers tell me all the time that motorsport does little to shift cars. But our list proves that Formula 1 does a great job in spicing up a manufacturer’s appeal. That’s certainly the case for Lotus who sit in pole position in our list. Aston Martin – routinely voted number one cool car brand – has James Bond to thank for its level of awareness.
It’s interesting to note that posh car brands’ marketing behaviour is similar to that of top-end brands outside the automotive industry. An expert told me that many premium brands employ similar marketing techniques and use appropriate channels to market their brand – and more often than not, the people they’re appealing to are not customers.
So what does this teach us? The best car brands are not talking to current customers but future customers – ones that may buy a car in 10 years’ time and are nurturing aspiration.
What do you think? Let me know by posting your comments in our new Car Dealer Forum. Click the comment button below to get started.