Car manufacturers are so focussed on selling their products, they’ve forgotten how to sell cars.
The solution? Simple. Look back to look forward. Stop selling an object, try selling an idea.
Discussed in this video too or read below
Why are manufacturers all getting their messaging and brand communication wrong – well perhaps with the exception of one or two? Especially when they’re scrambling to reach out to an audience that’s not actually interested anymore.
You see Millennials are not interested in cars – between 2007 and 2011 the number of cars purchased by 18-34 year-olds fell by 30% in the US.
Only 44% of teens get a driver’s licence as soon as they come of age and only half – 54% – have a licence before turning 18. This in a country which used to be totally in love with the automobile.
And these figures are pretty much reflected in the rest of the world too, particularly developed markets.
Admittedly with the high cost of taking driving lessons, the tests getting harder to pass, expensive insurance for young people, the price of fuel and ownership these days, with all of that, you can’t blame them, can you?
But it’s more than that – they just don’t seem interested anymore.
So let’s go back to what the car represented, especially to me and older generations.
The car was freedom. It was empowering. It gave you status. It made you cool. It got you friends. You could do stuff with it and in it. It was your space. It could be an extension of your personality and it could be an expression of your identity.
Basically it was more, so much more, than just a means of transport.
Watch old car adverts, and sure the brand, make, model etc are prominent. But usually the car was being used to do stuff. You know, go places, have adventures, fall in love, do cool things.
Trouble was, cars weren’t particularly great back then – let’s be honest. So manufacturers focussed not necessarily on the car itself, but what it represented.
Today – all cars are good. So manufacturers focus on either overwhelming you with banal technicalities as to why their cars are cleverer, saferer and more efficienterer than their rival’s.
Or – out of sheer desperation – they try to mould their brand to fit into whatever trending zeitgeist their market researchers data-crunching indicates, should appeal to their key demographics.
Trouble is, they’re trying to slot a square peg into a round hole, and the only response they’re getting is swipe left! Er…
Instead – how’s this for an idea – stop trying so hard to sell to young people – and indeed people in general, because these days trends permeate backwards into enlightened elders (for example I’m 48-year old a Snapchat user, I shouldn’t be, right?).
Anyway, as I was saying, stop trying to sell people your particularly brand, make, model etc and instead focus on actually selling the concept of the automobile, the idea of the car.
Remind people about the joy of motoring, the freedom to roam, and the satisfaction of having your own ride.
Because, quite frankly, and in line with Volvo introducing a scheme where you don’t actually have to buy the car at all for the new XC40 (watch the above news update video in full), ultimately the whole concept of desiring car ownership will erode into nothing.
And then that’s it for us car enthusiasts, isn’t it?