How to nail your car marketing video strategy? Forget the shiny thing

09th October 2017

When developing your automotive video marketing strategy, it may seem counterintuitive but it pays to forget the shiny things themselves, and focus on how your brand content makes the audience feel.

The most effective way to achieve this is through online video campaigns where brands can develop deeper emotional connections with their audiences. More people trust online video when buying a car than TV, newspapers, or magazines, with 69% of those who used YouTube while buying a car being influenced by it. (TNS Consumption Report). Indeed for car marketers developing brand authenticity and trust are paramount with growing pressures from tech disruptors, environmental regulations, and shifting consumption patterns.

In this blog I’ll share my tips to help you look beyond the nuts and bolts of the car itself to grow your automotive brand.

Identify the passion points of car buyers

Ultimately cars take drivers places, both in reality and metaphorically, helping them achieve their ideal lifestyle, whether it’s improving family-time or freedom. Therefore it makes sense to create content that taps into the target audience’s passion points – how they aspire to live outside the car.

Let’s look at video content from Land Rover, which we could classify as the explorer brand archetype tapping into the desire for adventure, the great outdoors, and freedom to live life to the full. Watch the video below featuring wildlife photographer, Julian Caverley, and you’ll see the focus is not really on the vehicle itself, but where it can take you and how its owner can achieve his ambitions.

One commenter on YouTube says, “it gave me goosebumps”; this kind of emotional connection with your audience is worth striving for.

In a similar vein, the brand’s marketing campaign #MicroAdventure, encourages people to beat the 9 to 5 and discover ways to go on an adventure in the city. Here’s a video from Instagram, which contextualises the content by tapping into that 4.59pm clocking off mind-set:

Use emotion in your automotive marketing

Humans are programmed to understand stories, and if viewers are shown situations that they relate to and understand, they’re more likely to pay attention and remember it. The example below, which we worked on, for Volvo Polestar shows how brands can use emotional storytelling to their advantage. The video takes a child’s view of the car, and while the ‘shiny’ elements are shown, the focus is on the emotional connections with this family vehicle  

Fatherly pride, and the pleasure in knowing that your child looks up to you, is the emotional heart of the film. It appeals to someone, who is making the transition to a safe reliable car, but still wants the frisson of a “racing car”. The video sits at the heart of an integrated social media campaign where followers were encouraged to contribute their own user generated drawings of the Polestar for a chance to win a racing driving experience.  

Crafting stories beyond the car

Connected technology means that we may begin to think of cars more like tech products, which need to be explained for the target consumer, for whom the techie jargon means nothing. Video of course works effectively here to develop stories about what the tech can do focusing on how it makes the audience feel.

Luxury car brand, Lexus, created a campaign showing off its technical credentials and brand values without even filming a car. They cleverly build on their brand’s quest for innovation by creating a hoverboard.

There was a buzz around the film wondering if it was a hoax, and it attracted PR and social attention extending brand reach and resonance as it keyed into “Back to the Future” stories which predicted hoverboard travel.  Although cars are not shown, the video demonstrates their expertise and imagination with Chief Exec, Haruhiko Tanahashi saying, “There is no such thing as impossible, it’s just a matter of figuring out how.

Automotive community stories

Giving your community a platform to tell their story about your car is another effective way to strengthen brand values and add authenticity to your digital marketing.

#BMWStories is an example of successful campaign, which shared the experiences of BMW Lovers and their feelings about the car brand. Here is one about a cardiologist whose day job is to help people’s heart health, but what really keeps his heart going is his lovingly restored BMW “Batmobile”.

The films do focus on the specific models of car, but it is deeper than just the ‘shiny’ thing; the stories reveal how the products have impacted on their owners’ lives and why they love the brand so much, adding credibility to marketing messages, and encouraging others to join the conversation.

In all of the campaigns above, the takeaway is that they strive to create genuine connections with the audience rather sell the details of the product, and that’s why they work so well for these auto brands. To differentiate your car product, it is vital to first look at your brand values and your audience’s needs, and then create content that makes viewers want to get in for a test drive, and hopefully go on a long journey with you resulting in long-term brand growth.

If you’re looking for further advice on how to manage your next video marketing campaign, do get in touch. You can also check out our automotive showreel for a taster of what we do.

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