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Car firms see trade shows as a key platform for brands

LONDON - In the face of the recession, car companies told Brand Republic they were resisting the temptation to cut back marketing spend and are looking to further invest budgets in trade shows -- watch the video.

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Trade shows are proving to be an increasingly important platform for many car companies, including BMW, Rolls Royce, Maserati, Opel and General Motors, as they look to ensure their brands can be seen out there weathering the storm.

Video research by Brand Republic and Ogilvy PR at the recent Paris auto show, highlighted a number of auto manufacturers, from luxury to economical brands, who underlined the opportunities that shows offer their brands and how they take advantage of them.

The importance marques place on shows comes as profits for a number of firms fall. Yesterday, BMW posted a sharp fall in profits and Jaguar has announced plans to extend its voluntary redundancy scheme to up to 600 staff.

In the US, the auto industry is weathering the worst monthly sales tallies in 25 years, GM leading the futility with a 45% drop in sales, followed by Ford at 30%.

Several of the car companies represented acknowledged that as marketing budgets diminish, it is not a case of where cuts can be made, but where the budget can be better applied.

Luca Del Monte, Maserati's communications boss, found that auto shows in particular are a great way to integrate its marketing strategies with other formats, including test drives and one-on-one presentations.

GM uses auto show promotional activity to tie in products with its web and mobile phone campaigns.

Brands can gain favourable media coverage, because so many different media companies attend the events, allowing companies to shine up their products and present them on a silver platter.

The Paris auto show is a large media spectacle, garnering media attention from around the globe, that brands simply cannot afford not to attend.

Elen Thomas, senior account manager at Ogilvy PR, told Brand Republic: "Every event is now a global event.

"It has been a difficult year for many brands, not least automotive brands, yet despite this most are maintaining a strong presence at trade events, which are seen as too valuable to miss.

"A reallocation rather than a reduction in budgets seems most likely, with marketers increasingly using digital as a way to squeeze yet more value out of face-to-face events."

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