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Why Land Rover is boosting its investment in experience marketing

Experience marketing is becoming an increasing focus for car-maker Land Rover, according to its global brand experience director, Mark Cameron.

Land Rover global brand experience director Mark Cameron

Land Rover global brand experience director Mark Cameron

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The manufacturer spends an estimated 20% of its global marketing budget on experience, and that figure is growing year on year.

Marketing caught up with Cameron at last week’s "Profiting from Experiences" conference held by experiential agency Imagination about how Land Rover is looking to drive brand loyalty.

MKTG: How do you balance experience marketing with traditional advertising?

MC: "Market by market we look at what the brand challenges are – the brand maturity is different in China compared to the UK, for instance. The way we split our marketing mix will vary depending on those brand challenges.

As a brand, we make cars that are very capable, so it’s an obvious conclusion that you have to demonstrate that.

"The UK is a good example: there is no issue in terms of familiarity or love of the brand, so a lot of marketing investment goes into loyalty, keeping people in the brand for longer.

"Gradually, we are spending more and more of the budget to create richer and more engaging experiences. As a brand, we make cars that are very capable, so it’s an obvious conclusion that you have to demonstrate that."

Is there not a pressure to create a single global model for marketing?

"Our brand positioning and most of the communicationsassets we produce are produced globally for every market, and it’s a big tool kit.

"What we try to do is to empower the marketing directors and vice presidents in those regions to look at what their brand imperatives are and, using the tool kit, to choose on their emphasis. We want global consistency in what we’re doing but you have to allow for autonomy where their emphasis should lie."

Has the brand achieved consistently in its perception across markets?

"No. Twice a year we conduct brand health research in major markets and this gives us very different views of the brand linked to a large number of variables such as brand maturity, the vehicle range that we sell, the make up of the local car market and cultural and social attitudes.

In America, where the investment has historically been in the Range Rover brand, there has been more confusion and a greater challenge.

"For example, in China and Brazil, where our growth has been very recent and pronounced, the Land Rover brand has a very high premium appeal.

"In America, where the investment has historically been in the Range Rover brand, almost disconnected from Land Rover, there has been more confusion and a greater challenge. Range Rover has been almost seen as a brand in its own right. Meanwhile, in the UK, there is good brand awareness and equity and we’re very strong."

At awareness grows, does experience become the primary marketing tool?

"In a world where almost every manufacturer builds an SUV, you have to differentiate yourself. Because we only focus on building SUVs, it allows us to be the expert in that field.

"We talk to customers that have luxury sports cars in other segments and ask, if those manufacturers built an SUV would they buy one? They reply that they want to buy from the experts, and are prepared to pay a premium for that.

"But that does not mean we will always have to continue to hold that position, and experiential marketing is really key to maintaining our message that we make the world’s most capable and composed cars."

How closely do you have to work with advertising colleagues?

"We sit in the same office, we sit in the same meetings, and we plan campaigns together. As the traditional communications model changes and we move to a more digital approach, that can amplify what we’re doing in experience.

"The two are absolutely connected. There’s no point in us investing in lots of activity in experience and sponsorship if that’s not going to be amplified through paid, owned and earned channels."

Six things brands should know about experience marketing

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk

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