Volvo Cars has announced a new global marketing strategy that will challenge traditional car marketing by replacing regular motor shows with special Volvo-branded events.
‘The car industry is one of the most conservative, least evolutionary marketing clusters in global business,’ said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Cars. ‘For decades, car marketing has been following a certain pattern which is followed by the entire car industry. Now, Volvo Cars chooses to defy that logic and implement a strategy that is geared towards its own needs.’
The new strategy – the ‘Volvo Way to Market’ – focuses on four areas: marketing tools, digital leadership, dealerships and service. One significant development contained in the new marketing strategy is that Volvo will in future concentrate on three key international motor shows, one each in Europe, the US and Asia.
In addition, it will conduct an annual Volvo event to showcase its products and brand. It will also place online sales and marketing at the centre of its marketing strategy and drastically upgrade its dealerships and service offering.
‘With the Volvo Way to Market, we don’t want to throw all existing marketing concepts overboard,’ said Mr Visser. ‘Many of them exist for a good reason. We also don’t want to have the arrogance to say that we are better than all the rest. But we do have the self-confidence to say that we are different. So our way to market needs to be different as well.’
Volvo Cars sees the need to expose the press and customers to its brand, products and innovations, but motor shows are not always the best way to do this. ‘Motor shows are a rather traditional affair in which brands crowd out each other at set times in the battle for press exposure,’ said Mr Visser.
That is why Volvo Cars will gradually reduce its motor show activities and remain in only three of the most prominent international motor shows: Geneva in Europe, Shanghai/Beijing in China and Detroit in the United States.
Instead of following the traditional motor show calendar, Volvo Cars will embark on a series of new initiatives and more individual approach. The company will organise an annual Volvo event where the Volvo brand is presented closer with its brand and identity. These events will allow media and visitors more direct access to Volvo product without the restrictions associated with large automotive shows.
Locally, Volvo will not be present at the Johannesburg International Motor Show and says it will endeavour to find other innovative ways to present product range and technology to the media and the public.
As far as sponsorship goes, Volvo will increase its commitment and investment in the Volvo Ocean Race – which is owned by Volvo as opposed to being a sponsored event. Volvo also believes the vast majority of customers around the globe shop online nowadays, and as a result will start to sell cars online.
But rather than a full-on replacement the dealership network, online sales will complement the dealerships. The first step in digital commerce was taken with the online-only sale of 1 927 Special Edition Volvo XC90‘s last year and this success has clearly bolstered the company’s commitment to growing digital commerce.
Out of the online realm, all new dealerships will have a globally uniform lay-out, look and feel. Existing dealerships will be upgraded and will implement small differentiators that underline the company’s Scandinavian heritage. Examples include offering customers a drink in Swedish-produced glasses, sound and smell elements that portray a Scandinavian spirit and waiting/lounge areas that offer highlights from Swedish cuisine. European dealership staff will even be dressed by Swedish fashion designer Oscar Jacobsson.
The final leg of the Volvo Way to Market is Volvo Personal Service which entails the introduction of a Personal Service Technician for every Volvo customer. At the delivery of his or her new car, the customer will be introduced to the Personal Service Technician who will take care of the customer and car throughout the ownership experience.