It’s clear that the road ahead for the automotive industry is by no means smooth. Rising costs of manufacturing, tightening legislation on emissions, Brexit and the rapid pace of change in technology are all obstacles the world’s car brands need to navigate.
Consumers are also having their say. In a historic moment for Tesla, Q3 2018 saw the brand outsell Mercedes Benz, the company that invented the production car, Audi, Acura and Infiniti in the US (Forbes). Combustion engines and traditional auto models are under threat. If the electric revolution isn’t challenging enough, driverless cars appear only years away and the tech disruptors Uber, Apple, Dyson are all leading the charge.
Recent trends reveal that younger consumers are changing the way they consume private transport, moving from an automotive mindset to fluid mobility. With a possible future where many don’t own a car but instead decide, journey to journey, what car to use, the brand’s story is gradually shifting to reflect a new era of consumer conversation.
However, despite all this change, a constant we see in the automotive industry is the desire for manufacturers to associate themselves with sport. Sport is an incredibly powerful channel to connect with a target audience and reinforce brand values, hence leading partnerships across sports have long been the preserve of automotive brands. The auto industry, as a whole, spends around $1.285 billion a year collectively on general sports (CEO Magazine) seeking to leverage a global fan base and align their brands with the positive values and ethics that each sport brings.
A great example of this is Volkswagen who are midway a four-year deal with UEFA, as their mobility partner (note mobility not automotive partner). With this partnership, VW has the ultimate platform with which to engage a global, diverse audience and articulate their shifting narrative across multiple tournaments and multiple platforms.
But telling your story and getting your target market to listen is not as easy as it once was. As media and consumption of it shift, the sports fan is also changing. With rising ticket costs, the comfort of home viewing and the vast choice on offer, sports fans are looking for bigger and better entertainment in and around the event itself. They want to be involved, immersed in the moment, given an experience to remember and share amongst their community.
Brands involved in sport can play a key part in enhancing the fan experience through delivery of unique, relevant and engaging activations. By bringing a fresh approach to the narrative, disrupting the norm, and inviting fans to participate, auto brands can capture their attention and connect with them in meaningful ways.
At CSM Live we understand the sports fan, the sports environment and the brand’s role within it. We like to challenge the norm with a view to creating extraordinary. Let’s talk.