Luxury auto brands rushing to scale Facebook communities

Aston Martin

Aston Martin print

Aston Martin is the latest luxury automaker to show thanks for its growing Facebook community with a contest giveaway of brand prints by British artist Ian Cook.

As luxury auto brands continue to amass larger social media communities, the question remains of whether aspirational devotion makes up for lack of revenue. However, most brands seem to agree that the ability to spread campaign awareness, create desire for product extensions and address consumer inquiries are a cause for celebration.

“It is incredibly important for automakers to have a brand presence on social media, especially Facebook, because that’s where consumers spend their time,” said Andrew Higgins, digital strategist at Pixlee, San Francisco.

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“Building a large community on Facebook is a powerful way to create millions of new customer touch points, and to provide another stream from traditional media in which to deliver fresh and dynamic content about their product,” he said.

On the same page
Luxury auto brands, like most luxury companies, are largely propelled by reputation. The more brand advocates dream about a brand’s cars, the more desirable the automaker appears.

Since a luxury auto purchase tends to be a major financial decision, consumers spend months and sometimes years deliberating on the right model, and word of mouth and the counsel of friends impacts this process significantly. Consequently, brands work hard to develop strong communities that reinforce aspiration and influence prospective buyers.

In many ways, Facebook and Twitter have become the primary portals for fans to get the latest news from their favorite automotive brands.

Daily posts chronicle the advancement of current campaigns, product releases, partnerships and more. Fans are also frequently invited to share their opinions and submit stories or photos of branded interactions.

When brands have their prospective consumers all in one place, it allows for a more accurate measurement of preferences. In an effort to maximize the impact of these platforms and to limit reliance on other platforms, brands have taken to celebrating their audiences in a variety of ways.

For instance, German automaker Porsche honored its 5 million Facebook fans by letting them collaborate to design a 911 Carrera 4S vehicle. To celebrate, the automaker launched an interactive campaign on a Facebook application where fans voted on the characteristics of a 911 Carrera 4S (seestory).


Porsche Facebook app for 5 million fan milestone

Jaguar Land Rover North America celebrated reaching 1 million Facebook likes with a video that features employees sharing stories and expressing gratitude, while Bentley Motors engraved the names of 25,000 fans on its factory wall in Crewe, England (see story).


Bentley Facebook wall

Also, Land Rover North America celebrated its more than 1 million Facebook fans with a social video that pays homage to their customers. In the 76-second video, the automaker showcases its vehicles in a variety of settings and thanks fans for making the brand a part of their lives (see story).

Mercedes-Benz USA thanked its 9 million fans by releasing a video that featured its CLS-class vehicle and light painting special effects. The video, titled Light-Painting in Real-Time, shows off the automakers CLS-class in a live-action painting with light video by Finnish director Anssi Mtt (see story).

Now, Aston Martin is joining the celebration by honoring its 5 million fans with a contest giveaway of eight prints of Aston Martin pop art drawings of iconic brand models.


Aston Martin print by Ian Cook

Fans are asked to fill in their names and some personal information, thus providing the brand with valuable consumer information, to be eligible. The contest closes June 6.

“We have an enormously engaged community,” said Matthew Clarke, brand communications manager of Aston Martin North America, Irvine, CA. “Our engagement rate is amongst the highest in the auto space.

“We certainly see a direct link between promotions and say, for instance, merchandise sales on occasion,” he said.

Building legacy
Social media will continue to play an important role in solidifying brand image for automakers.

For instance, Aston Martin’s Friday film series treats its vehicle lines and history in a reverential tone to suggest that the brand’s design authority is a given (see story).

On the other hand, Lexus leverages social media to affirm its status as an innovator. The automaker invited fans to imagine a new design for its IS model and then brought the winning submission to life (see story).

“To keep their ever-growing audience engaged, automakers need to continue to create fresh ways for consumers to interact with their brand,” Mr. Higgins said.

“Social media provides a great platform from which to generate two way conversations and different types of marketing implementations that allow fans to feel more closely connected to their favorite car brands than through traditional media,” he said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York

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