Marketers can produce all the content in the world, but without knowing where to use it or how, they may as well be shooting in the dark. Traditionally, the tactic has been to create something that’s deemed news-worthy or attention-grabbing and use it to try and funnel consumers to the point of purchase as quickly as possible.
It’d be wrong to say that this method hasn’t worked, but, for some brands, it’s perhaps had its day. The focus here has been largely on a ‘fling as much as possible and see how much sticks’ kind of approach.
Increasingly, however, the trend is towards strategies which encourage engagement over sales. The latest and most dedicated brand to undertake this has been Honda. Taking a consumer-driven approach, Honda has made the decision to launch its own content-dedicated platform.
Named the Honda Engine Room, the platform is populated with Honda’s new surge of lifestyle-orientated content. This new blogging style approach is designed to deliver quality over quantity, in that consumers who are drawn to the Engine Room are likely to spend longer engaging with the content more thoroughly.
What Honda is hoping this will achieve is a more dedicated audience, who embrace the brand as more a part of their everyday lives than as a product that has been pushed on them. This is a method that has been adopted by smaller, custom automotive firms for some time but has, until now, passed by the mainstream.
Perhaps the bravest aspect of this idea though, is that Honda is now choosing to drive those users who interact with their paid media advertising towards the Engine Room, not their website. While the Engine Room contains sales aspects, it is primarily a content platform, not the sales aid that websites have traditionally been for car manufacturers.
This move marks a distinct change from the traditional consumer relationships that automotive manufacturers tend to maintain, which is traditionally extremely sales-orientated and borderline distant.
By taking this approach, Honda has demonstrated massively boosted dwell times over its main website in excess of four minutes, indicating, as they had intended, a markedly more engaged audience. All of this has been implemented ahead of the release of the new Honda E, setting the tone for the launch.
The most impressive aspect of this, however, is that Honda has mapped every possible aspect of a user journey towards content centred around the E, allowing them to understand their audience and tailor their experience.
This considerable exercise in UX will have been time-consuming but will promise an extremely favourable return on investment.
Knowing your audience
In conjunction with their new platform, Honda undertook some ‘deep dive’ customer research, dividing its audience into segments and targeting them on this basis.
Honda has partnered with the likes of Virgin Radio, WhatCar, AutoCar and Classic FM as part of a ramping up of PR efforts.
Through their connection with WhatCar, Honda undertook an exercise in what they named an ‘advocacy approach’, whereby they invited Honda enthusiasts to an organised trial event for their new CR-V Hybrid.
Following the event, some 63% of participants described Honda as a leader in hybrid, and 50% visited Honda’s website, searched for ‘Honda CR-V’ or made a booking with a dealer.
The idea behind this advocacy approach is to achieve exactly what they succeeded in doing; turning already engaged consumers into active brand advocates. After all, people are more likely to listen to what their friend or relative says than the advert that’s just rudely interrupted their T.V. program.
Through a blended and intelligent approach, Honda has derived a marketing strategy fit for a new age, where social media is becoming a harsher environment and consumers are so overloaded with advertising that holding their attention is a real art.
To find out how an intelligent, UX-focussed approach to strategy could help revolutionise your brand, contact Formation Media today.