Auto industry sales always seem to ebb and flow based on a number of factors, including: the strength of the economy, rising (or falling) gas prices, consumer confidence, etc. While some brands, especially in the luxury sector, are less prone to these peaks and valleys, consistently delivering vehicles that appeal to consumers and stay at the forefront of trends is a challenge facing every auto brand.
Some brands, such as Mini, manage to succeed by staying true to their identity. Other brands, such as Tesla, push the envelope in an attempt to capture drivers’ imaginations and hearts. But what happens when automotive brands hone in a very specific segment of drivers? It can be a risky maneuver, but has the potential to pay off big time. Take Chevy’s new truck collaboration with surf brand Hurley. Together, they leveraged insights drawn from surfers to create a vehicle that attempts to make the process of getting to and from the beach a little less painful. “This concept is all about functionality,” said Ryan Hurley, creative director for Hurley. “When we discussed the project with Chevrolet, we didn’t want just a truck with our logo on it – it had to offer solutions for the challenges that surfers face at remote locations and that’s exactly what it delivers.” The functionality Hurley is speaking about covers a lot of the issues that every surfer faces: In addition to the standard ignition key, drivers also get a waterproof RFID wristband that unlocks the truck when it comes in contact with a certain part of the vehicle. The roof rack has built-in bungee cords designed specifically to lash down boards. The bed has a wetsuit / clothing drying rack with additional storage underneath. Waterproof seats with covers made out of a type of neoprene to protect from saltwater damage. Sure, this vehicle probably isn’t appealing to every potential truck owner. But that’s not the point. Chevy is demonstrating that they want to connect with a specific cohort, and potentially be an indispensible part of that group’s life by solving many of the issues they commonly face while pursuing their passion. So what can a luxury automotive brand learn from this? These manufacturers already take into account their drivers’ specific wants and needs, and adjust the experience within their vehicles accordingly. Bentley does it, and does it well. From their special edition Breitling Tourbillon in-dash timepieces, to their one-off fly fishing-focused Betayga SUV, the company has managed to elevate their vehicles to new heights by focusing on additions that make discerning drivers smile. But why not take it a step further? Consider the power of a strategic partnership with an entity that connects with a segment of a vehicle’s drivers. Can you imagine a luxury vehicle whose audio system has been tuned to the uncompromising specs of legendary sound engineer and producer Rick Rubin? Regardless of the partnership, there is a story that needs to live as a complement to the customization. That’s where The O Group comes in. Developing, and telling, the story behind the partnership is all part of continuing to build a luxury brand – something that we know a lot about. We’re just looking for the right partner with which we can continue to grow.