The future of Cars
As environmental awareness is taking hold of the world, with countries introducing road taxes and Eco-taxes on cities and countries, Eco-vehicles should be an attractive alternative to petrol and diesel fueled cars. This should be especially true in the biggest and most populated cities, (bad pollution in Beijing even led to the fabrication of stories about pollution being so bad that the sunrise was played on screens across the city just so that people know it is daytime, this was not true but it raised important issues about pollution in the city).
According to ChinaAuto, electric vehicle (EV) sales in China rose by 37.9% in 2013, leading to the assumption that people are becoming more Eco-friendly, wanting to take care of their environment. But the number of plug-in EV’s sold in China, barely scratches the surface of the total number of vehicles sold (of the 21.98 million new vehicle sales only 17,600 vehicles made were plug-in EV’s), and with the population booming across the world, these figures seem low.
Electric Car sales in Europe are currently quite strong looking at the percentages – but the actual sales are, as with China, relatively small, with only 38,617 sales of battery and plug-in hybrids. This is up from previous years, although not by much. Despite the exemption from road taxes and the good feeling people get when doing something good for the environment, sales of Eco-cars are surprisingly low. This may be due to a number of factors.
Firstly, most people would expect the cost of the car to be cheaper than their petrol and diesel counterparts, but this is not true, as they often cost up to twice as much, even after government subsidies in some countries.
Secondly, people have fears about how far an electric car can run before needing to be recharged, and also, worry about recharge time.
Thirdly, there is still a distinct lack of charging facilities available, so it may simply be a fear of being stranded with nowhere nearby to recharge that is preventing people from buying Eco-cars.
It seems that sales of electric cars are directly linked to the amount of subsidies and road tax exemptions each government allows. Holland and Norway are two of the highest selling countries of EV’s and they are also the most generous with subsidies, road tax exemption, free toll roads, free parking, and using the bus lanes. People want the best they can get for as little as possible, so countries such as Germany, where the government does not subsidise EV’s and appear to be lagging behind countries such as Holland and Norway.
Unfortunately, being good for the environment does not seem to be a very important factor in most people’s decisions when buying cars, and while most would probably admit that it would be nice to drive around guilt free, they like to stick to what they know and trust.
However, the innovation of electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars is still in its infancy, and with every New Year surprises will be in store. And with this age’s fascination for new technology, and society’s need to have the newest gadgets, it may just be a matter of waiting. So maybe in years to come, electric cars will be the only cars on the roads.
The QRi team x
Social media: the word of mouth platforms
Word of mouth marketing is different from naturally occurring word of mouth as it is actively influenced and encouraged by organisations. It makes sense that if one person told two people about this great company, product or brand, and these two people then each went off and told two more people about it, and so on, pretty quickly a large number of people know about it and more importantly, are talking about it.
Now, if one person posts about this great company/brand/product on social media, instantly potentially hundreds of people will see this – exponentially increasing the speed at which people are becoming exposed to it.
This concept is nothing new or revolutionary, but it is effective – especially when trying to reach the younger generations like Generation Y (or Generation Why? as some are prone to call them).
The reason that social media is so important and effective in word of mouth marketing, aside from the swift dispersal of information (which can happen across social media platforms), is that companies can take things even further by creating a dialogue between themselves and their customers on a more informal basis.
This informal connection is what helps build positive relationships with consumers. Don’t believe me? Check out some tweets by Taco Bell:
Tweets like these have gone viral on the internet, creating a positive vibe and a friendly atmosphere between the company and its customers and potential customers.
In most cases, positive comments being passed along are the prime objective of companies encouraging word of mouth marketing. However, not all companies have the business acumen to encourage these positive comments though social media. A prime example of this is Amy’s Baking Company, brought into the limelight by Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares (approximately 3.34 million people watched the episode).
The first mistake they made was being rude (to put it lightly) to their customers (and on TV!), who then went and talked about their experience online. A flood of online reviews and social media activity meant that the moment that episode was aired, foodies around the world were talking about the horror that was ‘Amy’s Baking Company’. This led to their second BIG mistake, they engaged with their (ex-) customers in an incredibly negative way, leading to a media uproar and reinforcing the already negative image they had. Now they have turned into a tourist destination, almost like a zoo, where people go to gawk rather than enjoy food.
I certainly wouldn’t follow suit.
But if you can build up a positive rapport between company and consumer, you are building a relationship that is reinforced from both sides, and the more a consumer interacts with you, the better you can understand them. And the better you understand your customers the more you can improve your services and branding, creating a positive synergistic relationship.
The QRi Team x
Brand Love and Our Lovemarker® QualiQuant® Tool
How do you measure a persons’ loyalty to a brand? How do you find out what drives consumers to buy the biggest brands? How do you build a relationship with consumers?
How about through LOVE?
Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi pioneered the idea of Lovemarks; what differentiates products and brands is the love and respect towards them that is experienced by consumers. QRi (formerly QiQ and CRAM International) has developed the Lovemarker® Tool to sensitively measure a Brands’ Lovemark status based upon levels love & respect.
“Counting the beats of your heart, not the fingers on your hands”
– Kevin Roberts
This insight into consumer behaviour allows us to go beyond understanding the rational benefits usually uncovered by traditional research (trust, reputation, and performance), and delves further into unconscious and emotional connections to brands through measuring mystery, sensuality, intimacy.
If a brand scores highly on mystery, it has great stories behind the product that draw in consumers and taps into their dreams, they use myths and icons and should inspire consumers. Sensuality involves the sounds, sights, smells, touch, and tastes that are elicited by a brand. And to truly be a Lovemark, a brand has to have intimacy – commitment, empathy, and passion.
Our Lovemarker® approach delivers insight into both rational and emotional motivations, understanding the brand relationship inside the consumer mind.
Our strategic recommendations help strengthen consumer relationships with your brand, creating loyalty beyond reason!
The Beatles had it right…. All you need is Love!
The QRi Team x