Land Rover Asia's 'sniper approach' in marketing latest Defender car

The COVID-19 pandemic might have taken away the thrill of physical events, but Land Rover was not letting that stop the brand from rolling out its new Defender vehicle. Turning to digital, the brand tapped on Singaporean Rosalyn Lee as the main influencer to host the digital reveal, which showcased Land Rover's history and how the Defender was reimagined and engineered for the digital generation.

Besides Lee, Land Rover is also working with other influencers in Thailand and Brunei during and post-launch. They are Thailand's Pongsuk Hiranprueck, Brunei's Ranoadidas, Mantuka Brunei, Nadzthenadz, and Deebiemasa. Both Thailand and Brunei are among the key markets for the brand. Meanwhile, it also pushed out its brand film on its websites across 12 countries including Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Amey Tingare, brand director, Jaguar Land Rover, Asia Pacific region told Marketing that the creative concept behind the brand film was to tell the Defender story and that the vehicle was capable of great things, be it old or new.

The film begins with the old Defender going through epic adventures in the past in Asia. It then cuts to the Land Rover design studio in the UK and showcases the creators who delve deeper into the design and engineering of the new Defender. Later on, the video features representatives in Asia talking about the emotional connection that the Defender has with Land Rover customers and fans. The digital launch was done in collaboration with Spark44 Singapore, electriclimefilms and Dentsu X.

"We have received a very positive response in terms of video views, reach, and traffic to our showrooms, test drives, orders post our digital launch on 7 August," Tingare told Marketing. Tingare added that its local business partners will build on this momentum and continue to launch market specific digital intiatives in countries such as Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. 

When it comes to consumer demographics, the digital launch mainly targets existing and potential customers aged 25 to 55 years old. However, it is also looking to engage and raise awareness about the new vehicle across all age groups, from children to the elderly.

In general, to engage and build brand love among the Millennials and Gen Zs, Land Rover leverages its social media fan base of about 7.8 million on Instagram and 16 million on Facebook. It creates market-specific content to engage with fans, such as the Camo Defender Contest in Singapore, for example. The contest saw the vehicle making its rounds across Singapore prior to its launch and encouraged consumers to spot the Camo car and post it on their social media platforms to win a LEGO Defender.

COVID-19's impact on marketing

Like all businesses, Land Rover has also faced uncertainty in recent times. That said, he revealed that the brand has seen a "very high demand" for new products, particularly the new Defender. In fact, while several multinational companies have withheld their marketing spend during the pandemic, Tingare said it continues to invest in product development and communications despite a change in its strategies. "We now follow a sniper approach, more targeted communication beyond social media. We have to strike a fine balance between brand and product communication," he explained.

Land Rover has since pivoted its marketing strategies from experiential to digital, focusing more on digital activations and helping deliver the same offline premium experience on its online channels. It has also introduced several online activations such as online sales advisor, online test drive booking and online service bookings.

Moving forward, it will continue to engage customers digitally through one-on-one CRM communications, keeping in mind social distancing measures. Citing an example from New Zealand, Tingare said while this while, it would run on-ground activations in the country but the lockdown spurred it to change its strategy, especially in Auckland. "These things are beyond our control but as customer-centric company, we have to adapt and be flexible and turn things around quickly to make sure we live to our customer promise of delivering experience customers will love for life," he added.

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