Toyota were first-mover on hybrid technology. Meanwhile, Dieselgate had a seismic effect on behaviour, leaving new car buyers unsure what to purchase next. The timing couldn’t be better for Toyota to reassert leadership, helping unsure buyers to choose hybrid. But would rational or emotional communications be the more effective approach?
Surveys are now often seen as too traditional, providing only dead-end data. However we are reappraising their use, now that we can serve questions to people already tagged in mInsight, GroupM’s proprietary data platform. This means the best of both worlds: not only identifying the underlying attitudinal reasons for purchase/ rejection that behavioural data alone cannot surface, but combining this with a real-time view of the scale & behaviour of each cohort.
There is no better currently available technique to uncover deep strategic insights bespoke to the brief, whilst simultaneously creating seed audiences for lookalike builds that allow direct media investment. Even better, the audiences created centrally automatically populate in the local interfaces of the data platform, removing entirely the need for local proxy audiences for addressable investment.
What we found revolutionised the brief: it was true that 7.4m potential EU buyers rejected hybrid through a rational lack of tech understanding (e.g. 26% believed they needed to be plugged in). But 18.8m rejected because they didn’t see themselves as ‘the typical hybrid driver’. Car buyers had mental image of hybrid buyers as niche & unappealing – but after 20 years & 10m Toyota hybrids on the road, nothing could be further from the truth. Hybrids are driven by people from every walk of life, and we needed a strategic platform that would allow creative assets and media connections to be made that responded to this flow of audience behaviour – from hybrid brand identity to tech explanations. We Choose Hybrid was born.
In order to fully understand the real-world scale of the communications challenge, we mapped Toyota intent against hybrid intent. This created a simple set of quadrants that held within in a powerful amount of audience data: real-time behavioural scale supported the rationale for both media & production investment, and the barriers to or reasons for adoption directly led to the roles for communications.
The barriers to adoption that sat behind strong Toyota intent combined with low hybrid intent indicated a need for more rational myth-busting messaging and media connections. Strong hybrid intent but low Toyota intent indicated a need to assert leadership through reassuring heritage messaging to 3.7m people across EU5 markets that proved Toyota were unrivalled in their delivery of hybrid technology. 2.5m people showing strong intent on both elements identified the scale of opportunity for in-market conversion messaging. Finally the quadrant showing lower intent for both Toyota & hybrid: as already highlighted above, there was an emotional issue with the identity of hybrid buyers in the minds of consumers.
So back to the original question: will rational or emotional communications be the most effective route to capitalising on openness to diesel alternatives? Clearly both. A platform was required that was flexible enough to cover both aspects, but strong enough to be consistent across all the resulting touchpoints from broadcast to highly-addressable digital channels.
We Choose Hybrid was this platform, and the use of audience in such an upstream manner had a transformative effect on the strategic approach. Not only did it shape overall requirements for the platform as outlined above, but it also directly informed asset planning. Messages were created to sit within each quadrant, which in turn provided the necessary ammunition for local media investment to truly take advantage of their detailed view of audience behaviour flow.
This was a truly coordinated international campaign at considerable scale. We deployed a system of hybrid messages tailored to location and audience across all channels. In total, 150 master assets were created centrally to be localised, resulting in 500+ assets being deployed locally with a total media spend of €40m+ across our top 5 priority markets. By the end of December 2017, a total of 8 affiliated markets had run the campaign.
Digitally we ran more than 250 different assets integrated across social, search & video – all in response to audience signals via data partnerships, CRM-matching and lookalike builds. This meant different individuals saw messages specific to their own barriers or proximity to purchase. Engagement with that asset then dictated which part of the Hybrid system they were exposed to next.
Thanks to the flexible central-to-local toolkit approach, reactive media highlights included taking advantage of last-minute availability of the ‘Clapham Colossus’ to run a topical message on air pollution levels in the British capital, and running digital & print executions taking advantage of a change in Danish legislation to promote the specific benefits of hybrid powertrains.