Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

How Porsche Humanized Its Brand via Word-Of-Mouth

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Not many people own a Porsche car, but that hasn’t stopped the German automobile maker from engaging all of its fans.

Famously portrayed as a prestigious and elite brand, Porsche however, has sought to soften its image in recent years.

In a somewhat unusual move for most high-end automotive brands, Porsche has deliberately demolished its Ivory walls and gates. Since 2010, the organization has successfully embarked on an intensive social, digital, and word-of-mouth marketing campaign to embrace and connect with its diverse fan audience.

As such, Porsche has amassed millions of fans in practically all major social media platforms, storming ahead of its competitors.

In other words, you don’t need a 5-figure pay-check or even a driving licence to enjoy Porsche and its opulent cars.

Here’s how Porsche did it:

1. Engage intensely on all all the social media platforms

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Porsche’s official Facebook account.

At present, Porsche maintains a strong online presence through its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

On these channels, Porsche regularly updates its millions of followers with beautifully-captured photographs of its cars, bite-sized essays on automotive technology, and posts on its history and philosophy.

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Porsche’s official Instagram account.

Through its social media accounts, Porsche is able to reach out to its wide-ranging fan audience. According to Deniz Keskin, Porsche’s digital marketing manager, the company’s social media presence isn’t lip-service, or some superficial attempt to relate to younger audiences.

“As a luxury manufacturer,” Keskin emphasizes, “we see more and more of our actual customers in that space”.

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Porsche’s official Twitter account.

Proof of Porsche’s social media success is the exceptionally high levels of fan engagement and reach its photos, tweets, and status updates generate. A cursory look at its individual posts would reveal thousands of likes, friend tags, and fan comments and shares.

Thus, entire conversations occur right beneath Porsche’s social media umbrella, strengthening and nurturing the automaker’s relationship with its fans, both old and new.

In this way, Porsche appears less of an insular, exclusive brand, and more like one that can connect to the general masses.

Word-of-Mouth Pro Tip: Don’t shun social media, even if you’re a preeminent, high-end brand. Your actual and future customers will most likely be on Facebook or Twitter. Reach out to them and have them talk about your products. Even better, make that happen within spaces you can control.

2. But don’t control everything – give your customers and fans some say in your brand.

Unlike many luxury brands, Porsche has encouraged its customers and fans to take charge of its products, experiences, and brand image.

For example, in 2011, during a NLF match in Dallas, Texas, Porsche invited fans to upload, tag, and share their personal photos of Porsche cars onto Foursquare.

Hundreds of photos were submitted by local automobile enthusiasts and members of the general public. Dallas effectively became Porsche’s playground, and the city’s inhabitants its participants.

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Porsche spotting in Dallas, Texas.

At a more technical and immediate level, customers can also recommend and influence how Porsche designs, manufactures, and promotes its cars. Ken Thorsteinsson, a marketing communications executive with Porsche, reveals that Porsche isn’t just “looking at the quantitative results from [its] social activity”.

Porsche also listens and responds to fan feedback. When fans questioned the tailpipes of Porsche’s new car models, the organization promptly produced content to explain such technological components.

Word-of-Mouth Pro Tip: By allowing your fans and customers to participate in your brand’s advertising and marketing, you make them feel valued. They not only become consumers, but also brand advocates. And we know that people trust their peers more than they do with ads.

3. Demystifying Porsche cars through video, showcasing the workmanship behind-the-scenes

Porsche cars have attained mythical status for its vehicular capabilities and its polished aesthetics. But now, Porsche actively seeks to unmask its elusive and exclusive veneer.

In 2015, Porsche released a behind-the-scenes video of how it assembles its famed 918 Spyder model.

The video amassed more than 300,000 views.

The magic behind Porsche’s 918 Spyder. 

Additionally, Porsche regularly uploads videos of its cars in motion and of ordinary people test-driving them.

When you get to drive and be driven in a Porsche car.

Porsche also released a short video thanking all of its Facebook fans when it hit the one million fan mark. Fans were sent a personalized video of the manufacturing process behind Porsche’s acclaimed 911 GT3 R Hybrid model.

Word-of-Mouth Pro Tip: We live in an image-heavy age. So why not optimize it? Create videos that highlight how you make and devise your product.

Showing people the processes behind your brand gives assures them of the quality of your product, thereby increasing brand loyalty and customer referrals.

Recap on word-of-mouth lessons from Porsche:

  1. Take advantage of social media. It’s where most of the action happens.
  2. Work WITH your fans and customers – user generated content is powerful.
  3. Demystify your product. Transparency can result in greater brand loyalty and security.

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Read next: Tesla’s “$0 Marketing Budget” is Awesome Marketing

Hydar Saharudin

Hydar reads History at Nanyang Technological University. He likes cats and Cersei Lannister.

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