Honda Accord Crosstour: New Age Media Ain’t For Everybody

Aside

New age media is here to stay whether we like it or not. The advent of internet has brought a new channel for advertiser to be used creatively or just as a simple tool in the already diverse medium to advertise. The use of emails to advertise was deemed effective as it has 100% delivery rate to the intended person or group mail account if the matter in question involves group mail or mailing lists. As years goes by, advertising through emails are now considered an act of annoyance and people dubbed this effort as spamming. As modern email accounts and clients have active spam filters, advertising through emails are not deemed effective anymore.

The emergence of social networking sites like Friendster, Twitter and Facebook is like an oasis in the dessert. Advertisers do not have to worry anymore with cluttered air space of traditional media like prints, TVs, and radios where the seemingly crowded space never guarantees the message get through the intended target market without significant cost of high frequency. Advertisers can easily targets groups of people according to age and interests just by seeing what group these people follows in their respective social networks. It mimics the success of advertising through emails before advertisers cluttered the channel and making people go against it.

Moonfruit, a hosting/Web Design Company in America, used twitter to promote themselves, with great result. The participant only needs to write Moonfruit on their twitter update and they are in to win a Macbook Pro. The resulting effort becomes viral, and Moonfruit popularity soared sky high as even local TV news (CNN) picked up the story, making the company seemingly “free advertisement” had become a global phenomenon which attracts far beyond the planned target audience. As such, some perceive the internet as the best tool in modern marketing currently available.

The Fall of Perception

Honda of America, as one of the leading automotive company in the United States was also intrigued to use this newly established channel to advertise. Using Facebook, Honda did teaser marketing on their launch of new line of car called Accord Crosstour (click to visit Crosstour Facebook page). At no cost at all to join Facebook and establish a product page, Honda of America CPM is nonexistent, but it manage to reach hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Facebook users. When the teaser pictures revealed one by one on Honda Facebook page, the responds were good, Facebook users and follower of Honda Crosstour Facebook account cannot wait to see a new line of car based on the successful Honda Accord series.

Crosstour unique fascia

It is not until the car was completely unveiled, the unexpected happened. The curiosity comments became violently negative. Hate words came out from the masses and Honda Crosstour comment page was filled with negative comments. Honda even had to delete several comments (28) and one comment from Honda own product planner (click to see the link). Several online automotive media picks up the story and even more damaging publicity ran loose on the internet. Honda damage control was by putting notes on the Crosstour Facebook page by saying things like “the car was accepted very well by the demographics/target market per their internal research”, “and several comments were out of line and not in line with Honda corporate effort”. Honda even stated that the car was not pleasant to look at on the angles that were on the pictures when the car was finally unveiled. Honda changed the color from silver to red and features more photos from different angles. Photos from Honda own press kits that should not be displayed yet until the car official launch later this year. The damage is done and Honda notes further fuel the flame of bad words to new high.

No Wrong Step Just Wrong Channel

My analysis of this incident is that Honda is too eager to use new age media and misjudge the capacity and channel usage of the demographics. Speaking technically, The Crosstour is a good car. The car was a crossover between full size sedan and an SUV. Low center of gravity means driving dynamics would not be as compromised as in tall SUV. It’s a hatch, meaning people of all sizes can access the cargo bay with ease. Honda press kit reads that the seating position will be elevated like in SUV, giving great driving view. The car will features four wheel drive system which will allow it to go on snowy, muddy, wet areas without problem. The engine itself reportedly will use Accord own 3.5L which offers more than enough power to satisfy Americans with their preference of power over efficiency. A good car technically, but visually, it has some questionable lines. The car has huge blocky front end, a design cue taken straight from Accord. However, it has a sloping rear hatch which does not go very well with the symmetrical front end.

Aerodeck/fastback design is clean

I would guess visually, Honda deliberately made the car to look like Honda Accord; after all, the Accord is Honda of America top 3 biggest selling cars. Marketing wise, Honda would want to associate Crosstour with the Accord to indicate lineage and thus relying on Accord brand equity to push sales; hence the name, Accord Crosstour.

Regarding the demographics, Honda did not reveal any specifics but here is my definition of the targets based on the available facts. Accord Crosstour targeted demographics are established people, somebody who values practicality (hatchback), have excess disposable income to fuel the thirsty car (big engine + 4WD system), and is associated with Accord (mature). Looking at the simple facts the car brought, we can see clearly the intended target market. Roughly sketching from their slice of life, I conclude that Accord Crosstour demography is aged around 34-45, SES A to A+, economically stable with excess income, senior managers or higher, sensible and practical.

According to Internet & American Life Project (PEW), these sort of people falls into the Gen X category. A mature older generation which still embrace change and technology, unlike past generation baby boomers. However, this is where I find a fault in Honda approach on using Facebook to unveil the new Accord Crosstour.

Stark differences in habits of browsing according to survey

PEW research data (click to download original survey data) clearly indicates that Teens and Gen Y are the majority users of social networking sites; whereas the Accord Crosstour was targeted at the Gen X group. This discrepancy alone should already warned Honda at the impending comments thrown out by non targets especially those who still consider fashion over function (teens and the young at heart). The biggest problem of all is not just about the negative comments, but the amount of negative comments is there. When Honda entered the social networking site, they should be aware of the normative social influence phenomenon which dictates a group behavior as a whole.

Social networking sites are in essence a meeting place of groups of people. Those who are not a group will join a group and with the metaphysical bonds of internet it’s a group bonded with fragile existence. In their book, Aronson, Wilson & Akert (Social Psychology), normative social influence dictates that to belong, a person will join a group cohesive respond. As such, internet users are susceptible to mass opinion which has been initially created. In this case, negative comments for Honda Accord Crosstour. The anonymity aspect of internet commenter is also at play here. Under the disguise of nicknames and email accounts, a person can speak to their heart content without needing to heed manners of speaking.

Tread Slowly and Take The Right Step

Some believe that any publicity is a good publicity, as it will make the object in question will be at the top of the mind. Coupled with coverage from other media, it is hoped becoming viral, creating buzz marketing. However, personally I found this is disturbing to say the least. Bad publicity is bad publicity no matter how we look at it. It might become a top of mind, but a top of mind on negative terms or at least not the perceived value they wanted. Awareness might be high, but it will prevent the masses or wider target audience even from entering “Interest” aspect of AIDA. While our competitors are trying to do what they can to tease our intended target market sway towards them, using the bad publicity we have gathered as a leveraged towards them.

The use of Internet as a medium to advertise is a great idea. However, I concur that when selecting media to advertise, we need to go back to the basic by analyzing which media to use based on the target market preference. Most companies which successfully advertised using social networking media usually works around the internet itself, thus the relevance of using the internet as medium.

Honda Accord Crosstour Facebook fiasco was caused by Honda eagerness to adopt new age media, without considering thoroughly who the majority user of social networking was. Free advertising is one thing, but targeted media coupled with creative approach are still the key success factor to win the attention of target markets in today’s crowded media.

-fin-

This short analysis was actually a case study I submitted to an agency when I applied for a planner position. A bit much I think, but considering that I’ve been working on client side for quite a while, a case study to showcase what I can deliver to them should be sufficient.

In short, does Honda made a mistake using Facebook to market the Crosstour? Personally I think is yes, it’s a blunder. Most people (including me) always look at face value, that we draw conclusion based on what I see first/first impression. When the Crosstour was revealed, it just looked weird on the photos, no specs, no driving impression, just weird car on photos.

I wonder why Honda didn’t just used the same ol’ media outlet like automotive reviewers? Because reading every bit review of the car net brilliant result. Not much cargo space, but refinement, driving, and comfort scores full marks. The reviews creates positive marks for the Crosstour, and Honda can utilize this reviews rather than using Facebook.

Burn Your Marketing Budget Through Recession!

Recession is here whether we want to accept that fact or not. Customers spending lowers, tertiary product prices gone up, massive financial institution layoff, undulating stock charts, and everything in between. So what should we, as a marketer has to do to face the crisis? The one thing big companies do when sales are down usually is to cut marketing budget outright, citing that sales makes the money, not advertising. Well, couldn’t be truer than that… Hell, as a marketing manager, I consider myself a second child to the product/sales manager as what they did is to sell products and create income for the company… Me? I’m spending that hard earned money to gain something that cannot be quantifiable in literal sense.

So what should we do? Well, I don’t know about you, but for me, its business as usual. Some seminars I attended about marketing cited that today is the best day to spend that marketing budget like crazy. Because everybody thinks just like what I wrote on the opening paragraph… Companies are afraid to spend money on unquantifiable things and are saving more for rainy days. That means, your competitors are likely to do the same. If your competitor cut their marketing spending, it means less noise on the market place now, so you can scream to your heart content in the middle of the market and net some considerable market share, at least if that market share doesn’t have the money to buy your product, you get some mind share and can reap the benefit at later date when the economy has recover.

However, maintaining that marketing budget is not the be all end all solution to maintain the needed market share today, especially in recession time. Customers just don’t have the money to spend, period. So rather than buying the unneeded tertiary products, people will opt to primary goods just to pass daily affairs. If you are let say… A fancy hair shampoo brand, you don’t spam advertising about fancy-all-natural-after-shower-anti-frizz-hair-conditioner-hair-coloring-combo, that costs a lot and is considered as tertiary product, you scale down and advertise about the basic necessity shampoo. At least you scale down the exposure level to that of your most mainstream product. It keeps your brand exposure level high enough with constant media frequency (if that marketing budget is maintained) and actually advertise something that people can still afford.

But what about companies that solely produce expensive tertiary products, like the automotive company? After all, car prices are going up especially for those countries which mainly import their products. Well, the mantra is still the same, you still burn that advertising budget, but with a little twist. You don’t allocate the entire budget into advertising, but move back a level and spend it on promotion mix level.

Remember the promotion mix? Advertising, Personal Selling, Public Relation and Promotion? Well, big companies often forget that a successful marketing campaign consists of all four of promotion mix elements. This is critical because when homogeneity is achieved especially as technology advances, there will be no more Honda’s i-VTEC, no more Toyota’s VVT-i, it would only be a car with variable valve timing technology. Thus, burning your marketing budget on expensive advertising about how advance your product is becoming a moot point. You can still advertise the expected perceived difference and market segmentation of your product, but not about its advancement anymore… Unless it’s very unique in a way no other competitor has something even remotely similar.

Then, you twist that marketing budget to leverage other key success factor of the company. Invest in Personal Selling, increase the training level and make sure that any people came in contact with your sales force immediately make your product as their point of reference. No need for sales to happen yet especially in this tough time, but do remember, for this to be successful you need to employ a super salesman. Spend on your Promotion, pull strategy is no longer working especially when dealers have exhausted their shared marketing budget. You push your marketing effort towards the customer, award your customers by buying your products with enticing yet attainable prizes… Not “buy a moose get (draw lottery ticket to get another) a moose“. It’s gambling! And not true marketing effort some say, and even I actually. Then, do some Publicity Stunt, make future customers literally fall in love with your company. In this tough time, nobody wants to part with their hard earned money especially to some jack ass company whose only purpose is to make their CEOs and owners fat. But if your company is the people’s company, giving out scholarship, increasing the livelihood of the surrounding community… People will literally threw money at you! Off course, there’s buzz marketing effect, do a perfect publicity stunt and watch how people will talk about your company and watch the the positive wind picking up.

Together, if you just came back towards your roots in the marketing front, I guarantee you will survive the crisis… Disclaimer: If your competitors doesn’t read this blog entry and have bigger marketing budget than you…  All in all, just do that integrated marketing stuff marketing people are raving about nowadays.

And… You’re still here… Which means, your boss still didn’t approve to maintain the marketing budget right? Don’t worry, there is still another potent way (read silently: cheap) to do marketing effort in this tough time. Embrace… The Internet.

Hell, there’s too much channel today that is free and targets effectively to groups of scrumptious target market on the internet. You can post free on interest group emails, forums, your own website, and every conceivable Internet channels. There’s them tube, that book of faces, that other social networking that used to be famous before that book of faces came, that multiplication thing, and many others… Fancy words for youtube, facebook, friendster, and multiply.

What is more important than all of the tactics used in this article is clearly your head and quoting Spongebob Squarepants, “a little bit of eee-magin-nation”. What’s written in this article is the basics of basics, you still can screw it up by following it blindly. Every company faces different sets of problems, and not every trick in the book is applicable, there’s still a mix and matching that needs to be done on reality side of things.

So… Research your customer/competitors, get back to SWOT analysis, adapt your strategy and like Takeo Fukui san, ex Honda President said and I would like to quote “Toward this end, Honda will closely monitor the marketplace and then carefully determine what actions need to be taken. Once decisions are made, Honda will take quick action as the company realizes the situation is very urgent and a slight delay in making management decisions could be critical“. So, if a multi[B]illion dollar company is doing it, so should your company.

So what I do then on my company? Did I get to maintain my marketing budget? Did I employ all this ridiculously basic marketing principle? Well, like I said above, every company faces their own set of problems… And with my imagination… Even children does not need to cry and scream for their parents to be noticed… It’s wordplay, if you know where I work… then that bolded sentence would mean everything.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of reference, I base it off my experience and from a marketing seminar which I couldn’t or don’t know how to refer here. However, the marketing term here are all basic marketing principle anyway.

Franchising Compendium… The Thing That Kick Starts Everything

The thing that kick starts everything… Man… I’m getting cornier by the hour for sure… Anyway…

Since moving here (new domain) equals to Google putting me somewhere on the last pages of its search engine, I think most visitors here never seen what I wrote back in the early days. These articles are what made me decides to host my own blog so I can get much more control and personalization. Why? Because they are the most searched subject back when I was starting this blog at wordpress.com. I meet new people (through the magic of internet), learn some more thing or two, and as such opened up my eyes to new horizons. These are not mere fruits of my knowledge and experience, these are what changed me.

Without further a due, here are my collection of franchising articles, its pros and cons and some examples along the way.

Franchise or not to Franchise… That is the question

Franchising: The Final Frontier – Part Uno

Franchising The Final Frontier: Part Dos! (Warning: Long Read)

Weekend Roulade: Franchising Fiasco

Enjoy the read, it’s about franchising, Krispy Kreme, J.Co, Es Teler 77, vodka drinking monkey and everything in between… Plus a bit of Honda.

The Making of Honda Accord Euro Teaser Ad analysis (Part 1)

That’s right, there’s a short video of a short video of an advertisement. If that’s not a brand new marketing concept… I don’t know what is.

I stumbled upon Difficultisworthdoing.com, and I noticed they are displaying a behind the scene for a teaser ad of Honda latest sexy lady, the Accord Euro. Witty comments and three behind the scenes video after the click… Continue reading

Taktik Kotor Melawan Pendatang Baru

Komunikasi adalah konsep yang paling sering kita gunakan, dari berbicara hingga menyampaikan pesan secara tak langsung. Tak hanya dapat membentuk sebuah tujuan baik, komunikasi kini juga kerap digunakan tujuan jahat. Black campaign yang mendera Nissan Livina dan kartu GSM Axis baru-baru ini di Indonesia merupakan salah satu bentuk “demarketing” yang tak pandang bulu.

Continue reading

Feel… I’m So JAZZ!!!!

Wowza! I just browsed and opened up Honda Thailand website for some confirmation of new Jazz/Fit drivetrain. Not only I stumbled upon the fact it uses a 5AT with the 120ps engine, Honda Thailand made a full length jingle for the car… Feel I’m so Jazz indeed!!!!! I can’t stop playing the song at the background!!! Very catchy song… And almost made me forget about buying Suzuki SX4 altogether… Go Honda!!!

Click here if you want to hear the song, it will load in the background.

http://www.honda.co.th/jazz/launch/select_en.html

Click here if you want to see the TV commercial of Honda Jazz in Thailand, it features a portion of the song.

http://www.honda.co.th/jazz/launch/tvc_en.html

I bet to anybody who replied to this post that Honda Indonesia will make a half assed attempt at creating the advertisement for 2008 Jazz. They are probably going to use some hip artist dancing around with a popular song, I bet also they didn’t even bother to look at this Honda Thailand Jazz advertisement.

Saying Sorry Still Works In This Crazy World

On my previous post, I’ve mentioned about perception and what power it beholds. Truth be told, perception is everything in the marketing world as far as I know. You can have the best product in the world, but if perception dictates otherwise, you do not have the best product in the world. When you launched a so so product early in its life cycle and develop it to be perfect later on, people will perceive the product to be so so, especially if said people didn’t purchase/use that product again later in its life cycle.

However, perception can be created or altered even though it takes time to do it. XBOX 360 for example, this latest gaming system from Microsoft is considered to be the next generation system with the widest range of game available to date. Nintendo Wii might be the most popular and Sony PS3 might have the popularity “heritage” from its PS2 days, but XBOX 360 with Microsoft first mover advantage has gained considerable market time and game availability that surpass both Sony and Nintendo next generation console. However, Microsoft’s XBOX 360 isn’t exactly reliable as every console there is in the world, because of the tragic red ring of death. But, thanks to Microsoft swift response, the warranty has been extended for the XBOX 360 and people can replace/repair their damaged system for free. At least in the USA, or every country which they have an official representative… Sadly my country is not in the list, and I have to repair my XBOX 360 to a local technician, but it gets the job done as the problem has been isolated to weak cooling mechanism.

With people perceiving that Microsoft has failed delivering a reliable gaming system, it’s only a matter of time before people jump ships to other next generation gaming system right? Well not really… Microsoft reputation was blemished for sure with the XBOX 360 fiasco but their constant marketing effort to “apologize” to their customers is highly regarded. Microsoft blew the cooling mechanism, and they offer an extended warranty, XBOX live downtime, and they offer free download of games. It seems that saying sorry is still applicable in this crazy world after all, if not, people would just flock to PS3 and Wii (if only their games library is as extensive as XBOX 360).

Now this is one example I share to all of you how perception can be altered. Next up, we will talk about how perception creates brand image through the means of knowledge and experience, and how it brings down Acura marquee.

More Dangerous Than Nuclear Bomb & Compound Interest… Perception!

Nuclear bombs decimate two of Japan’s city with casualties exceeding thousands of lifes, and compound interest… Well, let’s just say that because of it, lots of people lost their everything. The Romans once even ban compound interest in their law (although we know compound interest is very lively nowadays). But there is something more than those two combined, well, what else is there except for perception.

Now first, let’s talk about what is perception means literally. Because I don’t have my trusty library next to me, I will define perception with the help from the almighty internet itself. The meaning of perception varies a lot from sources to sources, I was even kind of shocked by how many meanings it contain. However… I noticed some similarity between them, therefore this is what I interpret about perception from the various sources (link at the end of the article). Perception is our disposition towards something related through our past experience… Now that’s a new definition of perception.

Now from the definition which I have filtered from various sources means that our judgment or perception will differs wildly because a person’s personal experience is up to God’s will and cannot be constructed as we hoped. This fact is actually quite new to me. I thought that perception is a response from a person directly when that situation arise. Then, about a week ago, I talk to my father about perception, he also added something new for me. In his book, he wrote about perception is a cumulative experience of a person PLUS our instinct… Instinct? What the hell… Then he describes that almost everybody are afraid of the dark although the intensity varies. Well, this is actually true because it is human nature to be afraid of the unknown, I think it goes back to our ancestors days.

So if I might summarize it all, perception is a person attitude towards a subject prior to their experience, knowledge and mood at the time they make a judgment. I put personal mood because sometimes, people makes decision based on feelings, just a bit personal experience there.

Now let’s get into the interesting part… The examples!

Now we have Suzuki and their SX4, Honda and their CR-V, Nissan and their Livina. In Indonesia, those respective cars delivery waiting period exceeds 3 months, and the question is what people perceives about the long delivery waiting period? To the majority of people, it means that all three cars are a hot item, but to the more wary people, it means that all three company fails to estimate the market absorption rate of their products. Me? I’m one of the wary people so I perceive Honda, Nissan and Suzuki has failed to estimate the market absorption rate of CR-V, Livina and SX-4. One would argue that the company could not do anything about it because their main headquarter established a fixed quota… Well, global warming is a natural cause anyway (sarcasm warning).

Then how about J.Co and Krispy Kreme strategy here in Indonesia? They play perception game quite well if I bold enough to speak. Well, this is my blog, I can write anything anyway… One peculiar thing I noticed about those spritely donut shops are how their cashier counter and queue line is set up. Most often than not, it revolves around one single line with two cashier waiting at the end of the line. This set up will always make a long queue line even when the customer load (people coming) is just medium to high. I consider this as a stupid management, but there are two advantage of doing this. One is there are more seating space because the queueing line is just a single file, and two, people will perceive that J.Co and Krispy Kreme products are so good even people willing to wait in long line just to purchase it. There you go… Perception…. Me? Again, as my personal experience are a bit bitter, I consider it as a hassle. I demand swift service, I want to go in and out as fast as possible, so I just consider J.Co and Krispy Kreme queue strategy as lacking management wise. However, us we are Asians who are typically does not want to be left out of the “loop” will consider this queueing line as something that is “hip” and we as people must follow that trend. Because we perceive that if people stand that long for just an over the top sugary treat or whatever it is must be extremely good… Me? I don’t like queue lines, when I buy donuts I bought Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme, just because they have shorter queue line than J.Co.

So there you go, perception. I can go on and on about the examples of perception, but it is a little bit of a moot point because there are just too many examples out there already.

Until then, XOXO… (I’ve been watching too much Gossip Girl)

The Sources:

American Marketing Association definition of perception
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions definition of perception
Canadian Food Inspection Agency definition of perception

Confession of A Marketer Part One

Just like John Perkins came out from the closet and relieves his past doing in a book entitled “Confession of an economic hitman”, I’m going to do the same only with a different context.

In a very brief summary, Perkins wrote about his job as an economic hitman, negotiating lucrative deals that benefits his employer but the deals always has a catch. The catch is that his employer gets more than enough and the host country usually gets… Well, less than nothing or at least just enough. The way Perkins did his job back then is to use advanced negotiation and communication skill, combined with advanced financial knowledge to literally cheat the host country to sign up deals that actually do harmful things for them.

Now, I used to be a marketer and putting myself up to Perkins level is absolutely stupid… I do however worked like him, putting up communication skill to make people believe what I said and do what I wanted them to do. In my country, marketing is a branch of communication major, where applied theory of communication is all too relevant. In advertising 101, it is said that what we do in daily life is marketing in itself. When we talk, we brought about tone and manner, with a message to convey explicitly or implicitly, and we expect the person that we talked to respond in ways that we have anticipate so we can reply accordingly. The last sentence alone is the most basic form of marketing, and that is just one part of our life. What we wear, what we eat, where do we go, who our friends are, where we live, all reflects our status. Status, something that we wanted people to perceive us, same like many brands wanted and formed perception of their selves. BMW “The Ultimate Driving Experience”… Is it? I heard and read Ferrari cars offer the best driving experience of any car/brands… D’oh, given Ferrari unified product portfolio (all Ferrari cars are semi professional racing cars).

By creating false assumption to garner intention and perception, marketer basically lies as their daily job. Why said marketer lies as their daily job? Well, it’s very simple… What would you say to your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents? You will say something that impresses them, something that you did or currently do but you exaggerate it through the roof. Basically creating a false assumption, or true to some extent. It’s not necessarily lying, but what is that term again… When you are not telling the whole truth? White lies? Well, there are many type of lies but it is still lying.

Some marketer even abuse the concept of marketing in the sense it became no longer relevant to the product. I have the best example for this. In my country there’s a local notebook company with the name of BYON. As a newcomer how could they garner attention from Indonesian IT consumers who are easy to sway by international marquees? They have to be innovative, have to be different… But what they sell is just old plain notebook, the same as multinationals brand who already established strong brand image in the country. With a strong barrier to entry, what does the marketer at BYON did? They create a perception that their notebooks are “upgradeable”, and they use Indonesian record museum (Indonesian version of Guinness book of record) achievement frequently.

Are BYON claim about their products as upgradeable is true? Well, to some extend yes, but basically they are just claiming what other national/multinational notebook brands already capable of. It’s what we call in marketing term as preemptive claim, claiming something that is already common but never been claimed. I’ve wrote up about preemptive claim here. For that I have nothing to say about BYON because they are just practicing common marketing effort. But then there’s the record setting claim… This one I really don’t like… They set a record as being the first notebook that uses gold and diamond on the cover… What the hell… What the hell… Then they set another record, about creating a Christmas tree using BYON notebooks. Does the record settings are relevant to BYON products which are mobile computing? Big fat NO.

Record settings supposed to be relevant to the product. Honda for example, in Indonesia they set a record of using 1 liter of fuel to travel an average 70 kilometer (43.5 mile); now that’s relevant even though how that fuel consumption number is achieved through questionable ways. Then, there’s Suzuki Shogun, a small bike that claimed a record (noted in Indonesian record museum) of being run through racing circuit for 24 hours non stop, now that is dead relevant to the product. How BYON abuse their non relevant record setting claims to me is very non sensical. If I could humbly offer a record setting claim that is good for them is about battery longevity. They could use a high capacity battery and they could sell this battery to the consumers at premium price because it has that “record setting” status.

There’s this one book written by Budiman Hakim, creative director for Macs909 (Indonesian advertising agency) entitled “Lanturan tapi Relevan” or loosely translated to rubbish but relevant. In that book he wrote about advertising is a simple thing of acknowledging one unique selling point of a product/brand how small it is and blow it sky high to achieve the desired result. For those who are new to advertising/marketing world in general, I recommend you read this book because of its light approach to the subject. The man was my former employer and although he doesn’t remember me, I learn quite a lot from him.

This entry is actually my reason for making this blog. I want to share with the world about advertising, and marketing in general from my point of view. It is not rocket science by any measure, but still, a lot of marketer doesn’t adhere to the basics of marketing. Instead they use complicated brand/product perception creation through unorthodox methods. Remember guys and gals, do not, I repeat, DO NOT take “thinking out of the box” too literally. When you have objective and direction you are in “the box”… It’s thinking on the boundaries without going over that is most important.

I used to want to name this blog the confession of a marketer… But that’s just too melodramatic.

Honda Head Honcho: Hybrid War Is Beginning, Civic Hybrid Was A Mistake

Well, finally the head honcho at Honda Japan has declared an all out hybrid war and stating that Civic Hybrid was a mistake. Starting 2009, Honda will release an all new dedicated hybrid car like Toyota Prius, no longer the hybrid car is based off an existing car.

This actually a long awaited news personally for me… For the longest time I feel that Honda is making a mistake with introducing Civic Hybrid. Toyota Prius as a dedicated hybrid car is instantaneously recognizable as a hybrid car, unlike the “hybrid in disguise” of Civic Hybrid. From marketing point of view, Prius drivers will get a direct recognition of being “environmentally conscious” because the car looks different, and thus people can directly associate it with hybrid. The Civic Hybrid on the other hand… Looks like a Civic, a car that is commonly associated as… Common.

Here are some screenshots of the an existing mule of the supposedly dedicated hybrid.

global hybrid face

global hybrid back

As you can see, Honda’s commitment to introduce a dedicated hybrid is in full steam. Above are pictures of a frankensteined Honda Fit front end on Honda Airwave chassis taken sometimes mid 2007, supposedly tested using the all new hybrid engine. Pictures are taken from… Motor Trend…

Honda also introduced CR-Z, a concept car at 40th Tokyo Motor Show. The car will be gas-electric hybrid, and aimed at performance oriented market… It has the looks, but the gas-electric engine will be something less desired from performance point of view.

Honda CR-Z
Honda supposedly dead serious about the hybrid war. In 2009 the car that is being tested with the frankensteined Fit/Airwave will be available worldwide according to Honda CEO year end speech of 2006, and the car will be cheaper than the current Civic Hybrid. The CR-Z however remains a mystery regarding of its mass production date although Takeo Fukui has mentioned that the car is on its way to production. Probably Honda will deliver a one-two punch by delivering two hybrids at the same time in 2009. The Prius fighter and the CR-Z.

The Prius Fighter, supposedly sized bigger than the Fit but smaller than the Civic will be priced accordingly… Someway between the Fit and the Civic. In America, Civic Hybrid is US$22.000ish, and the new hybrid car supposed to be less than that.

Sources:
Edited… Fixed some release schedule error, I was so sleepy when typing the entry.