Mercedes-Benz of North America (MBNA) recognized the need to increase its presence in key Western United States markets. As a premiere automotive brand, MBNA believed that it needed to be more competitive with the likes of BMW, Jaguar, Porsche and luxury American models. MBNA research showed that upper middle demographics did not necessarily recognize the brand/value relationship and had aspirations to be part of the brand.
- Elevate the brand and position the models against specific demographics.
- Identify the brand and models with specific events and activities.
- Create an enhanced aura of wanting to belong to the MBNA exclusive club.
- Increase the qualified prospect ratio as reported by authorized dealers.
- Retool the “car pool” process for editorial coverage by analyzing not just reporters’ request for vehicles but adding metrics which discern historical coverage of Mercedes by the reporter/publication as well as matching up the media’s demographics with those of the car model purchaser. This became the foundation for our “driving media” campaign
- Query the dealers to determine what areas they felt were most needed from a public relations perspective and other tools that would assist them in generating qualified leads.
- Develop an editorial calendar for key markets such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas and Seattle which prioritized media for editorial pursuit for non test-drive coverage.
- Display Mercedes cars at top-tier locations to create a “buzz” including exclusive restaurants, retailers, country clubs, museums, etc. along with collateral and sales reps to answer questions.
- Execute a comprehensive public relations campaign around MBNA’s sponsorship of the Los Angeles Marathon including: Launch a first-time event where elite runners met with the press on an informal, social basis to generate feature exposure. Matched up reporters with runners from their home towns/states whenever possible. Created an editorial “hot line” that allowed reporters to track us down whenever they had a request.
- Provided transportation to select journalists in Mercedes cars to the Marathon. Develop exclusive feature concepts to pitch to leading media based on the interests of readers/viewers.
- MBNA dealers reported positive increase in qualified leads following press exposure.
- MBNA asked the agency to develop a dealer public relations guide to generate their own publicity.
- Mercedes’ sponsorship of the LA Marathon resulted in continuing increases in positive coverage and dealer participation.
- Mercedes continued to invest in additional agency programs