Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand has introduced a new tool at the Pebble Beach, Calif. Concours D'Elegance to test design concepts on consumers.
Lincoln asked attendees of the classic car show Aug. 20-21 to look at three design concepts based on vehicles from the '60s, '70s and '80s. People could click on the designs to give vehicles a sportier look, or change from a more retro look to a modern look. When they see a design they like, they click "save" and Lincoln records their preferences. Lincoln will also gather demographic data on the customers to better understand how different groups feel about different designs.
The so-called "co-creation" program, which runs on an iPad, is called "Virtual Voice of the Customer" and was developed by Detroit-based 360 brandmachine in coordination with its ad agency, Team Detroit.
Select participants will be invited to continue the discussion in an online panel post-show to gather more feedback, says Jim Peters, Lincoln experiential manager. Results of the panel will be made public at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, Peters tells Marketing Daily. Lincoln is also considering using the "Virtual Voice of the Customer" process at future auto shows, he added.
With "Virtual Voice of the Customer," designers can test design concepts with consumers in real-time in a virtual environment. This tool will give automakers a sense of how consumers feel about their designs, and can do it in a cost-effective manner.
Lincoln has always prided itself on being forward-thinking and technologically savvy, Peters says. The "Virtual Voice of the Customer" initiative allows the brand to use technology within a marketing initiative and to start a dialogue with prospective customers.
"This technology basically allows people to be designers for a day," Peters says.