How To Take Creative Risks? Think Like A Racecar Driver

That’s the indirect metaphor that Nissan Senior Manager-Interactive Marketing North America Robert Brown used to kick off his keynote at OMMA Art & Science in Los Angeles this morning.

He began by showing the ultimate metaphor -- a Nissan custom race car -- that is not one any consumer can buy, but which was the centerpiece of a digital marketing campaign that began with Nissan’s participation in the Super Bowl in February.

The reason: race cars are a “metaphor for excitement.”

The problem, he said, was how to leverage that as a metaphor Nissan management and shareholders would get excited about: “financial or fiscal impact.”

Brown implied that it’s not always possible to draw a direct connection between emotional impact and fiscal impact, but he said Nissan endeavored to find a way of valuing it.

“We were looking for more. What is the key business value,” he said, adding, “What, at the end of the day, did it get us?”

He cited obligatory metrics like “earned” media impressions and assigning a dollar value for that, but what Nissan really wanted was something far more bottom line. Then he confided, “Ultimately, I can tell you what we didn’t get, which was a lot of Web form lead gen.” By that, he meant, online users filling out forms indicating they were interested in buying a Nissan.

But after probing deeper, Brown’s team came upon some key insights that suggest longer-term brand value from people accessing the content through Nissan’s website.

In particular, he said only 32% of site visitors indicated they were in market to buy a car in the next three months, but 50% were “seven-plus” months away from making a new car purchase decision.

That, he said, is the bottom line value “this site is serving.”
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