I was taking advantage of my LinkedIn Premium subscription to research and connect with auto executives who might be interested in MediaPost’s upcoming MediaPost Automotive: Marketing conference when I stumbled across an interesting “help wanted” ad for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The position is “brand experience and innovation manager.” It is proof that automakers are intent on exposing consumers to their brands in a more organic way.
Nissan recently did away with their “social media” position, and instead is incorporating that function across all marketing positions in a more holistic approach, but the FCA position takes a more traditional approach and appears to be focused on directly influencing Jeep sales.
It’s not a brand that has been suffering from a sales doldrum.
Sales of the iconic Jeep Wrangler rose 3% in the third quarter to 59,035, and sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee jumped 8% to 61,768, making it the brand's best-seller in the quarter.
But the automaker is not resting on its laurels.
The position description says the employee will “manage two major elements. The first is to improve the overall customer experience for Jeep Brand. The second is to design, launch and manage experiments within the U.S. dealer network.” Working with dealers can be challenging since they can be impatient. They are less enthused about long-term brand building and more concerned with moving metal.
The customer experience element of the position will study and incorporate customer feedback and utilize competitive benchmarking to define the goals for Jeep's customer experience, according to the ad.
“This will involve creating a cross-functional team that will develop a working plan to achieve said goals,” per the posting. “The manager will also be responsible for developing a business case to support improvement plan.”
The brand innovation element of this role will involve responsibility for Jeep pilot projects to increase sales effectiveness. These may include ride share, alternative use vehicles and subscription models, according to the posting.
“Brand experience” is an evolving area for automakers, and this position is telling in terms of where the challenges lie. Jeep is such an iconic brand, it will be interesting to see how the person hired for this position will build on that, and especially how it is received by dealers.