There are some prominent automotive brands who create unique events for the media and influencers. This includes arranging factory visits, racing on tracks, riding the off beaten track while enjoying local sights and delights.

It’s easier when handling a small group of people but what about prospects that goes into the thousands? Exclusive dinners where the vehicle is revealed is nice. Test Drives around the neighbourhood and on highways are nice too. What else can you do?

Here are some suggestions to achieve the best results from an automotive brand activation.

1. Don’t recreate the drive. Recreate the emotion. You may think that a virtual-reality ride down the PLUS Highway is the best bet but reality will almost always win out over virtual. Instead, think of how you can use technology to create the feeling of aspiration that one gets when getting behind the wheel of a new car. Take them on a drive they could never experience in the real world and augment the experience with light, sound, and tactility, showcasing the future of connected travel. Highlight assisted travel with creative use of voice or augmented reality. Remember that the best uses of technology are the ones that enhance the imagination.

2. Be true to your brand. If you are a Proton trying to be a Maserati, the audience will see right through it. Consumers want authenticity more than ever and they respect brands that don’t overplay their hand. Putting honesty into how brands represent themselves in experiential marketing pays major dividends. A car may be built more for gas mileage than speed or for comfort over sleek design, so be proud of who you are, and it will resonate with enthusiasts and skeptics alike.

3. Build for context and for content. When designing a successful auto experience understand that modern environment design is equal parts context and content. Fake Love turned a Kia Cadenza into a musical instrument for a John Legend event with the New York Times, and made it actually snow inside a giant snow globe for the Nissan Altima during a holiday activation. When doing so, we not only thought about how the creative idea connected with the location and timeframe, but we also thought deeply about how those experiences would play on social in relation to other topical content on a user’s feed.

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Interior Impossibly Smart Snow Globe Snow Credit Nissan USA. Fake Love helped produce Nissan’s interactive snow globe at the Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center in New York in December. The 40-foot multi-sensory dome featured a 3-D skyline, enhanced by changing snowfall visuals and audio. The dome highlighted the 2019 Nissan Altima and its I-AWD technology, which adapts and redistributes the car’s power to suit weather conditions. See more here.
Photo: Courtesy of Nissan USA

4. Amplify and extend. These days, it isn’t enough to create an activation and hope people will come and share. You need to frame how the story gets told across multiple media channels. Consider how you can get people excited about attending your event before they arrive, and think through the key moments during the experience that will be your hero content. What takeaways will the visitor still be thinking about after they leave? And, most importantly, how can you leverage your partnerships, media spend, influencer relationships, and owned and operated channels to bring the story of the experience to life for those who were not in the area? Great experiences outlive their physical manifestation.

5. Learn, optimize, and adapt. There is not one answer on how to design an amazing auto activation. Great experience designers understand what trends are working today, and are pushing the envelope for what will be tomorrow’s great touch-point. We have all seen too many ball pits and Instagrammable wallpaper. We don’t need more of that. Instead, think about what will translate to be a lasting brand experience that pays off on your strategic goals. Whether it is product education, increasing purchase consideration, changing sentiment or lead generation, all can be achieved through the right understanding of psychology, creativity, and realistic goal setting. Be willing to throw out what feels comfortable in exchange for what will make you stand out.

Sourced and adapted from BizBash