DEARBORN – One of the biggest challenges that take place during the relaunch of a luxury automotive brand is getting everyone, including dealers, energized around Lincoln and the products.
It is easy to tell dealers that Lincoln vehicles have the same quality and luxury as competing brands. However, it’s much more substantial to provide dealers with interactive automotive experiences to showcase the quality, design, history and future of the products.
In order to create the kind of passion necessary to successfully relaunch Lincoln, the Lincoln Dealer Experience Team designed the Lincoln Brand Champion movement.
One module of the program involves experiential motivation that gives dealers the tools they need to believe Lincoln vehicles are competitive with other brands within the luxury segment.
“Brand Champions will be the people who better understand the Lincoln vehicles and generate momentum around their success,” said Lisa Teed, manager, Lincoln Dealer Experience.
This initiative allows dealers to experience different aspects of Lincoln vehicles.
The idea behind the movement is to choose one employee from each dealer location who is particularly avid about the Lincoln brand and designate them the Lincoln Brand Champion. Brand Champions advocate for the brand and spread passion for the vehicle internally.
“There are approximately 450 dealership Brand Champions in the United States as well as 50 in Canada,” said Teed. “Brand Champions can be anyone in the dealership but they must have a desire to learn about and advocate for the Lincoln brand.”
The main event brought the Lincoln Brand Champions to meet with Edsel Ford II, member of the board of directors, in order to hear about the history behind Lincoln and the significance of the brand to Ford Motor Company.
The day was filled with continued learning exercises that reinforced the importance of the trademark to the company and showcased the cutting-edge product lineup.
The initiative is not meant to serve as a sales training session for the dealers, but rather a supplemental program that will help humanize the brand and bring a personal experience outlook for consumers.
“After attending this engagement activity, Brand Champions will have the tools and understanding to provide insight on the designs of Lincoln vehicles,” said Andrew Shaffer, manager, Lincoln Consumer Experience. “This awareness will further their excitement for the Lincoln brand and motivate them to fight for Lincoln at their dealerships.”
Each champion had the opportunity to test-drive eight luxury-segment vehicles, including Lincoln, in order to make comparisons and evaluate the competitiveness of the Lincoln products. The Brand Champions drove competitor vehicles from Lexus, Audi and Cadillac.
Furthermore, the champions had the chance to see how and where the Lincoln vehicles were designed, witness a live crash test, touch the clay used to mold potential Lincoln models and visit site locations unavailable to anyone else, such as the Crash Barrier and the Research and Innovation Center.
“The Lincoln Brand Champions left with extremely positive feelings toward the Lincoln products and will be able to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with consumers,” said Teed. “This event has reassured dealers that Lincoln can compete in the luxury segment.”