DEARBORN - Quality, Design and Personal Service are the pillars of the Lincoln brand, and they will be at the heart of all communications going forward – both internal and external – as Lincoln continues its reinvention. These pillars are similar in nature to the Ford brand’s Quality, Green, Safe, and Smart pillars.
“We identified the main reasons why people purchase a luxury vehicle, separate from a mainstream mass brand. That was the first piece that drove how we wanted to communicate what the brand pillars are and their meaning to Lincoln,” said Dan Brady, manager, Lincoln Consumer Marketing. “The second piece was then identifying a space that’s important in the luxury industry where we could really compete to differentiate the Lincoln brand in the marketplace.”
What the team discovered, according to Brady, was that quality and design are “must-haves” in the luxury vehicle market.
“Quality to a luxury client is not just about Things Gone Wrong (TGWs). It is a much deeper emotion as well as a quantitative measurement,” he said. “It’s the quality and craftsmanship of the materials and the quality of the way the client interacts with the vehicle.”
Sometimes quality is a characteristic that cannot easily be put into words.
“When you get into the vehicle does it have the feel of high quality? Does the door sound right when it closes? Do the buttons work seamlessly? Does the way the vehicle embraces you and the sensory experience from the touch and feel of the materials invoke an apparent level of high quality?” said Brady. “These are the types of things that inspire a sense of quality in a luxury automobile.”
When it comes to design, the key word is “unique,” said Brady.
“Do we have our own unique character? Does the vehicle flow from the interior to the exterior? Are there unique characteristics that spark the imagination and tell a story? – from the way that the headlamps are designed to the way the grille lines flow into the rest of the vehicle?” he continued. “Design has to create an emotional reaction.”
The design of a luxury car also has to be timeless, said Brady.
“Even after owning a vehicle for four years it should still connect with you on an emotional level when you see it in the driveway,” he said.
While Quality and Design are key, the pillar that the Lincoln team hopes will differentiate the brand from its competitors is Personal Service.
“Everyone wants a great experience when they buy a car, but a premium client has higher and different expectations,” said Brady. “And that’s what we’re seeking to deliver.”
Brady said Lincoln will deliver Personal Service through a series of product, ownership and shopping experiences such as:
• Lincoln 24/7 Online Concierge – an amenity offering clients an around-the-clock concierge to assist in creating a highly personal online shopping experience.
• Les Clefs d’Or and the Lincoln Academy – the international association of hotel concierges is consulting on the new Lincoln Academy, a sales and service associate training program for Lincoln dealership personnel aimed at training them to deliver the same personalized service experiences clients receive at top luxury hotels.
• Lincoln Brand Champion – One employee is chosen from Lincoln dealerships to advocate for the brand and spread passion for the vehicles throughout the dealership.
• Lincoln Black Label – A collection of unique interior aesthetic themes and warm personal experiences that will transcend the expectations of the most selective luxury client and elevate the Lincoln brand. It is expected to launch toward the end of 2014.
“Our goal is to create a unique experience clients will remember and continue to have throughout the ownership of their vehicle,” said Brady. “There also is a whole suite of product features that speak to personal service that we’re working on that you will see manifested in our upcoming product launches.”
Brady said defining the brand pillars is an important step forward for Lincoln.
“It really helps us capture the essence of what we’re trying to do to reinvent the brand and it enables us to focus on what’s most important to the clients,” he said. Communicating the brand pillars – both internally and externally – is a top priority.
“We want our employees as partners in understanding and embracing the brand pillars as the core of what we’re trying to deliver from a product and ownership standpoint,” he said. “The pillars also provide direction for us on how and what we want to communicate through advertising and dealer training. All of this centers us on what is important to the client, where we would like to differentiate ourselves and how we express that to the client.”