Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Is Scion Selling Cars or a Lifestyle?

I am a "CarGuy" by heritage, so things automotive get my attention.

.........And Scion's success has me wondering.

Is it the cars? Or is it the lifestyle brand connection they created with their audience?

I got into the auto industry years ago, not because of the engineering [although, if you know me you know I like the technology of going fast] but, because of the marketing.

I remember how families had bonds to brands.......How the first Mustang clicked..........How VW ads worked with their audience........How racing really used to sell cars! Everyone seemed to have a opinion about cars and an affection for their favorite. How did the industry get that done, I wondered? I needed to know and I wanted to be a part of it.

So, in 1977, I signed up......and went to work for Ford.

Last year, I had the chance to reconnect with some old car friends at the NY Auto Show media days and Scion was a "topic du jour".

Competition still looks at Scion as an It's not the "real" auto industry. .....Trends come and go. .....Industry hits are notoriously cyclical. .....And buyers are fickle, so this is the 'flavor of the month'.

.......And I personally don't think the first edition Scion cars are all that profound [I do, however, like the new t2B concept.......seen above].

But, I see how Scion has authentically connected with its young target audience with lifestyle relevance and respect. ........And I think that goes a long way towards why buyers are rewarding Scion with car sales.

.........So, then the marketer in me says, "You know, if Scion means authentic hip and cool, then there could be Scion fashion, food, coffee shops, phones, music, movie, sports, podcasts, broadcasts.........."

Without diluting the brand.

I think Scion built itself a brand with strong "lifestyle attributes". They just happen to sell cars with the customer affinity they created.......they could probably sell anything to their loyal following right about now.

What do you think? Did Scion build a Lifestyle Brand or a Car Company?

..........And why can't so many others seem to build either!?