MINI seems to have a solid base for surviving the next 50 years. I believe they still need to keep their fans engaged through social media platforms or marketing moves such as the NOT NORMAL campaign. They do however need to find a way to approach niche audiences since it looks like the interests of the people will keep dividing up and breaking into smaller groups.
They might benefit from launching a new car model that will keep the basic values of the previous MINIs but bring the modern ideas and necessities together. In my opinion, MINI will have to remain playful and approachable in their designs and marketing campaigns. However, since globalization is making the world smaller and more accessible, MINI should consider expanding to the new markets. For example, in order to push their products to the African market, MINI will have to rethink their approach and adjust it to a completely different market culture. I see that being accomplished with putting emphasis on the size, cost and marketing strategies.
Developing countries might not utilize social media as much as the Western culture, and that could be a challenge for the MINI. However, they could overcome that obstacle by organizing more “live” events where people could actually see or experience the drive in the MINI. Word of mouth is another form of marketing that could easily be applied to the new market in the developing world. Since developing countries do have different road conditions, MINI will have to focus on improving and adjusting the actual driving features before the marketing and sales plans.
MINI is a brand that did not have any major controversies or crisis.
The consistence in design, economy and size of the car seem to have always been elements that kept MINI on track. However, by researching about MINI and their marketing strategies I can picture a certain crisis and how MINI would respond to it.
The crisis would probably revolve around the size of the backspace, cost of maintenance and especially safety of the cars. If MINI started getting constant critiques about those features, I believe MINI would respond quickly and creatively – utilizing their social media. For example, being a fun brand with a personality, MINI would use their (so far) excellent sense of humor and create videos to respond to criticism. I could easily picture a thirty-second video where they show a bunch of people fitting in the MINI car. They could also respond to the safety issues by showing a MINI hitting a building that falls apart and both the car and the passengers stay intact. Or for example, they could organize a social media contest where fans think of the funny slogan for MINI and the winner gets a free car maintenance service for a year.
I see MINI recovering from controversy/crisis by actively engaging their fans and communicating with them regarding those issues. They are utilizing their social media to the maximum, so social media platforms would probably be a medium through which MINI would respond. Staying up to date with trends, communicating with fans directly and using their humor and creativity will stay a part of MINI’s marketing strategies – therefore I believe their fans would easily get over any controversy that might occur in the future.
MINI is omnipresent on social media platforms.
What’s so interesting about this brand’s social media utilization is the focus on the personality rather than sales. This means that MINI launches amazing social media campaigns celebrating the actual MINI fans (so called “MINIacs”) and their own contributions. For example, in 2013 MINI turned their cars into digital billboards throughout the campaign called MINI Art Beat. Vines, tweets, Instagrams from followers were displayed on the cars that drove the streets in London for two weeks. Therefore, if you were a MINI fan on any social media platform and you submitted a comment, video or a photo, you could have seen your work on a digital billboard MINI was turned into. Pretty awesome, isn’t it?
Here’s a video to it:
Another example of how social media presence is mostly focused on the fun and personal part of MINIacs is the #asktheNEWMINI campaign. A few months ago MINI started this campaign on Instagram. Followers were to ask the new MINI Cooper model a question, and the most interesting questions got an answer – in an impressively creative short video! I find this marketing move brilliant because in the video MINI would post they would feature a fan and his question – but the video is targeted for the broad and diverse MINI audience. All of this was done by utilizing social media platforms together (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), maximizing the number of followers and reestablishing their “love brand.”
Best of #asktheNEWMINI:
The measurement of their success is definitely the NOT NORMAL campaign, about which I wrote in the previous post. They managed to gain almost 30, 000 new fans and followers, tripling the Twitter following and it resulted in 11% of dealership deals for only a few months of the campaign! Impressive isn’t it? Engaging the audience and following social media trends seems to be a way to go!
MINI started off as a car that is made for everyone. Its price, size and the fun look were suitable for the ‘60s spirit. However, during the ‘60s, racing became very popular in Europe and that is when MINI creates an image of a winning race car by taking three winning titles throughout that decade. From then on, MINI became not only a practical car that saves money and space – but it also built up its image on the popularity it got for its iconic design. Therefore it fully became a car for everyone – rock stars, racers, milkmen, bankers, youth etc.
Nowadays MINI competes at the market with great performance, fun and adventurous look and most importantly – by allowing drivers to customize their own MINI. Customers in today’s consumerist world love to get more than a product – they want to get the experience.
MINI brand responded impressively to their target buyers by launching some of the most engaging and creative marketing campaigns. For example, in September 2013, MINI launched a campaign called NOT NORMAL, portraying the special and “not normal” relationship MINI drivers have with their cars. They put up ads on billboards showing the personal MINI driving experience. They also printed various messages for their drivers to read, leading them to a couple of MINI garages where they would wash people’s cars or give out snacks. The message they were sending is that there is nothing normal about MINI – because their drivers are not just average people. And who doesn’t want to be extraordinary?
The brand has kept consistency in its design, message of fun and customization and that is why MINI still has great response to its marketing moves.
Link to NOT NORMAL campaign video:
They say that great ideas often come out of a great pressure and deadlines. Post-World War II era was certainly stressful. In 1959, Great Britain was hit by a strong economic crisis. Fuel prices went up and there was a need for a change in the car industry. People of England now needed a fuel efficient, smaller and more economic vehicle. Therefore, Alec Issigonis, an engineer of the Morris Company, designed an ultra-efficient car that was about to win England and then the rest of the world – The Mini.
So from a tiny car made to be economic and compact, Mini is now exported from UK to over 80 markets worldwide, representing a fun and a modern vehicle.
The evolution of a Mini brand is intriguing because it started off as a car that was affordable and compact and it transformed into a sports car and a status symbol. The values that are being promoted via the brand such as “this car is for everyone” or “this car is unique and fun” are influencing the masses all over the world, becoming almost a phenomenon.
What I noticed about the Mini cars is that they appeal to all generations with different aspects – from economic to stylistic parts. They tend to portray Mini as a cool vehicle, not specifically targeting either gender. The values iconic branding is conveying are being spread by consistency in their presence.
By embedding the messages and feelings of “cool” or “modern” or “economic” into every marketing move related to Mini, people will start to associate the brand with those values. That is what develops a brand and makes it iconic, memorable. And that is a great part of the research I will conduct using the Mini brand as a focus.
Photo source: http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1701729_1701728_1701713,00.html