Jaguar aims for emotional connection to consumers
David Pryor, Jaguar North America's new brand vice president, is stepping up marketing to portray the British brand as vivacious and exciting.
Since joining Jaguar nearly 15 months ago, Pryor, 38, has increased the brand's presence in social media and led the revamp of its jaguarusa.com consumer site.
Pryor was previously chief marketing officer for Porsche Cars North America, where he rose through the ranks for 13 years. Before that, he was an automotive consultant.
He spoke with Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko.
Q: Jaguar is repositioning itself as a small-volume luxury brand. How does your marketing convey that message?
A: The important thing is to communicate the emotional attraction of this brand, to hit on some of the heartstrings. It is a passionate and aspirational brand, and we have an incredible DNA and heritage. We want to bring them to life. So few understand what Jaguar is all about.
How do you know this?
We have done a lot of research on how consumers perceive this brand and products. The first comment is always favorable -- a connection to the first time they saw or rode in one. The challenge for us in those same focus groups is when they run out of things to say.
They don't understand the products or the current lineup of XF, XK and XJ. They do not understand how we have evolved in terms of quality and driving experience. Or worse, they have misperceptions.
What is the biggest misperception?
Quality is the biggest one, but we were No. 2 in the [J.D. Power and Associates] Initial Quality Study. It will take time to change misperceptions.
Now that Jaguar is getting all-wheel drive for the XJ and XF, will you market that?
We are a little late to the party. Globally, Jaguar in the U.S. will be taking more than 80 percent of the volume of all-wheel-drive vehicles. It is so critical for our success here. In the case of the XF, 50 percent of the market in that segment is all-wheel drive and in the XJ it is approaching 40 percent. We have a big challenge in terms of marketing awd, getting that message out that we have it and that we have done it in a very Jaguar way.
What do you mean by that?
That has been part of the reason it has taken us time to bring it to market. We did not want to lose the driving qualities of a Jaguar -- the performance, the agility and the way the car feels light on its feet.
Will you promote that on TV?
We had to go to Chile last week to shoot the TV spot -- we had to find snow. We were shooting XF and XJ in the snow. We will have an exciting TV spot that will likely debut in November. We will have a big presence in digital, print and social media. We will be rolling all-wheel drive into our "Alive" driving tour, and we will have some demonstration that will highlight its capabilities.
Is the addition of small and more economic engines -- the four-cylinder and the V-6 in the XF and the six-cylinder in the XJ for the 2013 model year -- an element that you must feature in upcoming commercials?
Absolutely, although awd is the umbrella of this launch. We are changing so much under the skin that we had to pick one element.
Will you continue to heavily use TV in 2013 as you have this year? What percentage of your marketing budget goes to TV?
We will use television strategically. There are certain times with a product launch like awd where we need to get the message out quickly and to a broad audience and we are trying to drive them into the top of the funnel. In terms of overall marketing mix, it is in the 20 to 30 percent range. We have been watching Web traffic -- we can watch on a second-by-second basis if we want to -- and we see when the spot airs people are sitting on their couch and going to the Web site and sharing in social space. TV is the trigger to generate further exploration of the brand.
What percentages of your budget go to digital, print, radio and TV?
We invest heavily in digital. It is the biggest portion and from 30 to 50 percent, depending on the specific content. That is where car shoppers are today. Print is another 20 percent. Radio is relatively small. We do not do national radio but do radio at the local and regional level. TV is about 30 percent on average.
Has that spending shifted since you arrived?
Yes, it shifted quite a bit. We have increased our investment in digital and social on the production side, not media. We have dialed back some reliance on print; it is still an important part of what we do. TV is a lot more balanced now, as well. Before, we were heavily relying on TV, but what we were missing is the destination for all of those people to go to from TV.
You came from Porsche, a company that changed its buyer base and image with the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan. What did you take to Jaguar?
There are a lot of parallels between the two brands. Both have passionate fan bases, an incredible heritage and cars that are incredible to drive and are truly unique. What we did at Porsche was tell the story of the brand. That is what we need to do with Jaguar.
How will you launch the F-Type sports car?
It is the approach of storytelling and getting the word out on what has gone into that car and what it is all about and evoking that emotion and passion. It is a game-changer for Jaguar, much the way other sports cars have been for other brands.
You launch in the first half of next year?
Yes, and the marketing will hit then as well. What we have done so far has been press driven, and we will have the big launch in Paris. Once we show the car, we can increase that cadence and get that conversation and stories going.
You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at email@example.com. -- Follow Diana on