From Portland, Ore., to Atlanta, from Arizona to Washington, D.C., love is in the air.
It's auto love, and it's a driving force behind some of the most elaborate and engaging marketing strategies in the industry today.
Across the country, automakers are leveraging owner gatherings and other communal experiences to build loyalty and a deeper connection between brands and their customers. In some cases, that connection is direct and personal, with representatives of the manufacturer on site, interacting with individual owners, taking feedback and sharing stories.
The formats are varied, and include road rallies, track days or speed-driving lessons, casual meet-ups and elaborate excursions.
Ideally, these efforts create a feeling, a memory, an experience that lasts longer than a 30-second TV spot or pop-up ad online.
And the goodwill keeps spreading.
"Owners turn into fans, fans turn into advocates and advocates really turn into evangelists," said Dino Bernacchi, marketing chief of Mazda North American Operations, on the importance of having face-to-face interactions with loyalists.
"Having the evangelism behind a brand is a wonderful thing."