Discovered by Porsche: the Art of Storytelling
In a digital world overflowing with content, Porsche's journey of storytelling is a beacon of innovation. Recognizing the challenge of capturing audience attention, the brand shifted from a product-focused approach to a compelling audience-centric strategy. Fueled by first-party data, Porsche found the elusive key to authentic audience relationships. The core of this transformation lies in creating timeless, high-quality content that resonates with cultural relevance, a path paved by their online magazine 'Discovered.' By navigating the challenges of balance, narrative control, and expanding beyond digital, Porsche's story showcases how brands can forge lasting connections and inspire others in the digital realm.
In today's digital landscape, content is everywhere. However, capturing your audience's attention has become a challenge. With an overflow of information vying for the spotlight, brands must adapt their strategies to stand out amidst the noise. Data has emerged as the most prized possession, holding the key to unlocking meaningful relationships with the audience. First-party data has taken precedence, offering invaluable insights into the preferences and behaviors of consumers. However, data alone is not enough; cultural relevance is the linchpin for establishing a genuine connection with the audience. Especially when faced with the task of engaging individuals who may not inherently express interest in a particular product, the question arises: how can brands forge lasting relationships with these audiences?
The answer lies in a transformative strategy, shifting from brand-centric content push to audience-centric content pull, from fast-paced content to timeless quality, and from short-lived sales to fostering long-term engagement. Embracing this change is vital for brands to thrive in an era where attention is scarce, but the potential for meaningful connections is boundless.
Recently Jasper Koek, formerly PR and Content manager at Porsche Nederland, shared his approach and dilemmas when setting out to attract new audiences for Porsche Nederland during a knowledge session for communication and brand professionals organized by Presspage. In an insightful presentation, Jasper shared his valuable learnings on the challenges faced, strategies adopted, and results achieved by the renowned automobile brand when trying to tap into new target audiences.
Changing Markets: Current State and Challenges
In his presentation, Jasper addressed the current state of content and marketing. He highlighted three crucial challenges faced by Porsche Nederland when they set out to reach new audiences with a product that these audiences intrinsically were not interested in, and build a relationship with them that could be capitalized on in due time.
· Content Overload: In a world of abundant content, capturing audience attention has become increasingly difficult. Standing out in the vast digital landscape requires content that truly resonates with the target audience.
· Data and Relationships: First-party data has become a prized possession for brands seeking to build lasting relationships with their customers, and essential for future-proof digital marketing.
· Cultural Relevance: Finding cultural relevance is the key to forging a meaningful connection with a new audience. Understanding the trends and topics that matter to the target market is crucial for crafting compelling content.
The culture that brands exude is more important than ever. Brands are not just there to sell products, they are supposed to show what they stand for. Porsche Nederland decided to choose a strategy based on consumer pull, instead of brand push. However, this could only work with timeless, qualitative content. If done right, it could lead to long-term engagement.
Engaging the Audience: Worth Your While
The strategic starting point for the new direction of Porsche Nederland’s content transformation was ‘Worth your while’: grabbing and continuously keeping the attention of the audience with content that is worth the effort. Jasper emphasized the importance of understanding your audience and finding common ground between their interests, brand identity, and remarkable content. If you know what is trending in your audience’s lives, you can tap into it by offering (sub)culturally relevant content, and thus build a lasting relationship.
Creating Scarcity in A World Of Abundance
Porsche Nederland's content strategy follows Google’s YouTube model Hero, Hub, Hygiene. This principle, also known as the ‘Three H's’, is a content strategy framework developed by Google to optimize online video content and engagement on YouTube. The principle categorizes content into three main types: ‘Hero’ content aims to create viral, high-impact (video) content, often tied to significant events or campaigns, to attract a massive audience. ‘Hub’ content refers to regularly scheduled, thematic content that retain and engage subscribers, encouraging them to return for fresh content. Lastly, ‘Hygiene’ content involves the creation of evergreen, search-friendly content optimized with relevant keywords to capture organic traffic. By implementing this strategy, content creators and brands can achieve a balance between reaching a broad audience, nurturing a dedicated community, and consistently delivering valuable, discoverable content on the platform.
Furthermore, Porsche's core values, including exclusivity, entrepreneurship, design, and performance, serve as the foundation for their storytelling approach. Recognizing the need for quality content that engages its audience in a world where people spend a significant portion of their day consuming media, the brand embraced the concept of 'slow content,' creating scarcity in a sea of content abundance. Scarce things are not easy to obtain, one needs to put in extra effort to discover them. You need to be willing to explore, in the spirit of founder Ferry Porsche: “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.”. This approach requires courage and a willingness to tell uncommon stories.
Discovering New Loyalty
Porsche Nederland launched 'Discovered,' an online lifestyle magazine showcasing qualitative content such as documentaries, podcasts, and interviews to reach new audiences. The brand adopted a publisher's mindset to strike a balance with editorial formulas and focused on relatable topics such as art, design, travel, music, and fashion. Local micro-influencers, like Eva Cleven, were leveraged to engage the target audience through podcasts. The content was directly aimed at the new audiences Porsche Nederland wished to engage.
By offering quality content that interests these audiences but is not (yet) directly connected with cars, Porsche Nederland took the courageous step to find common ground and build a relationship with these audiences before actually offering them content that is directly related to their product, luxury automobiles. Any content related to cars is generally presented through a surprisingly different approach, for example where a footwear designer or an architect are asked to reflect on old and new car designs.
Getting the show on the road
Implementing any new strategy or transformation inevitably comes with internal discussions and challenges. Porsche Nederland too encountered several dilemmas during the content strategy implementation of their new approach. One significant issue was the delicate balance between marketing and PR efforts. Porsche had to find the right equilibrium to tell their stories effectively while safeguarding the brand's reputation. Another crucial decision involved shifting focus from fast sales to long-term engagement. Recognizing the importance of building enduring customer relationships, Porsche Nederland made a strategic move towards fostering long-lasting connections.
Additionally, Porsche faced the challenge of catering to both their current, more traditional audience and attracting new segments without alienating either group. Striking this balance was essential to ensure the content's relevance and appeal, as well as the brand fit.
Traffic to Discovered is generated by leveraging earned, paid and owned media. While the campaign received decent exposure through earned media, mostly professional channels like Adformatie, owned media was most suitable to reach Porsche’s audiences. This way, Porsche can build their own community and control their data. More importantly, the brand completely controls the narrative and cautiously builds its brand image through lifestyle content.
This way, Porsche shifted its approach, leveraging owned data and storytelling competence, rather than solely relying on earned media through journalists. The results of the 'Discovered' platform were remarkable: a total of 9,119 users reached an average of 3.75 pages per session in 13,158 sessions. The long-term effect is not yet visible, the platform has only been live for 1.5 year now, but the numbers look promising for a niche brand like Porsche.
Porsche Nederland even managed to expand its content strategy beyond the digital realm, organizing events to engage potential subscribers. In his presentation, Jasper offered valuable takeaways for other organizations looking to enhance their content strategy in order to engage their (new) audiences:
· Thoroughly understand audience motivations: Identify your audience's motivations and pain points to craft relevant and engaging content. Start by understanding your audience through first-party data collection.
· Define your brand message: Clearly define your message and values as a brand in order to resonate with your target audience.
· Find the sweet spot: Strike the right balance between brand interests, remarkable content, and audience relevance.
Porsche Nederland's 'Discovered' platform exemplifies how a brand can navigate the challenges of the digital age by embracing slow content and leveraging first-party data. As Porsche Nederland continues its journey of engaging and building relationships with diverse audience segments, it sets an inspiring example for other brands seeking to make a mark in the digital landscape.