Lexus completes global marketing overhaul to ditch ‘jarring brand disparity’
Lexus has completed the rollout of a global marketing unit that it hopes will cut media costs, foster a consistent brand identity and set it apart from owner Toyota’s marketing.
The revamped model means global marketers will gather a year before a vehicle’s scheduled release date to plan product messaging, identify key communication channels and influencers as well as pick the best creative content. Further meetings are conducted once every quarter to hone the strategy until launch.
Each member of the global hub will relay the strategy to their regional teams as way of quickening best-practice transferred within the company. Regional teams will still be able to distil marketing strategies through a local lens but the changes aim to ensure localised efforts trumpet the same brand message. The results are evident in the new “Beyond Utility” creative for its NX range, which has been split into two core concepts to target younger buyers when traditionally there would have been one campaign for each region.
Previously, marketers in each country would have developed their own advertising and media plans as owner Toyota treated the Lexus business more like a sales channel than a brand. The process created a “disparate” brand premise across markets that could be “jarring” to consumers, Lexus said.
“This year you’ll start to see better consistency in the brand as the rest of the world becomes front and centre to our business’s growth”, a spokesman added.
It means agencies such as CHI & Partners and Dentsu are all given the same brief, while all internal teams will follow one global influencer and stakeholder programme. The structure also affects Lexus content produced in partnership with Milan Design Week and from its LStudio short film initiative with The Weinstein Company. Additionally, the revamp will ease the integration of its brand experience stores, which already exist in Tokyo and New York.
Lexus also plans to use the global marketing hub to thrash out a stronger social media strategy as it looks to overcome the implications of it being harder to surface organic content on Facebook and declining engagement rates on Twitter.
The spokesman adds: “The change will allow us to enter emerging channels in a quicker and more innovative way. With the upcoming changes to the way Facebook treats content through its Edgerank system and interaction levels of Twitter dropping, we’ll look at the role both play in the armoury of our social media channels. [It could mean] looking at whether we keep Facebook as more of a traditional advertising channel or become more visual in our content, which would mean a bigger role for Instagram.”
The change stems from the creation of Lexus International, which formed a senior management team that reported directly into Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda in 2010. It originally established separate enginereeing and R&D teams to Toyota but from 2012 began implementing elements of the marketing function including media planning and communications.
Lexus has focused on the US for a long period of time because the volume and spend has been there, the spokesman said.
He added: “With the creation of Lexus International, we’ve moved away from being an adjunct of Toyota. Having a consistent brand premise across the world is important to communicating that premise.”
Lexus becomes the latest in a growing list of companies overhauling their global marketing structures to deliver better efficiencies. Mondelez scrapped the CMO role earlier this month and plans to set global brand strategies globally letting regional teams localise them across all its markets from next year, for example.