Lexus:  Reinventing An Icon


Situation

Lexus became the #1 US luxury car in the 1980's by targeting US Baby Boomers with an unparalleled level of customer service. The vehicles had always been made with the promise of "The Pursuit of Perfection." But by 2014, the brand's median age had climbed to 70. It desperately needed to connect with a new generation. 

Complication

The Lexus organization was quite proud of having done the impossible -- entering the US luxury car market and climbing past Mercedes and BMW to become #1.  Many of its leaders were understandably wary of change:  why mess with success?

Truth

Through research (see methodologies below) we learned that well-off Millennials have little desire to visit a car dealership. Thus Lexus' positioning around customer service was simply not very relevant. For them luxury has evolved:  from being about expensive "things" (1990s) to being about meaningful experieces (2000s) to being about "peak experiences" that let them express & share their individuality.  These are experiences that have 'bragging rights," especially on social media.  Our imperative became clear:  Associate Lexus with this new definition of luxury.

 Source: Luxury "Trend Trek," Luxury Expert Salons, Global Qualitative Research

Source: Luxury "Trend Trek," Luxury Expert Salons, Global Qualitative Research

Idea

Experience Amazing:  At Lexus, our vision is to create amazing experiences by transforming function to emotion, performance to passion and technology to imagination. 

Creative Expression

From:  The Pursuit of Perfection -- previous campaign and line

To:  Experience Amazing -- new campaign and line

Results:

  • The brand has taken huge strides to deliver experiences with a 'wow factor" -- chief among these is Lexus Intersect, which reimagines the dealership experience. See Photo below of Lexus Intersect soon to open in NYC's meat-packing district, and video of the opening of Intersect in Dubai.
  • New communication takes the brand in a much more visceral and exeriential direction -- see brand's 2017 Super Bowl ad below (Chi & Partners.)

My Role

Led the pich to win the Lexus repositioning assignment for Y&R's BAV Consulting; designed the strategic exploratory and led all aspects of it.  

What We Did/How Got There

  • Brand Archetype Analysis with screen-writer Stephen Fischer
  • Custom BAV quant study
  • Custom quant segmentation study, identification of “Aspirational Consumer Mindset”
  • Lexus stakeholder Interviews
  • Trends deep dive & luxury expert “salons” to define ‘new luxury’
  • "Trend Trek" with Lexus senior management to experience cutting edge luxury experiences
  • Concept development (partnered with Berlin Cameron to create video-concepts.)
  • 8 Focus Groups USA, 16 Globally (UK, Russia, China, Japan)
  • 15 Ethnographies in USA
  • Client workshop and board presentation.

Client

Jill Dittrick, SVP Marketing, Lexus

Lexus 2017 Super Bowl Spot Introducing New Brand Positioning and Tagline.