As communicators for tech companies, we’re often positioning brands, products and services as “better:”auto_pov - FINAL_Page_1_border

  • “Product v.2 is better than v.1.”
  • “Business A delivers better ROI than Business B.”
  • “Research shows customers have a better experience with our company.”

In a really big nutshell, it’s an exercise in comparing and contrasting competitive offerings. Less common and infinitely more complex? Comparing and contrasting an industry…with itself.

Airfoil’s latest POV, “Reinventing Automotive Communications,” acknowledges that this is a formidable challenge for automotive communicators on the heels of the Great Recession. Not only is the auto industry inarguably “better” as it emerges from a deeply troubled era, but it’s fundamentally different.

But consumers, analysts and shareholders cannot be left to draw conclusions that New Auto is just an improved version of its historical self – to justify sales and investments they must believe in the industry’s philosophical, operational and creative transformation.

The convergence of technology and automotive is at the heart of this transformation, but communicators need to be skilled in telling this story of essential change. With our Motor City roots and love for technology storytelling, we’re in a unique position to propose four ways automotive communicators must do things differently, too:

  1. Cross the aisle. Corporate communications and marketing must seek partnership and synergies on a scale equal to that pursued by developers of platforms for vehicles and for technologies. Communications should be partnering with marketing much more extensively and deeply, even working together on advertising to tell a consistent global story with unified themes and messages.
  2. Write new characters into their stories. OEMs have become more focused on reinventing their vehicles and their structure, shifting the burden of R&D and proprietary technologies to suppliers, who in turn are developing new systems with other partners who can transfer skills from materials science, consumer products and social media. All of this makes for great story telling and infinite opportunities to communicate with media, consumers and employees.
  3. Infuse brands with social responsibility. Automotive companies can learn much from companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook who not only have pursued their own community social responsibility campaigns to give back to the places where they live and work but also have incorporated the “greater good” into their company vision, strategy and brand.
  4. Know tech, like they know cars. Communicators and marketers alike should become knowledgeable about trends in computing technology and use those trends to burnish the character of the brand’s innovation. Four overriding trends that are especially important to acknowledge and employ are mobility, sensors, cloud computing and big data.

The winners in this new generation of the automotive business will be those who prove that they are not just better, but truly different. Download “Reinventing Automotive Communications” for more perspective on how communicators can leverage auto-tech convergence to tell a different, better story about the industry.




Lisa Vallee-Smith is the Co-CEO of Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Detroit, London and Hong Kong. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LValleeSmith