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Branding Lessons Learned from the AMG Driver Experience

Everyone is exposed to branding every day. Iconic brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola do an excellent job getting into our brains every day that we need to use their products.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in the AMG driver experience at the Mount Panorama motor racing circuit in Bathurst New South Wales. In this story, I will outline the branding messages that I received during the entire experience. Enjoyable as the cars were to drive around an iconic race circuit, a consistent brand message has been etched into my brain and clearly this was their intent.

It all started with an invitation some six weeks ago to participate in an “Invitation only” driving event at one of the world’s most daunting motor racing circuits –  Mount Panorama in Bathurst NSW. Regularly compared to the Nurburgring in Germany, Mount Panorama is 6.2 km of sheer driving Hell!www.r6digital.com.au

Plenty of racers have crashed and died at this circuit. Strangely enough this is the attraction to many and it was difficult for me to say no to attending and participating.

After acceptance, An information kit arrived, containing all of the details I need for the day including and AMG luggage tag for my trip. First touch point. Regular emails were sent by Mercedes-Benz and AMG confirming all the details with a requirement to be at the motor racing circuit at 4 PM on the day prior to the day’s activities.

When we arrived at the motel with the entire front of the motel being adorned in AMG frosted striping providing branding excellence to the front of the building. This carried through to all of the glass areas in the entire motel including the lifts and restaurants on every floor. A reinforcing touch point everywhere.www.r6digital.com.au

All of the artwork in the motel was removed and replaced with AMG photographs. A check-in booth had been set up in the foyer where the attendees attended to the check-in procedure.

The next touch point was your room key. Black AMG key specifically coded for the day. On entering the room, and AMG video was playing on the television to get your attention and excitement to build, AMG soap and bottled water adding to the ambience.

After check-in, I took the opportunity to have a look out through the panoramic windows the track is adjacent to the motel. Surprisingly most of the major track signage had been replaced with AMG driving performance signage. This would have cost an absolute fortune.

Dinner was soon upon us and a special dinner had been planned by AMG on the seventh floor of the motel, overlooking the track. The room was adorned with AMG memorabilia and signage as you would expect. Yet again another touch point.

After the entrée, everyone attending was ushered over to the panoramic windows to look over the track in the total darkness, where once the lights were dimmed, we were all treated to a stunning light show lighting up the entire pits of the racetrack capped off by AMG outline cars in lasers racing down the track to a stunning soundtrack. To top off the light show the stunning AMG logo was projected onto Mount panorama it self and Mercedes-Benz logo was projected onto the entire motel from outside leaving no one in doubt in the town of Bathurst as to who was using the Mount panorama circuit.

During the dinner, AMG dignitaries were introduced, including Mick Doohan, Mercedes  brand ambassador and former world motorbike champion, John Borghetti, the CEO of virgin airlines and Berndt Schneider, German touring car champion.

I have attended a similar drive days from other manufacturers and I fully expected there to be around 7 to 10 instructors and about 15 cars for the assembled attendees on each day.

AMG announced that they had 52 instructors and 63 cars for the experience the next day. That was the next touch point – exceeding my expectation by a lot.IMG_2268

The next day dawned wet and cold and I was certainly concerned about driving around one of the most dangerous racetracks in the world at speed in a car that I was not familiar with. At 7:30am we were all whisked over to the race track for a drivers briefing in the AMG lounge, a lavish room made up of several pit garages with AMG signage everywhere: the next touch point.

After the drivers briefing by the chief instructor Peter Hackett, attendees moved out onto the racing circuit into four separate sections for morning high speed runs at sections of the circuit, each one suitably AMG marketed and signed. A continuing touch point.

Lunchtime soon rolled up and a fantastic meal was provided again are the AMG team overlooking the track in the corporate area in the pit complex, suitably adorned with AMG marketing materials and paraphernalia. Interestingly this is where the AMG team mingled with individuals understanding what cars they drive and how they were enjoying the experience so far. A personal touch point.

The afternoon was left for the main game: high-speed laps around this iconic track. This is where all of the talk finished and the action started, each attendee getting the opportunity to drive multiple times in each of the AMG models at up to 250kph, reinforcing the brand and delivering a thrill of a lifetime. A surreal touch point.IMG_2332

The day soon ended and we were all transferred back to the motel to return home.

Since attending, I have been sent to emailed by Mercedes-Benz. Wonder thank me for attendance for the day with the opportunity of completing a survey. Yet another touch point.

Today, I received an email outlining where I can download the professional photographs taken during the day and advising me that a professional video of the day has been produced and will be available in a couple of weeks.

In summary the overall message is this. Branding your product needs to start with the very first communication with your customer and it needs to continue right through the experience of them doing business with you and it needs to continue after they have done business with you.

This has been an experience I’m not going to forget easily – AMG have done a superb job at welding their brand into my brain – the clear message was one of marketing slickness and professionalism which can be emulated by others.

There is a clear opportunity to understand what AMG have done to take points from the day and use these points to ensure that your brand is as good as it can be and you touch customers as well as AMG have.

If you would like to talk with the experts at R6 Digital about how you could increase your brand awareness and brand integration to your products, please contact us.