As a long-time Honda brand loyalist, I was drawn to the story of Million Mile Joe LoCicero.
LoCicero’s meticulous auto maintenance and Honda’s well-documented reliability allowed him to achieve a remarkable feat for his 1990 pre-owned Accord — returning the odometer to zero after “True Blue” passed 999,999 miles.
Honda surprised the Maine resident, who had anticipated a small news conference, with a parade and a new vehicle to celebrate.
Case study trend
Advertising Age reports that Honda’s sharing of LoCicero’s story is part of a marketing trend — bringing case studies to life. In fact, “. . .celebrating the experiences of one special consumer and making him or her the centerpiece of marketing” shows the power of storytelling to make a brand real.
This approach goes beyond the traditional customer testimonial, instead looking for ways to encourage audience sharing, often through social media. For example, Honda launched a Facebook site where consumers could follow LoCicero’s journey and cheer him on. LoCicero told Ad Age that Honda benefited by “striking a more personal connection.”
In addition to Honda, other companies illustrating the case study marketing trend are Kia and British Airways. You’ll find their case studies here.
Edelman’s 2011 Trust Barometer, a yearly survey by the public relations firm, showed what now matters most for global consumers in determining a corporate reputation is high quality products or services. Quality edges out other important factors like organizational transparency, trust and employee welfare.
Honda’s campaign was a great way to showcase the high quality and reliability of their vehicles. Perhaps equally as compelling was the fact that Honda was the brand of choice for LoCicero, an auto mechanic for 18 years before becoming a vehicle inspector. The man knows his cars.
For consumers, the takeaway is that a well-maintained Honda is a ride you can count on.
For communicators, the takeaway is that consumers want real, genuine stories.
Have you spotted an example of another brand that has focused on this trend? Please share in the comments section below.
You might also enjoy Want Your Messages to Stick? Storytelling Can Help