Lincoln Jazz Night
How might we transform an old-fashioned gas guzzler feel artsy to approach a new breed of potential luxury buyers?
The global Lincoln brand has been reinventing itself to become a world-class luxury brand with compelling vehicles and an exceptional, highly personal ownership experience to match. In particular, the All-New MKZ play was born to be a crucial role for Lincoln’s reinvention among young generations when it was officially launched in Korea in May, 2013. However, Lincoln brand used to be identified as an old-fashioned brand among Korean millennials and many customers believed that U.S.-brand cars are gas guzzlers. In 2013, Lincoln Korea had represented approximately 25 percent of Ford’s sluggish annual sales. Lincoln had to be a key part of Ford’s sales strategy in Korea and needed to change perception to effectively speak to a new breed of luxury buyers. Thus, the team requested to create a stronger brand identity to resonate with younger generations and make a growth engine for Lincoln Korea.
There is no better way to truly empathize and understand our friends’ desires and opinions on a given subject by asking questions directly. Interviewees included young entrepreneurs in various fields, freelancers, young professionals and graduate students. Based on the ethnographic research on targeted groups, which later named Urban Achievers – higher-income urban professionals with sophisticated tastes, key insights were identified as the following:
Urban Achiever’s gender ratio is 50:50
Urban Achiever tends to drink wine and hard liquor over beer
Urban Achiever enjoys occasional casual gatherings with friends and family
Urban Achiever actively engages with the arts, trendy performances to connect to their social groups
Based on the insights gathered, the following questions arose:
How might we building conversations that the Lincoln brand could start beyond talking about its products?
How might we consolidate Lincoln brand as a strong supporter of the arts to resonate well with Urban Achievers?
How might we generate massive online buzz for the All-New Lincoln MKZ as well as grant Urban Achievers a unique first-hand experience with the products?
As a first step, the Lincoln Korea’s first social media channel was launched to directly speak to target audiences in March 2013. By implementing an online series of monthly cultural events which invites selected loyal followers to the most trendy performances in Korea, the year-long campaign successfully raised awareness among social media followers and media channels. The monthly event was proved to be relevant to the Lincoln brand and helped solidify itself as a strong and avid supporter of the arts.
On top of that, on November 30th 2013, a first on-site event named the ‘Lincoln Jazz Night’ was held at Once in a Blue Moon, a one of the most famous jazz club in Korea, as a grand finale of series of the monthly cultural events in 2013. The event success- fully attracted a range of participants, including journalists, VIPs, celebrities and target customers. In addition to the main jazz concert led by the two top-tier female jazz musicians, a casual conversation session. The two jazz divas discussed their interpretation of the theme and ultimate music inspired by the All-New Lincoln MKZ. Hosting an event of this nature, under the Lincoln brand, was expected to create a strong association between Lincoln and the arts, and ultimately, position Lincoln as a cultural icon in Korea.
One of major purposes of the art-oriented campaign is to more effectively convey brand messages for Lincoln as a cultural and trendy icon. Thus, along with careful jazz musician and target audience selection, the event also focused heavily on visual communication design such as invitations, lucky draw coupons, posters, banners and so on. All decorative items maintained consistency in design, including trumpet-themed split wing grille with blue moon. In particular, attendees showed great interest in the LP-themed invitation and lucky draw coupons and it generated a lot of social buzz even after the event.
A lot of participants began to view Lincoln brand differently after the Lincoln Jazz Night 2013. Positive perception of Lincoln brand values and products in Korea are translated into strong sales momentum. Also, the Lincoln Jazz Night not only boosted interest in the All-New Lincoln MKZ, but has galvanized Korean drivers to consider Lincoln when making purchasing decisions.
Lastly, the Lincoln Jazz Night was well received by both internal and external stakeholders and became one of the biggest annual brand event since 2013. Moreover, as initially planned, the logo design has evolved based on each year’s overall concept.