Automakers are building out spaces that immerse visitors in the brand and its ethos. “What’s exploded is these brand-specific, deeper experiences that are much more controlled,” observes Ian Beavis, chief strategy officer at LA-based automotive consulting agency AMCI, pointing to Porsche expanding its Experience Centres to North America.
“Every aspect is focused on getting the right message, impression to the right customer in the right way – it is carefully choreographed and tailored to each participant’s needs and desires. The brand lift from these events is extraordinary.”
Porsche opened a $100m Experience Centre in May 2015 at its new Atlanta headquarters, attracting 30,000 visitors in the first year. A 53-acre location – also the new headquarters of Porsche Motorsport North America – is set to open later this year in the Los Angeles area. Atlanta visitors can go on guided tours or book a Porsche driving experience, which starts at $300. Porsche plans to install cameras in the cars to further encourage posting to social media.
“They wanted to find a way to have people experience the brand first-hand and make it more accessible without losing its exclusivity,” says Beavis. “It’s a completely controlled environment – there’s a restaurant, all sorts of merchandise – that gets you deeper into the brand and its philosophy.”