#CX2016: How luxury car maker Aston Martin approaches brand storytelling

Luxury brands face an interesting challenge - how can a firm remain desirable while also catering to fans who cannot buy its products?

Speaking at Customer Focus Live 2016, Aston Martin's director of global marketing and communications Simon Sproule explained his firm's unique position: it is 103 years old but has only manufactured 80,000 cars in that time.

This means it has a special relationship with its customers, who in turn have their own unique expectations of the iconic British brand, even down to details like coming to its factories to see their cars being built by hand and meeting those doing the job.

First impressions matter a lot to Aston Martin, Sproule said, because many customers will only ever buy one vehicle.

“On the luxury side it’s very much about this business of one,” he said. “If you’re buying one of those cars, you want to have the CEO of the company on speed dial. You expect that.

“Customers want to have a relationship with us as a factory. It’s about going beyond that product and bringing in the whole service experience.”

Sproule gave the example of the firm’s Aston Martin on Ice events, where fans can pay to drive its cars on a frozen lake – a luxury not everybody can afford.

“But that’s the whole point of luxury,” he said. “It’s about those special experiences – giving you those memories, giving you those experiences.”

Customers also have the opportunity to personalise their cars with bespoke features and colours. One even had his car painted in the same green as his Lamborghini, Sproule said.

And there are also special events for customers who buy some of the firm’s most expensive cars, which can sell for more than £1 million each.

“For these customers specifically we have a number of track days around the world,” Sproule said. “We have professional drivers there, because 800 horsepower requires some tuition, and some drivers are better than others.”

All of this helps to create desirability as a luxury brand, Sproule said, but it is also important to use storytelling to engage with fans who might not ever acquire the wealth required to buy one of its cars.

“That could be through James Bond, or motor racing,” he said. “And being friendly is okay… The last thing we want is to make people feel uncomfortable. We want them to be able to come into the showroom and hang out with us, or come on the factory tour.”

Click here to catch up on the rest of our Customer Focus Live 2016 coverage.


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