ENGAGING BRAND LOYALISTS & BRIDGING PAST WITH PRESENT
Photography, written content, content editing, publishing strategy, creative direction.
For any storied brand embarking on a relaunch, there lies the challenge of bridging the past (especially if there are some less desirable parts) with the new approach. For Lincoln there was an extra challenge because the brand's most ardent fans did not welcome something new; they preferred to revert to the old. Our challenge was to bring them along with the brand relaunch in a way that respected their passion for what was, while also supporting the brand's goals for what points to focus on: the more human focus on design, craft, and engineering.
To bridge the gap, I developed a multi-year content series that I evolved with our learnings and opportunities. The intent was to appeal to heritage fans while also introducing the brand provenance to new audiences as a proof-point of evergreen brand values.
In 2013, our goal was to document the large number of historic Lincoln on the storied concours to appeal to the brand fans we were largely alienating with our relaunch, while also demonstrating to new audiences the provenance of the luxury brand and its ongoing dedication to thoughtful, understated design. And importantly, I was challenged to build the brand social channels with very little content on the "new" Lincoln, so this was a great content opportunity.
The Lincoln Motor Company was present at the famous vintage auto show, Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2013, there were four classes of Lincoln vehicles present, and each of these Lincolns were rare and extremely unique. The cars ranged from truly representative Lincolns such as the elegant and ultra-conservative 1930 Lincoln Model L Judkins Coupe, to the bold 1955 Indianapolis Boana Coupe, a bright orange one-off concept car. In addition to the beautifully designed nameplates, there were several historic cars, including the 1950 Presidential Limousine Dietrich Convertible that served as the presidential car to Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, along with an array of Ford family cars. I brought along Instagram photographers Sam Horine, Ben Heath, and Kyle Steed to document the experience. We use the visual content across all platforms, including Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and our long-form content blog, Lincoln Now.
The influential photographers also published across their feeds, leading their audiences to view more of the story on the Lincoln feed, which really help us to build our audience in those early days of the brand being present in social channels. What I realized after that first Concours was that we had access to the ultimate brand fans in these meetups, so for the following years I evolved the strategy.
In the two years immediately following the brand launch, I expanded the influencers and photographers we worked with to include Jared Chambers, Zach Bresnick and Chris Ozer, and 7 prominent design bloggers. As we continued to capture the experience through beautiful photography, I worked with my team of content creators (internal and hired influencers) to interview the owners and create heritage stories for brand fans and audiences of the Concours d'Elegance Pebble Beach.
We began to publish these stories about heritage vehicles at least once a month initially, and then weekly, coinciding with the #ThrowbackThursday conversation in social.
We continued this practice, meeting brand loyalists at various events outside of Pebble Beach and telling their stories, while honing in on the attention to design details shared by Lincolns throughout history as a way to demonstrate the brand's rich past in a way that reflected positively on the present.