Celerity is known for being a place where people with disruptive ideas about enterprise transformation can connect. Recently, I hosted Brandon Baldassari, the Head of Sales for Jaguar Land Rover, North America and Gabryel Cosanni, whose resume includes customer experience, CRM, and data integration for brands like BMW, Disney Universal, Silver Sea Cruises, and Darden Restaurants. Brandon and Gabryel are both deeply respected leaders with comprehensive perspective about trends in the automotive industry and I sat down to ask them about innovative disruption in an industry that is doing more with less, during rapid transformation.
We believe that organizations that lead during uncertainty and change are those that are responsive, which means that they are attuned to customer experience and feedback, operationally optimized with intelligent automation and process excellence, and able to deploy rapidly with organizational Agility.
TL;DR Celerity works with leaders and, in this case, we have some crackerjack leaders from automotive share their insights.
To set the stage, here’s an observation about the automotive industry from McKinsey: Today’s economies are dramatically changing, triggered by development in emerging markets, the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies, and changing consumer preferences around ownership. Digitization, increasing automation, and new business models have revolutionized other industries, and automotive will be no exception. These forces are giving rise to four disruptive technology-driven trends in the automotive sector: diverse mobility, autonomous driving, electrification, and connectivity.
Disruption from the Global Pandemic
Brandon mentioned that, “last year was absolutely crazy.” Jaguar Land Rover shut down factories and froze spending for several months, but in May of 2020 auto sales started to accelerate. At the time that JLR needed to advertise, they were also faced with a competitive media buying field with the 2020 Presidential election. Even in this environment, the stock market continued to grow and demand for luxury auto sales continued to grow along with the S&P 500.
Today, used car and truck prices are up 45% and demand exceeds supply. Gabryel mentioned that new audience requires a renewed focus on customer experience and demand increases. Buyers are increasingly buying online and are looking for data-informed convenience. For Jaguar Land Rover, retailers focused on contactless handovers and contactless sales, which meant reinventing digital retail, even though automotive transactions are complex and affected by factors like trade-ins, credit score, and financing terms.
Innovation in the Automotive Industry
Prioritization of investments is where you see innovation applied to OEMs. Automotive manufacturers have venture capital funds to invest in innovation, so that they don’t have to bear the risk of developing innovation in-house. Partnering and acquisition with startups is the path that most large manufacturers follow when it comes to integration innovation. When there’s an innovation in one area (for example, online buying process disrupted by Carvana), it puts pressure on other areas like the new car buying experience. Either way, partnership is a key part of the automotive ecosystem.
Connecting Data and Customer Experience
Brandon addressed connected car data, which is currently being used to track service messaging and service marketing, but they’re still in the early stages of using connected car data to change go-to-market strategy. He mentioned Automotive Mastermind as a dealer tool that sits on a dealer’s data management system and connects to other platforms, allowing buyer behavior prediction.
One-size-fits-all marketing no longer provides the buyer engagement on insight into customer service. Service shops can now work with predictive data and as data is shared more openly, brands can better serve customers and build brand loyalty.
Automotive Disruptors: EV
We addressed EV challengers like Tesla and Rivian. Tesla has a combine market cap of the world’s top 7 auto companies and two of the top-selling luxury vehicles right now with the Model Y and the Model 3. EVs are no longer niche brands and as large fleets switch to EV, we will see a cascade back through the dealer service network and through charging stations and gas stations.
Gabryel pointed out that Tesla has “a whole nother halo” of brand loyalty and forgiveness from customers. As EVs are more widely adopted, there are still issues to solve like service at scale, and expansion of charging options. A lot of work has been done about “range anxiety,” but Tesla’s tracking of the supercharger network has shown that EV owners are relatively accustomed to charging their vehicles overnight, which has lessened the burden on public infrastructure.
And this brought us back full circle to data, and to the permissions that drivers grant to automotive manufacturers and transportation infrastructure providers. Responsive enterprises ingest data, analyze it, and derive insights from that data.
Data: The Impact of Leveraging Data
Whether it’s automotive or any other industry, understanding the customer journey and getting the touchpoints with the customer right from start to finish is critical. In the automotive journey, the buying process is a relatively small part of overall ownership and analyzing data can lead to continuous improvement in customer engagement.
The automotive industry is over 100 years old and is operationally efficient, but there are incremental gains and improvement that come from a data revolution. Jaguar Land Rover gave every single employee access to Tableau last year, which allowed better visualization and analysis of data from all levels of the organization.
Federal Gas Tax & Autonomous Cars
And what happens with the federal gas tax when EVs start to dominate? A road use tax has been proposed, and with data syncing to the cloud, that data can be analyzed to assess road use.
When I asked what Brandon and Gabryel are most excited about, autonomous vehicles are at the top of that list. There are already autonomous vehicle pilots in place and when you consider cost of transport, drivers are one of the most costly elements. There are a lot of challenges with autonomous vehicles, but there are a ton of opportunities to eliminate all the frustrations of driving (speeding, congestion, drunk driving, road rage).
Beyond connected cars, creating efficiency and connectivity between vehicles that should lead to safety improvements. These advancements come from deriving insights from data and from being responsive to customer feedback.
It was such a delight to learn more about innovation in the automotive industry and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to pop into the replay to learn directly from Brandon and Gabryel.
Watch the full episode
Tune in to the full interview below to hear more from Brandon and Gabryel about their organizations’ ongoing digital transformation. And don’t forget to follow Celerity’s LinkedIn page to find out about upcoming LinkedIn LIVE interviews.
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