UP redefines car audio vertical, originating new category around digital lifestyle.
My car is my shrine.
Localized brand Mobile West came to us with the proposition to aid them in driving growth to a multi-location regional business model with aspirations to eventually scale to a national footprint. The engagement began with a deep analysis of the mobile audio industry as a whole and why such a great portion of the industry was largely made up of small, privately owned companies with little to no larger scaled entities. Our aim was to uncover and answer these challenges in order to properly position Mobile West to break free of the characteristics there were confining their potential for growth.
Our discoveries revealed a common dynamic, which routinely sets itself up in verticals that grow out of practitioners who left a former employer in their respective industry to launch out on their own.
1. A vicious cycle was at the center of it all and a perpetuation of disgruntled employees.
2. Employees were routinely disgruntled because they worked for ownership that was not suited to the task of being business owners, these business owners, having been once before equally disgruntled employees who ran out of employers to work for in their respective locale.
3. Lack of business acumen, vision and drive for growth amongst owners and managers, as well as a poor talent pool were perpetuating hostile work environments, driving routine financial crises, negative customer experiences and driving high churn in both customers and employees.
4. Unstructured, unsuitable training, lack of opportunity for personal growth amongst
employees, long hours and toxic work environments were all deemed contributing factors as well.
5. The afore listed conditions led the mobile audio space as a whole to become extremely fragmented, but the problems did not stop there. The industry suffered almost as much from fragmentation as polarization. The total market universe for mobile audio cleanly broke along the line of cost versus design in one direction and selection versus expertise in the other and due to lack of scale few companies were effectively bridging the gap.
In a recent consumer reports poll, disposable income spend amongst purchases in the categories of leisure and comfort items (including mobile audio) is up as much as 17% over the past two years. This is not an anomaly, but rather indicative of spending behaviors in a volatile and uncertain economic situation.
When consumers are stressed about financial prospects, more dollars tend to be diverted to comfort item purchases. This includes eating out, movies and other forms of entertainment and seemingly, a willingness to spend larger percentages of income in personal technology which includes both home and mobile entertainment.
In connection with an apparent increase in spend in the category as a whole, the market ceiling for mobile audio continues to raise as millennials enter the work force in increasing numbers.
This is in part due to millennials general acceptance of technology as a central integrated component of their daily lives, but also that as mobile audio solutions become ever more sophisticated and integrated with
our other digital experiences, they become, in part, a de-facto investment, thought of much as one already does the average smart phone. What does this mean for mobile audio and the accepted segment differentials?
Apart from the clear indicator that the total market ceiling was raising at an exponential rate, the trend of increasing desire for design integration and cost becoming a less weighty factor in determining end solutions was all fueling an equalization in total segment growth around a design centered trigger.
Industry knowledge in hand, we had to determine where the mobile audio sweet spot was.
Firstly, we knew it was not branding across both segments (those shopping price and selection, and service and expertise), but rather the correct approach lived in becoming a catalyst for change in a vertical that was already in motion.
It existed where the service model could brand itself beyond the individual, extending relatable value to the growing trend in integrated systems consultation, so that value and cost association could become tangible investments and a natural mode of thought across the entire mobile audio audience universe. In short, our aim was to collapse the void between cost driven and design driven audiences, creating one new audience, aligned with the natural mind-set trajectory on individualized technology solutions.
Through this approach to the market we would disrupt the toxic cultural paradigm within car audio, reinventing everything from training protocols and stewardship in leadership to customer lifecycle engagment.
Make every customer's
vehicle their favorite
place to be.
Put the consumer in the driver seat
Today we are totally untethered, on the go and yet fully connected. Our car is not just a part of our digital universe, it's at the center of it.
My car is my
Manifesto — When the automobile was born it became the central embodiment of “The American Dream.” A dream about freedom.
About independence. Escape. Solace. Solitude. Solidarity. The advent
of Car Audio, though intrinsic to the larger idea of what the car is to
the driver, hardly captures the full orb of what it is to be one with that vehicle. So we reject what the rest of the car audio industry says it’s all about. We believe in more. In automotive sensory engineering. We are the sound whisperers. The tech loopers.The curators of comfort. Spinning neurological auto fantasies into physical jazz. Because your vehicle isn’t just your car, it’s part of who you are.
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: We will not be out-marketed or under spent when it comes to living up to the heritage of our brand and delivering category defining solutions aimed at transforming customer’s experiences, on the floor and in their vehicles. In so doing, we will provide utility and value in every communication, in every action, and transaction, facilitating dialogue, a relationship and extending life time value whenever possible.
CURRENT CORE COMPETENCY: We live our legacy forward with momentum and power as change makers, visionaries and stewards of auto-sensory innovation. Through intent observation and adaptation we set the gold standard for quality, cultural relevance and proactive participation in making your vehicle the place you always want to be.
VISIONARY COMPETENCY: We aspire to be the de facto, top of mind brand, in the market/s we chose to compete, revered for creating uniquely personal and thoughtfully designed automotive sensory experiences, tailored to the average individual and those of refined taste.
SERVICE BRAND PROMISE: It is our ongoing commitment to ensure every customer feels as though they are part of something much bigger than a transaction, but rather a part of a purposefully, guided collaboration.
GUIDING PRINCIPALS: Our pride is in seeing our customers eyes light up. Our prowess is in knowing we take a part in making that happen.
PRODUCT BRAND PROMISE: We create sensory experiences. We don’t sell and install equipment.
We build automotive sensory experiences that leave our customers never wanting to get out of their cars.
Expressing the brand story
The most powerful brand stories are told through the lens of mutually relatable experiences.
The MW/Autocraft story was perhaps best delivered through the relatable experiences we share by mutual association with our vehicles — experiences that came to life to even greater extent, and in a more visceral and credible way when coming directly from the audience. Developing programs that rewarded and encouraged user generated content was at the very center of the MW/Autocraft brand strategy. On a campaign level, this imperative paid off the central brand directive to allow audiences to contribute to shaping the brand — placing them in the driver's seat.