OK, before the Porsche drivers light me up for calling a Porsche an “everyday car,” please get through the first paragraph or two. I’m not asserting a 718 Boxster is a step up from a beige 2012 Toyota Camry. This is about what makes the Porsche driver stand out from other luxury sports car enthusiasts. Bear with me while I define a “remarkable everyday car.”
It’s Saturday morning. In affluent communities around North America, you see typical behaviour. Men and women with earbuds in ears, getting in a run or bike ride before the day of errands starts. People walking their dog around the block. Kids on bikes going to find friends. But you’ll also see sports cars. Ferraris, old Corvettes, muscle cars from the 60s and 70s, maybe an Alfa Romeo or Lotus. And even a Porsche. Those who have achieved a certain level and/or managed their money right have the luxury of getting a car that is more than a “Point A to Point B” utilitarian tool and depreciating asset. They might wash and wax it, pick up a friend or take the kids for a ride, and head for less populous and winding roads.
But what’s different about a Porsche is you’ll see it again on Monday morning, headed to work. Porsches aren’t to be merely owned, but to be driven. Porsche drivers buy them to drive them. Sure, it’s a luxury purchase. There is more under the hood than they likely need. A Porsche, however, is no toy. You’ll find them on the way to work, stuck in the same traffic you’re stuck in, seeking the left lane and a faster speed. In downtown traffic, impatiently waiting to turn left at a light, looking for the quickest route to their parking garage.
What drives this difference? What makes the car – and the brand – something that must be driven? What makes Porsche so remarkable?
The book, “Fix,” offers this perspective: “Every cult brand finds a unique, clever and inspiring way to deliver on their noteworthy value proposition. They understand their mission is to do more than merely provide a literal product or service. They exist to provide something that satisfies specific deep-rooted needs that exist within their core audience. Once those needs are intimately understood, cult brand leaders create branded experiences that are more loved and appreciated than what their competitors offer.”
Porsche continues to grow in popularity in North America. Some of their growth is the result of the success of their small SUVs the Cayenne and the Macan, but the foundation of this growth is customer loyalty. Porsche drivers replace a Porsche with a Porsche. Their brand loyalty, when measured by a subsequent purchase of the same brand, is one of the highest in the industry. Much of this loyalty is rightly attributed to the product superiority. Porsches are well-engineered and well-built luxury performance automobiles. What makes them stand out from others in their class is their focus on driving and the driver.
The most recent hosting of the every-three-year event Rennsport Reunion is one such example. Held in October, 2018 at the historic Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, California, the event drew more than 60,000 Porsche owners and enthusiasts. As much as they came to share their communal love of all things Porsche, many were there to drive, filling the race classes with professional and amateur drivers alike. The Porsche “Experience Center” had a similar vibe – a focus on the connection between driver and car, and a commitment to putting the driver experience first. The Experience Centers are designed to showcase their automobiles the way their core customer wants to experience them – in an environment which allows them to push the car and themselves to the limit to fully appreciate the unique Porsche driving experience.
Longevity is a big reason why Porsche’s brand so clearly owns this space. For decades, the Porsche name has been linked to being engineered and built for a superior driving experience.
Though grounded in that strong history, Porsche also continues to evolve. Porsche has begun taking orders for its new Taycan Electric Vehicle, which is likely to sell out in its first year, even with increased production. They are also bringing in new drivers to the brand and stealing share from Tesla. Porsche sees much of the brand’s future in electric vehicles and have committed to having half of all Porsche production electric by 2023. In this teaser ad for the Taycan, Porsche focuses on their history and the intangible quality of their vehicles – the car’s soul.
There is still time to join us at The Gathering in Banff this February to hear from Porsche’s Scott Baker and so many other cult brand enthusiasts. Much like the Rennsport Reunion and Experience Centers, The Gathering is designed to allow business leaders to meet and commune to learn from each other. We look forward to seeing you there to hear more about remarkable brands such as Porsche, and to look for ways to turn your brand into a Cult Brand.