The Nissan Leaf's second birthday: A lesson in tricky marketing
The Nissan Leaf is turning two — and fine-tuning its national marketing strategy.
It's official. Nissan's all-electric Leaf is two years old this week.
If you don't feel like singing the song or watching the little guy blow out his candles, then consider this: The sale of the first Nissan Leaf two years ago today kicked off an evolving national sales strategy for Nissan with major implications for Middle Tennessee, home to Nissan's Franklin-based North American headquarters.
That first sale, as you might expect, was in California, where consumers' appetite for the vehicle has been the highest — an example of an environmentally minded populace seeing value in the Leaf's sales proposition. Oregon was also an eager early adopter. Since that time, Nissan North America Inc. has been working to spread that sentiment eastward across the country in a multi-faceted education and marketing campaign, said Brendan Jones, director of electric vehicle marketing and sales strategy.
"It's different ... it's emotional," Jones said of consumers buying the Leaf. "It's different than any product we've ever marketed before."
In California, a lot of the public is educated about and inclined toward the benefits of all-electric and hybrid vehicles. But elsewhere, Jones said, marketing first involves a broad education campaign on long-term trends in the auto industry, environmental benefits and technological leaps that Nissan says make the Leaf a practical option for many consumers.
Once that education has occurred, of course, the Leaf still has to compete against other vehicles, like the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt. That's when marketing your specific product — the challenge most businesses deal with — kicks in.
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