Hand’s approach to launching the “Element” came as a bit of a surprise in that their approach was not what one would describe as traditional in the auto Industry, they tried to appeal to their target market through a carefully thought out process of understanding what their young customers would like in a small SUB, and also using the SUB in a matter that their customer potentially would; hikes, traveling, moving, etc.
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The success of Hand’s element had mostly to do with understanding how the Gene-Y generation thinks, researching what the Gene-Y generation finds pealing in a icicle, but most importantly how the Element was to be priced so that it could be affordable to the Gene Y masses. Honda wanted to attract the young potential customers of the Gene Y generation, most Importantly a customer that would develop loyalty to Honda in the long run.
Honda saw an opportunity to understand what a potential young customer would like in a vehicle, especially at the point of their lives were they were of college age or slightly past it, thus to say a Gene-Year would be looking for a vehicle that provided “flexibility: it should be able to easily carry sporting equipment, dorm room furniture, or plenty of friends, and could even serve as sleeping quarters for weekend trips” . Hand’s overall platform strategy with the Element was to design, and develop a vehicle that would fit the Gene-Year’s budget, tastes in aesthetics, and mobile lives.
The positioning of the vehicle was that it could fill a gap that Hand’s other vehicles like the CRY-V, and Odyssey did not provide, it was for the “single individual with an unconventional lifestyle” . Hand’s vehicles all offer the company’s vision of performance, safety, and value, but the designers anted to appeal to the Gene-Year by providing a fun driving experience but at the same time not forgetting their platform for their vehicle developments.
The product Innovation charter (PICK) for Honda was simple, they saw an untouched market In the Gene-Year and jumped at the opportunity to develop a vehicle for them. Hence,
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the designs that ultimately made the final cut in development for the Element “a design strategy was created, and work progressed, with periodic review by top management. The exterior subsystem consists of frame, bumpers, wind-shield, sunroof, tailgate, and so forth. Many of these components were specifically designed for the Element target segment, such as the unique side doors and the clamshell tailgate” .
Everything that Honda did to appeal to the was different, even their marketing approach of advertising through a lifestyle theme, a young person going to the beach or some type of outing as opposed to more traditional television advertising. By adopting a grass-roots approach Honda created a buzz amongst their potential customers by going directly to their source, the colleges where their customers would be at. The tangible benefits that Honda gained by their customers as listening and understanding what they liked and needed, then making It a reality by developing the Element to suit their needs.
Something that could be learned by firms other than the automobile industry is to look more into the future and appeal to an untouched audience. For example, if I was a large company like Coca-Cola I would recognize that today’s society wants to be healthier and do not necessarily want to drink a sugary soft drink, a way to adapt would be to develop an alternative such as can do to reach new customers, adaptability goes a long way and keeps your company relevant.See More on Generation X