When Toyota unveiled Scion at auto shows in 2002-03, Jim Farley, who then was a vp at the company, proclaimed, “We’re about providing Generation Y with concepts that stand out from the crowd.” Indeed, marketing support positioned Scion as being quirky with a hefty dash of individuality, and came with a DJ/hip-hop soundtrack. Art shows, musical performances, a series of CDs with artists outside the boundaries of mainstream and other “culture-vulture” events drove, and built, that connection.
In 2008, as the auto industry has struggled, Scion sales are up 7.1% through July, per Autodata, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. However, critics claim that the brand’s hold on the coveted target demo is not as solid as it has been. To establish itself anew, Scion is chasing 18-24-year-olds who are just forming their buying habits. These entertainment efforts have been led and coordinated by Jeri Yoshizu, sales and promotions manager for Scion at Toyota, Torrance, Calif., She spoke with Brandweek about marketing strategies.
Brandweek: How would you describe the demo you now are going after and how do they differ from previous Scion consumers?
Jeri Yoshizu: We did a great job using underground hip-hop music and culture and moved through that. We now need to see what 18-24-year-olds are now getting into. So let’s say that one of our starter points when we were marketing five years ago was vertical sites, music sites that concentrated on a specific genre of music and promoting events through e-mail blasts and banners. Now look, there are blogs everywhere. Things change and we have to change with that.
A lot of companies, auto or not, look at whatever they are doing and time just goes by and they age along with their target market. Our strategy is not to age but to refresh. And not to drop whoever is aging.