JWT’s AnxietyIndex is designed as a place to discuss how brands and consumers are responding to the global recession. With daily content updates, AnxietyIndex.com includes contributions from around JWT’s network, offering a truly global perspective.
A new year, a new effort: With its Collaborative Safety Research Center, in Ann Arbor, Mich., Toyota is going beyond safer autos to target driver safety. Company president Akio Toyoda said Toyota will work with universities and other partners on research that aims to “reduce driver distraction and increase the safety of vehicles, drivers, passengers and pedestrians.” Toyota continues to deal with the fallout from last year’s problems—about 400 lawsuits are still pending—and cynics might argue that establishing this research center deflects from the brake issues. But Toyota is not running from the problem, either: Working to create safer autos and better driving behaviors speaks to consumers’ most pressing concerns about auto safety and demonstrates that the company is making an effort to improve safety for all drivers.
How much does Toyota care about safety? Enough to use the word seven times in this new 30-second ad, which touts the fact that the automaker is investing “$1 million every hour” in research to enhance vehicle safety. Hammering the message home seems like the way to go, given Toyota’s challenge in regaining consumer confidence after recalling 8 million vehicles worldwide. Toyota is doing this through both news headlines (e.g., the recent announcement that it is replacing executives at five of its North American factories) and its messaging, which now is all safety, all the time.
The commercial points viewers to toyota.com/safety, as does Toyota.com, whose landing page declares “Everyone deserves to be safe” and directs people to the microsite to learn more. Here, drivers can read about Toyota’s latest brake and traction safety systems in ways they can understand and see the technology explained in videos featuring young and older drivers, families, babies and Toyota engineers.
Given the widespread complaints that it was slow in responding to safety issues, Toyota needs to continually assure buyers that the company not only understands their concerns but shares them as well. Its continued emphasis on safety, coupled with details for concerned consumers, is a good start.
As we discussed recently, too many choices can paralyze consumers, creating anxiety and deterring people from making any purchase at all. So Nokia’s new naming convention for its phones is a step in the right direction for a company with a multitude of products.
The phones are grouped into four series by function: N (most advanced), X (social networking), E (business) and C (basic functions). Within each series, phones are assigned numbers from 1 to 9 that signify the range of features available and, hence, cost. So buyers know from the start whether they’re looking at a highly sophisticated device (rated 9) or a stripped-down one (rated 1).
Nokia’s solution—paring down information to its essentials—allows consumers to more easily weigh price range, features and functionality and more quickly determine what they want. This takes some of the anxiety about making the right choice out of the equation, especially at a time when diligent consumers must do a great deal of work to wade through the fine print.