Building emotional brands

John Deere

The real life

John Deere is a brand with world-wide cult status, known first and foremost for its heavy machinery for the farming sector. As the company’s lead agency, we have been tasked with strategically and operationally building on this success when it comes to marketing the entire product range of the TURF series, including the Gator Utility Vehicles. The John Deere Gators are a byword for comfort, dependable performance and a wealth of additional functions. We wanted to provide a demonstration of this achievement in an entirely new way, using storytelling. This was to be emotion-led and provide an experience-oriented approach to the products. And because nothing is more moving than real life, we focused on real, authentic protagonists that provide genuine insights into their life. And so our overarching goal was clearly defined: We wanted to set a new course – for the Gator Utility Vehicles campaign, but also quite fundamentally for the future communication of the John Deere brand.

Lay the basis for a new advert look and corporate publishing image

From rational promise of high performance to customer experience

The typical path? Certainly not!

The market for utility vehicles is highly competitive. As the competitors are rather similar in terms of their rational promise of performance, it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract the target audience’s attention – even for an established brand like John Deere that is well-known for its outstanding product quality. In addition, the company finds itself faced with the continuous challenge of taking the numerous, extremely heterogeneous buyer groups into account in its brand communication. In the campaign’s collaborative development phase we quickly ascertained that common approaches would not lead to the envisaged brand differentiation. This is why we took a path that was entirely atypical for John Deere, by carrying the brand communication over into an emotion-led world of experience.

Enablers of 
good work

The Gator Utility Vehicles by John Deere are more than just utility machines. Instead, they assume the role of “enablers of good work” by taking a backseat while opening up space for those who do the actual work, namely the people who use the Gator. The “Do More” claim derived from this illustrates this human-machine interaction. It makes it clear that Gator does justice to the high performance aspirations of its users and that it allows them to fully live out their passion for the work they do.

The next step customer relationship

The campaign does not place the products center stage, but the people making their very personal history thanks to the Gator as the “enabler of good work”. We not only listened to these stories but also captured them and broadcast them to the world. As a result, the Gator campaign impressively demonstrates that client relationships can also be strengthened via digital touchpoints: With authentic, unaltered real life stories that forge an emotional and in turn especially intensive bond to the brand. Alongside the incredibly positive response on social media, receiving the Annual Multimedia Award has shown us that we are on exactly the right track with what we’re doing.

Cross-channel digital & print

The campaign intended to establish John Deere with its Gator Utility Vehicles as the preferred brand in the utility vehicles sector. In order to achieve this, we needed to activate the target groups in a timeless and sustainable fashion. We devised a cross-channel digital strategy for spreading the narratives we wanted to tell. The heart of the campaign: a multimedia micro site made up of text, images and videos. The stories were also broadcast via other touchpoints, such as for example social media –and more successfully so than we had dared to hope.

During production planning we created synergies between the various film and photo productions. All basic content for the important media and channels were thus created homogenously and can be found among others in sequences of the brand movie.

Photos of the testimonials in a documentary style record the real-life working world.

The snippets produced in the same look specially for the digital channels enhance the brand’s emotional communication.

I am looking forward to your questions.

Please contact Friederike Seidel in Wiesbaden with regard to this project.

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