Designing a luxury customer experience

Welcoming new owners to the family with a human-centred, luxury customer experience.

Client: Aston Martin
Type of project: Customer Experience & On-Boarding, Communication
Region: UK & Europe

How to make new owners feel valued with a human-centred, luxury customer experience

When Aston Martin launched the Vanquish, the luxury car firm wanted to make the process of choosing, specifying and paying for the new car like a welcome into the Aston Martin family. But the nature of luxury is changing – it’s now much more about personalised, insider experiences than a simple show of wealth or prestige.  For Aston Martin, luxury is about substance, form and reality over show, bling and glitz. 

We wanted to find a way to make the ‘welcome to the family’ for Vanquish buyers warmer, more personal and something that felt like an exclusive view behind the scenes at Aston Martin – almost as though they were involved in developing the new car. Aston owners are buying into authenticity and heritage.

Luxury customer experience starts with the little things

For Aston Martin, the personalisation that was a key part of the welcome process was about a real, genuine human welcome rather than an efficient software and CRM programme.

Heritage plays an important part in the luxury customer experience.

At the same time, buyers often pay a deposit on a new, high-end luxury car but don’t go on to take delivery. We wanted to support them throughout the process so they were looking forward to driving away from the showroom in their new Vanquish.

The new car needed to find a way to stand out right from the start of the welcome process, through specification and finally, onto sale.

The new car was up against the 730bhp Ferrari F12 as well as tough competition from Mercedes’ SLS. We needed to make sure Vanquish stood out.

We wanted to find a way to replace the traditional superficial luxury glitz with something with more substance that that would endure, buyers would remember and that would link them into the Aston Martin family.

A focus on authenticity and the personal touch

We started by meeting and talking to owners, finding out why they’d chosen Aston Martin rather than any other luxury car.  It quickly became clear that there was a powerful sense of belonging to a family that wasn’t quite the same with other high-end carmakers.  They felt that they had a lot in common with their fellow Aston Martin owners and that this sense of belonging had been a key reason for buying.

The more we listened to owners, the more stories we heard – from the fiercely loyal owner who’d bought his first Aston in the early 1970s and had owned ten since to new buyers who were just venturing into the family.  And the stories came as much from the Aston team as the owners.

We spent time talking with the CEO of Aston Martin to understand his vision for the new car, as well as understanding what he wanted it to feel like to be a new Aston owner.  He reinforced that it was much less about glitz and glamour and more about being part of a group of people who are drawn to Aston’s unique heritage.  

Every tiny experience on the journey to ownership needed to feel as though it had been crafted with the same care as the cars.

We spent time in the Aston workshops, meeting craftspeople who’d spent their lives honing their skills and experience, something that makes Aston very different from many competitors.  Owners know their names and, when they visit the workshops, it’s often like a meeting of old friends.

We brought these stories together as part of a communication stream through the welcome process.  Once a buyer committed and placed a deposit, they received a highly personalised, hand addressed and signed letter from Aston Martin’s CEO.  They then received a series of equally personalised communications that invited them to specify their new car, visit to see it being made, events with other owners and, finally, to place the Aston wings on the bonnet and drive away. 

Throughout the whole experience, we made sure that it reflected that drivers had begun a relationship with Aston Martin, so each communication’s tone of voice was personal with no trace of corporate or marketing language. Instead, we used the stories we’d heard from existing owners and Aston Martin employees.  We wanted to make the relationship with the brand clear, warm and authentic.

In short, we wanted to bring the same level of craftsmanship to their communications as Aston Martin do to their cars.

A welcome experience that makes owners feel valued

Before anyone had even taken delivery, we wanted to make sure that their new car’s reputation was already established in their minds.  

Rather than the traditional, superficial glitz-based events, the real stories Aston could tell and the welcome the process gave new buyers made them advocates for the new car and the brand.

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