Street-legal marketing strengthens connections
By Cam Douglass
Director of Product Development and Marketing - OPTIMA Batteries
You don’t buy a bright yellow car because you’d rather not be noticed.
Automotive enthusiasts, the target market for Johnson Controls OPTIMA® high-performance batteries, are passionate about their vehicles. They get into their car like they’re wearing it; it’s not just a tool to get from point A to point B.
And they want the best aftermarket products for their pride and joy. Our job is to show these enthusiasts that “the best” includes the OPTIMA brand.
Understanding the lifestyle
Johnson Controls typically markets to other manufacturers who brand our batteries as their own. For OPTIMA, we needed to understand the end-user’s lifestyle, find new ways to connect, and deliver a premium experience before, during and long after the sale.
At first we worked with big pro series and teams. But how many people actually drive top-fuel dragsters? It made sense to look at events involving more obtainable vehicles, relevant to what’s in our consumer’s driveway.
Today we focus on semi-professional teams and hobbyist events, and partner with some of the industry’s greatest brand names. Consumers get the chance to appreciate the performance of the battery. They see how premium parts make the whole driving experience better.
Ten years ago, we launched our own OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational (OUSCI), with up to 10 events around the country. It showcases “real” vehicles using street-legal aftermarket parts, right down to the DOT-approved tires. Participants can’t be professional drivers. Instead, it’s a chance for people who own high-performance street cars to compete in a safe, fun, friendly environment.
Our media partners add cachet with print and digital coverage. We also produce our own TV show for each event, enjoying almost daily repeat airings.
Brand ambassadors connect
While high-profile celebrities do use OPTIMA products, we focus on a couple dozen brand ambassadors—influencers who may be hobbyists or professionals. Many own a blog or YouTube channel; others are the voice of authority in technical automotive forums. These ambassadors represent us at events and trade shows and appear in our campaigns. In our market, they are celebrities.
In promoting OPTIMA as the highest quality product, we’ve committed to delivering the best possible consumer experience. That’s where the capabilities and resources of Johnson Controls make a difference, building on our grassroots connections. We confidently invite our consumers to put away the lawn chairs and come drive with us—and the results are rewarding for everyone.