By David Shaw, ERJ staff
Geneva, Switzerland -- A range of senior executives have told ERJ that the advent of consumer labels on tyres in the EU presents a major challenge for marketing communications professionals.
Established marketing wisdom suggests that consumers can accept one or at most two marketing messages simultaneously. But the advent of tyre labels mean tyre companies must now present multiple messages to consumers.
Historically, a tyre maker may have presented itself as a leader in performance, or safety or comfort. However, with the advent of tyre labels, they must also present an image of fuel economy and wet grip. This will present a mid-term challenge.
A longer-term challenge is to establish in the mind of the consumer that the label presents less than half the story. A typical tyre test by ADAC or AutoSport or any of the main magazines covers 10 to 15 parameters, including comfort, handling, wear rates, dry grip, wet grip, fuel economy, pass-by noise and other parameters, all of which contribute to the user experience and the safety and performance of the tyre.
The tyre label in the EU offers information only on wet grip, fuel economy and noise.
Marketing professionals welcomed the label, but pointed to the challenge of informing the consumer about the multiple dimensions of tyre performance, which are ignored by the label. All professional companies ERJ spoke to emphasised that these other parameters are very important to the user experience, but they are not shown on the label.
There was a concern that some less professional companies may develop tyres which deliver excellent wet grip and fuel economy, but at the expense of much worse performance in life, handling and comfort. Such tyres would appear in a tyre store, or from an online retailer, to be outstanding, but would leave consumers with a poor experience, slowly eroding faith in the label.
A further challenge, said the executives, is that people buy summer tyres relatively infrequently, so a tyre store may see a customer only once every couple of years. Consumers are not very interested in tyres unless they need to buy them, so any marketing information campaign will nbeed to be sustained for five years or more, to communicate effectively with most consumers.
More on this story in the next issue of ERJ, due out on 1 April.