Social media is to become a core research tool in the development of future Nissan models, according to the firm's motorsport chief Jerry Hardcastle.
The firm realised the power of social media through the launch of the Juke R, according to Hardcastle, something which has subsequently given the firm a new sense of freedom to test reaction its latest design themes, market niches and new technology. The most recent examples were the IDx Freeflow, IDx Nismo and Bladeglider concepts.
Nissan launched the Juke R to the public through a YouTube video, but were taken aback by public reaction. “The Juke R allowed us to better understand and appreciate the brand, and importantly gather feedback quickly," said Hardcastle.
It is important, according to Hardcastle, to follow up on the excitement generated through new product. The Juke R was directly responsible for production versions of the Juke Nismo. The Juke R led to a “realisation of a strong brand and was able to change perceptions”.
He said that Nissan projects work best when the engineering and product development teams work with those best placed to create a story around it.
The Juke R was developed as a result of a skunkworks project, he added, and would have never emerged without a story being created around it and shared on YouTube.
The realisation of the power of Nissan’s brand was echoed by UK marketing boss, Guillaume Masurel. He said that Nissan must continue to deliver on its motto of innovation that excites, which will continue to build the brand leaving it better placed to return to the heart of traditional segments.
He said that in 2007, when the first-generation Qashqai was launched, Nissan’s status as a challenger brand meant that it was harder for it to compete in competitive markets, such as the C-segment hatchback class.
Evidence of this, he says, can be seen in the second-generation Nissan Note, which has evolved from B-segment MPV to a traditional B-segment hatchback.