Hino increases its brand awareness through track signage at Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
On the back of significant growth in 2015, Hino Australia committed to its first ever national sponsorship with a three year deal with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Given there is no direct product link between its trucks and the popular racing car series, Hino National Marketing Manager Sarah Rosales explains that the relationship is a strategic plan to engage directly with potential and existing customers and enhance brand credibility.
“There is no disputing Supercars is one of the most popular sports among both existing and potential fleet customers and owner/drivers – unsurprisingly, 71% of its audience are male,” Ms Rosales says.
“We are really pleased with the high brand awareness we have with our current and potential customers – having said that, our research shows we have an opportunity to increase ‘familiarity’ which includes knowledge of high quality, extensive range of products that are manufactured in Japan and our Hino Advantage customer care program.
“The 15 Supercar events also provide a great environment to engage with those customers through entertainment activities and behind-the-scenes experiences, to make the day memorable and give our people valuable time to build and strengthen relationships.”
Supercars’ national footprint, virtual year-round competition and extensive television coverage were also key factors in the decision to invest, according Ms Rosales.
Another key attraction was the brand building opportunities for Hino, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in Australia in 2015.
“Brand is king and brand credibility is so important in the truck market…fleet buyers need the deal to make commercial sense but are equally aware of their driver’s emotional equity in what they drive.
“And it’s the same with owner/drivers … they get to choose and they’re not going to drive a brand they’re not comfortable and familiar with,” Ms Rosales continued.
As the Official Light and Medium Duty Truck and Bus Sponsor of Supercars, Hino’s sponsorship package includes trackside signage at selected events and hospitality options and with the less obvious branding on the ‘Hino Hub’ tech centre.
Neil Crompton in the Hino Hub.
Prior to every race, the expert commentators presenting the Supercar events on Fox Sports and Network 10 run viewers through the performance and strategic variables of the impending race using the Hino Hub.
“The branding on the Hino Hub is very strong and highlights the role that technology plays in the sport and, by inference, the importance of technology to our brand,” Ms Rosales says.
Supercars status as one of the most attended sports in Australia is also of appeal and Hino will embrace its investment further with a fan engagement activity at key events starting with Sandown on 16-18 September.
“It’s too early to reveal details but let’s just say nothing like this has never been seen before at a Supercar event and it will be of significant appeal to sports lovers.”
“While our focus will always be on customers and potential customers, the typical Supercars fan has an interest in or basic understanding of trucks, so we need to put our brand front-of-mind with those people,” Ms Rosales says.
“In 2015, over 1.2 million men attended Supercar events and there are 2.42 million men in Australia who consider themselves Supercar fans – every one of them is a potential customer but, more than that, Supercars has research that demonstrates that its fans are brand-loyal, and will support the brands that support the sport.”
“That’s an opportunity for us and we’d like to own that space.”
Embraced by Hino staff, dealers and customers, the Supercars program has a number of components that will vary according to the geographic location of events, seasonal and industry considerations, and business priorities.
“It’s national, it’s flexible, it has many components that we can fine-tune as we need … everyone at Hino understands the opportunities this program presents to share our brand in a way we’ve not be able to do before,” Ms Rosales concluded.