Nothing has changed. The Brussels motor show continues to be a great success. More than half a million visitors watched, tested and bought the new cars presented. Some OEM’s such as Daimler tried to propose mobility as a service. Drive Now is leaving Brussels, as in the meantime the city recognizes that it is not in a position to provide the necessary recharging infrastructure for electric vehicles… Nothing has changed, the Brussels Motor Show is and will be “the largest car and motorcycle show in the country”. Why? Because NO CHANGE HAS OCCURRED YET.
Sophie Lenoir works as Marketeer & Psychotherapist at the Marie Haps Institute. France Carp is a Health Specialist & Behavioral Neuroscientist at Paris 12 University. They both agree that it is extremely difficult to change. Indeed, it is very tiring to adapt and to have new emotions because it mobilizes our brain, which uses 20% of our energy to function. In our brains, billions of neurons talk to each other and have the same conversations. They love routine, and so they create a kind of neuronal? highway. Actions and decisions are the result of habits and require a low level of thinking. Asking the brain to change its routine is like taking a motorway exit without a navigational system, towards the unknown. It requires a high level of thinking. The ability to change a routine is called brain plasticity. Adopting a change, a new routine goes through five stages. Stage four is the most critical: the stage where you try to make the change. For example, “I went to the office on my bike”. Step 5 is just repeating the new practice.
Change encounters two types of brakes: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic brakes are conscious and can be removed by rational argument. Extrinsic brakes are unconscious, they have been forged by beliefs and experiences that drive a specific behavior. This second type of barrier to change conditions the culture in which we evolve. For example, we know that bicycles are faster to get to the office, but we still take the car, because culturally, we are not used to going to the office by bicycle. How can we change our behaviors and our culture then? Or rather, who is capable of effecting viral culture changes on entire populations?
“Chase the social opinion”
This is the advice given by Francis Delecluse, who has 25 years of experience at Coca Cola. The theme is « Nobody is too big to fail ». In a world where change has never been faster, the biggest giants can go bankrupt in a matter of hours. At the car show, he asks the following disturbing question: “What happens if social opinion moves: driving a car is seen as smoking a cigarette?”. The speed and depth of information dissemination via THE INTERNET makes opinion emotional and instantaneously global. Coca Cola testifies in the context of its media relationship with Greenpeace: a media success is an ephemeral success. In a few images, a company’s reputation is turned upside down.
« 85% of brands can disappear, without this being a problem for the majority of Belgians, » continues Hugues Rey, CEO of Havas Media Group. To be part of the remaining 15%, brands need to make sense in public opinion. As such, the company must meet three pillars: being functional, bringing something to the individual and bringing something to the community.
In this campaign, Nike features the controversial Colin Kaepernick, an American football player. The latter has distinguished himself by refusing to salute the American anthem, saying he disagrees with the country’s values. A strong gesture that divides. Nike is committed and has taken sides. On its 30th anniversary to choose Colin Kaepernick as its muse, with the slogan « Believe in something, even if you have to sacrifice everything ». The consequences were not long in coming, the call for a boycott was made and shares dropped by a few percentage points. However, the brand’s commitment paid off, and the brand’s value was greatly increased.
This example illustrates that, brand commitment and communication of brand values is essential. This exercise presents a significant risk, in that it can damage the company’s « reputation ». For Hugues Rey, the secret is to remain consistent and authentic. Today, what works best for an industry is to stand back from the service provided. The meaning given to the activity is then naturally put forward.
The automotive sector is shaken by a crisis of values. It is struggling to identify the pillars on which to build. In a VUCA world, brands that are still strong need to commit to their mainspring for three reasons. To differentiate themselves, to show their value to the community and to mark their involvement to LEAD A MAJOR ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIETAL CHANGE.
Louis-Antoine Calvy, consultant at Bartle