CMO50 2016 #17: Brad Cramb

  • Name Brad Cramb
  • Title Divisional manager, national marketing (CMO)
  • Company Toyota
  • Commenced role July 2013
  • Reporting Line Executive director, sales and marketing
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 80 staff, 5 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Automotive
  • 2015 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    For Toyota’s national marketing leader, Brad Cramb, gaining agility comes through a ‘fail fast’ philosophy, underpinned by strategic use of data and measurement. And that’s exactly what he’s been working to grow across the automotive manufacturer’s marketing division.

    A pretotyping approach was implemented in 2016, enabling marketing to test initiatives quickly and inexpensively by creating simplified iterations. These include data-led digital marketing campaigns testing programmatic buying capabilities and tailored content, piloting apps and using social media tools to test and determine hierarchy of messaging. Personalised video customer satisfaction surveys have also been successfully iterated and pretotyped as an industry-first proof of concept.

    Cramb says in-market performance results and insights have been invaluable, with a number of initiatives ready for mainstreaming, where they will be replicated in upcoming campaigns with bigger investments.

    To further enhance agility, Cramb has been seeking to empower the team, agencies, media and technologies partners to bring to Toyota ideas that are innovative and creative in how it connects with consumers. This has seen Toyota launch Australian and category firsts with Google, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

    Empowered business thinking

    In line with this kind of innovative thinking, one of Cramb’s proudest moments in the last 12 months was leading the successful implementation of ‘Franchise of the Future’, an unprecedented collaboration between Toyota and its dealers that required the biggest changes to their relationship in 30 years.

    The company-wide project identified gaps in the delivery of customer experience, benchmarked against other industry such as FMCG and banking, as well as customer-focused organisations such as hotels, the Disney Corporation, and digital disruptors. From this, Cramb and his team created a blueprint to remove friction points and build the entire Toyota business model around the customer of the future.

    “This has delivered significant cultural and operational changes designed to showcase our franchise, products and services in a consistent and exemplary way,” he says. “It has delivered outstanding customer experience with improved profitability.”

    The first phase incorporated several key initiatives. One was defining, articulating and formalising new standards of operation in all aspects of business to apply to every Toyota dealership. Training also took place across 12,000 people in the new ‘Toyota Way’, and regional organisational structures were redesigned and resources redeployed to support enhanced experiences at customer engagement touchpoints. Cramb also established a new co-operative advertising fund and media buying approach designed to maximise buying power across the group.

    On top of this, he has set up an extensive digital marketplace strategy designed to deliver a revolution in customer experience from online to in-store. To date, he cites exceptional results, delivering record customer satisfaction levels, above-target dealer profitability and high employee satisfaction.

    More from the CMO50 submission

    Innovative marketing

    One example of a more innovative approach listed by Cramb in his CMO50 submission is the launch of the latest model Prius via Facebook. The pre-launch phase used Facebook’s lead generation ads with segmentation data from both Toyota and the social media giant. Pre-populated forms sat natively in ad units on Facebook so people could sign up for more information once the Prius was launched.

    Canvas ad units featuring a combination of video, carousel imagery and text stitched together, then ran in news feeds and social activities were follow up with out-of-home advertising based on geo-targeting customers’locations.

    The campaign reached 7.6 million people and 69 per cent of the target market, delivering a 53 per cent increase in site traffic and 41 per cent increase in test drives. With a significantly lower cost base than a traditional launch, and achieving superior results, Cramb says it was a win-win.

    Another example of a customer-led engagement strategy is Toyota’s new ‘LandCruiser Emergency Network’. With a long history in the Australian Outback, many Toyota LandCruisers are regularly traversing the remote regions of the country that don’t have access to emergency communications.

    Toyota helped develop a way to deliver that by fitting a device into each of these vehicles linking their signal capability. This enabled a pop-up emergency telecommunications network, providing much-needed and potentially lifesaving infrastructure to remote communities.

    The program has won a Creative Innovation Award and Gold and Silver Cannes Lions in 2016.

    Data- and technology-drive approach

    A wider project for Cramb and his team has been to deliver data capabilities and technologies solutions that help the automotive manufacturer cope with the changing nature of customer expectations, particularly because of digital. To do this, the group needed to create a single digital view of the customer at every stage of their research, purchase and ownership journey.

    Over the past 12 months, Cramb and his team set out to achieve this by introducing a coordinated Google SEM program, leveraging the dealer network and national marketing, and created complete visibility of all vehicles in stock throughout the dealer network, linking all vehicles with special offer marketing campaigns. In addition, Toyota leveraged vehicle CAD data and gamification to create a 3D real-time lifesize rendered experience of its product catalogue. This ‘Showroom 360’is a world-first in automotive, he claims.

    The effective use of data and technology in collaboration with franchisees has seen Toyota take control of the customer journey and deliver a more complete customer experience, Cramb says.

    Customer-led approach

    The data doesn’t stop there. In 2015, Toyota conducted its first comprehensive customer segmentation study to fully understand the category, size and functional, social and emotional needs of prospective customers. Using this segmentation, Cramb says it decoded the entire Australian automotive market and identified points of differentiation for the brand to pursue.

    The second component of work has focused on the path to purchase. While Toyota had access to rich, robust data on the start and end of the journey, there was a knowledge gap in real-time information in the lead-up to a purchase.

    To overcome this, several initiatives have taken place over the past 18 months. These include extensive testing and modelling using Google Analytics Premium and a bespoke longitudinal consumer research study, gathering purchase insights as well as clickstream data.

    “Understanding the path to purchase from beginning to end is informing how we communicate with consumers using the right content, context, timing and via devices that truly engage them,” Cramb states in his submission.

    Toyota’s marketing team has also built out a return on marketing investment model in partnership with Nielsen, correlating more than 50 sources of data to change how marketing campaigns are being evaluated and how decisions are being made. The model allows key stakeholders, including marketing, pricing and product departments, to understand the channel contribution for each model, establish which models contribute most to the brand and drive sales for other models.

    Fostering team capability

    Like his peers, Cramb sees nurturing talent as a key part of his role. He says the imperative to attract talent and grow capability is being heightened by the impending transition of the entire sales and marketing function from Sydney to Melbourne over the next 18 months.

    Cramb has established two pillars: Respect for people, with open feedback and personalised development plans; and continuous improvement. The latter has seen best teams take best practice study tours of overseas auto markets, Silicon Valley and retail supercentres.

    This year, he’s also launched the ‘Toyota X Innovation’ initiative, a program aimed at fostering collaboration, creativity and solution-based ideas across the business. The program gathers people with a diverse range of experience from across the company into a room for one week, to work together on solving big problems.

    “They work unconventionally, collaborate to come up with innovative ideas, challenge the status quo and work at a blistering pace,”Cramb explains. “They walk away with a unique experience and an enhanced skillset, and we have a stronger network, empowered to share and embed their creative thinking and experience into the rest of the business.”


    Cramb agrees the power of creativity drives business growth and is the true differentiator Toyota needs both in the market and to win over customers. He pointed out Toyota often engages with people through their passion points, most commonly sports sponsorship and marketing.

    An example is Toyota Australia’s partnership with the 2016 Rio Olympics. To create an end-to-end marketing experience, Cramb’s team ensure all agencies worked under the collective creative idea for ‘prepare for amazing’, with the central approach being a campaign that helps inspire ‘movement’in all Australians.

    It’s a theme that’s extended into other sports sponsorships, such as the Flipbooks series created by storyboard artist, Jeremy Ley, replaying exciting AFL moments. The first book was launched for the Indigenous Round.

    “Creativity continues to be at the heart of Toyota’s engagement with our customers and our community,” Cramb adds. “Our ‘Oh what a feeling’brand promise is built on it.”

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