ORLANDO, FL: Alfa Romeo, the auto marque owned by Fiat Chrysler, is tapping into the concept of "the better life" as it aims to fuel sales among luxury consumers.

Scott Slagle, Head of Consumer Insights at Fiat Chrysler, discussed this topic at The Market Research Event (TMRE) 2015, a conference organised by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

And he suggested that the target audience for Alfa Romeo – which has its roots in Italy, but was relaunched under Fiat Chrysler's management in 2014 – was largely an unknown entity to its parent company as it set about repositioning the brand.

"Our brands are, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Fiat … We really didn't know the Alfa Romeo consumer very well," he said. (For more, including further strategic insights, read Warc's exclusive report: Chrysler defines luxury for Alfa Romeo.)

Conducting research programs with partners such as Point Forward, a boutique insights firm, helped provide a deeper insight into the preferences of this group.

"Something has really changed, I think, about the way luxury consumers think. And we had to debunk what we thought were stereotypes," said Gary Waymire, President & Founder of Point Forward.

As an example, while it is often assumed that members of this demographic only want "the best", that was not reflected by their actual opinions.

"It's this concept of 'the better life'. And that's the full embodiment of what we think the luxury consumer is about," said Waymire.

"Underlying this 'better life' is, kind of, this notion of ambition. It's always striving, always looking to the next thing, being better than what I was when I was young, being better than my parents, being better than previous generations.

"They really have this baked in to their way of thinking about things … This guides their thoughts about luxury goods."

What constitutes a "better life" is of course a relative notion, and this indicated how Alfa Romeo might move ahead in a crowded category.

Verbatims from qualitative research insights brought further clarity to the concept, as participants associated Italian cars with "sexiness" and "artistry", as well as representing something "unique" compared with many "cookie car" rivals.

In response to this type of learning, the brand ultimately decided to present itself as embodying "a particular way of living, of experiencing an automobile."

Data sourced from Warc