Disruption is a good thing and marketers shouldn’t be scared of it, according to a leading automotive executive who sees opportunities to disrupt categories beyond his own.

Roel de Vries, corporate vice-president and global head of marketing and brand strategy at Nissan, sat down with WARC at last month’s Cannes Lions festival where he outlined his belief that “every disruption is an opportunity”.

“The car is becoming a massive integration hub of anything and everything to do with technology and data,” he explained. (For more details, read the full interview: Nissan on disruption and evolving for the new era of automotive.)

Combining computer, audio and video, “it is a smartphone on steroids”, he added; plus it has self-driving capabilities and can sense things around it.

Consumers now expect cars to have the best technology and to be safe, but pushing the category forward without compromising safety is a challenge, de Vries acknowledged.

“Our whole model is making sure that we have zero mistakes, because our cars are all about safety and looking after people. But a lot of the innovation is coming from a world that is about fast disruption, fast learning, or failing… which you cannot do in a car.

“Our consumers want the security in the car, but they [also] want to get the innovation,” he said.

And this is where Nissan believes it has an advantage when it comes to disruption: it is looking to use the data from its cars to provide the most integrated customer experience possible, from arranging car servicing to selling tailor-made car insurance.

With this information, the company has the power to disrupt other categories too, de Vries argued. “We will be able to give you a much better experience than anyone who wants to disrupt a business can give you, because nobody else has the data off the car, ” he said.

Thus, buyers can get better financing, “because we know how you use your car”, while owners can, for example, automatically book a service “because the car will know when it needs to have service” – and what needs to be done.

“If we innovate our products, and we connect all these touch points that our consumers have with us, then we can protect ourselves from disruption,” said de Vries.

Sourced from WARC