On December 30, 2022, Jidu Automobile's first intelligent new energy vehicle ROBO-01 positioned as an "automotive robot" officially debuted at the 2022 Guangzhou Auto Show. This car robot start-up company invested by Baidu and Geely Holding Group is born with a degree of topicality. With the development of China's Smart Electric Vehicle (Smart Electric Vehicle), the ecology of car companies, user needs, car attributes, and technical architecture are all facing changes. If you have the spirit of the times to stand up to the tide, you can rewrite the marketing script. It is reported that the first concept car ROBO-01 at the "animation conference" that will be delivered in 2023 will follow the marketing methods of new car manufacturers such as Tesla and Weilai: establish a brand experience store and adopt direct sales Sales. Can concentration fill the gap between marketing and reality? Jidu Automobile CMO Yang Zhen will bring his answer in the following interview with WARC.
WARC: Under the leadership of Tesla, the automotive industry has been upgraded from a mechanical product to a technological product, and the business model has changed from hardware to the combination of software, hardware and intelligent services. This is a new revolution in the world in the past century. Of course, Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu, has publicly stated that in terms of autonomous driving technology, Jidu will be one generation ahead of Tesla. How do you judge the market trend in 2023? Because there are many key factors, depending on the control of the epidemic, the rise of raw materials and the tax reduction policy for car purchases.Yang Zhen: Everyone will feel a lot of ups and downs in 2022; looking forward to 2023, the global economic climate is still sluggish, but I am always full of confidence in the resilience of the Chinese market. The new energy smart car industry is an industry that has the opportunity to change the world. In 2022, China's automobile exports surpassed Germany for the first time, and it is not far from Japan; at the same time, the domestic new energy penetration rate achieved the goal of 20% in the "14th Five-Year Plan" three years ahead of schedule, and exceeded 30% for many consecutive months in the second half of 2022. entered the stage of large-scale development.
It is basically difficult for users who have driven new energy vehicles to return to gasoline vehicles, and they will put forward higher requirements for the intelligence level of new energy vehicles. We judge that from 1.0 gasoline vehicles to 2.0 new energy vehicles, it will also develop into the smart car 3.0 era. 2023 will be the first year of intelligent competition in automobiles. In terms of high-end intelligent driving and smart cabins, AI will drive the evolution of automobiles, and the three "selfs" with "free movement", "natural communication" and "self-growth" will emerge A new generation of standard smart cars, the industry will also realize the transition from energy transformation to product attribute transformation. The new generation of smart cars is called "automotive robot" in Jidu. With robots as the main identity of the vehicle, it can learn to communicate with humans and actively communicate with humans; the interaction between cars and people can be carried out outside the car and not limited to the car. Internally, autonomous driving capabilities at level 4 and above can also help humans free up more time for other levels besides driving.
WARC: During the economic downturn, all enterprises are facing certain pressure. On the premise of withstanding the economic shock, Jidu's first automotive robot product promises an electric vehicle that is "not just the high-level automatic driving capability of futures". In the absence of a stable fundamental market in China, what are the strategic priorities for seed users and brand building?
Yang Zhen: From a macro perspective, the rapid development of the new energy vehicle industry is an opportunity for the birth of the next generation of great brands. In the past, in the era of gasoline vehicles, regardless of Germany, the United States, and Japan, there have been automobile brands that have influenced the world. These great brands have also reached their current position step by step from 0 to 1. Today, China has been on the same starting line as the world on the new energy smart car track from the very beginning, and still has a leading edge in the field of AI smart driving; we will definitely create a great brand, a great love mark (love mark) !
In the early brand building of Jidu Automobile, there were three forces:
1) Team force: Whether it is the founder or the executive team, the sense of mission of the early team will strongly shape the brand. Take Jidu as an example. Although Jidu was only established in 2021, Baidu has invested in advanced autonomous driving technology for 8 consecutive years. Baidu’s high-level autonomous driving full set of capabilities and safety system Apollo, its road test distance has reached 40 million kilometers is 100 times the distance between the earth and the moon. Believe in technology and invest in technology firmly and continuously, which is the consistent DNA from Baidu to the Jidu team. Jidu brand focuses on intelligence, which is the embodiment of the original intention of this team.
2) Product force: Automobile robot products have been a hit from the very beginning. The ROBO-01 Lunar Exploration Limited Edition we released is limited to 1,000 units. But before the press conference, it was fully booked by people in Jidu’s circle of friends. An additional 1,000 units were added at the press conference, priced at nearly 400,000, and they were quickly locked. Strong product power is the reason behind the popularity of users and the specific carrier of brand power.
3) The force of seed users: Jidu’s seed users are the 2,000 Chief Experience Officers of our ROBO-01 Lunar Exploration Limited Edition. We have created a "Chief Experience Officer Program", which is to provide good service for early car owners, let the CEO of Jidu interact with them face to face and answer questions, invite them to participate in the car robot development plan, and explore the application of smart technology in new energy together. The realization of every detail of the car. Based on the feedback from early car owners, the team also quickly iterated our action plan to continuously optimize the user experience.
Let these three forces continue to grow, which is the strategic focus of early brand building.
WARC: Xu Changming, deputy director of the State Information Center, said that from the perspective of energy security, new energy vehicles and traditional gasoline vehicles are in a competitive relationship, not a substitute relationship. In the future, the proportion of sales between the two may be half-divided. How do you view this kind of game, and how will it be reflected in the price, channel, advertisement, and positioning of the concentration?
Yang Zhen: The auto market is large enough, and game competition is secondary; continuous innovation around user needs is the main theme. Jidu chooses to focus on making new energy vehicles with the highest level of intelligence, focusing on serving users who require the highest level of intelligence. Therefore, we use a very focused approach. Brands, products, channels, marketing and experience services are all developed around the positioning of "smart".
WARC: From your platform experience in the Alibaba Entertainment and Youku business group, what do the most successful brand owners do right? What do the most unsuccessful advertisers ignore? From the perspective change from Party C to Party A, how do you think about maximizing the marketing budget allocation of Jidu? How can the budget be reallocated to current areas of focus as the situation changes?
Yang Zhen: Whether you look at it from the perspective of Ali Entertainment, or look at the brands with the best growth momentum in recent years, successful brand owners often have a superpower, that is, they are good at using content to drive growth.
The overall communication environment has completely changed from a centralized advertising era to a fragmented and content-led new media era. Good content not only helps brands actively find target users who fit their portraits, but also helps brands retain and serve users more effectively in the private domain. Content is the catalyst for a series of user life cycle links from new acquisition, activation, conversion, retention to referral. From planting grass, raising grass, to pulling weeds, brand content needs to combine user experience and make detailed content planning. This is also a focus of our marketing.
WARC: We know that Jidu Auto is a joint venture initiated by Baidu and strategically invested by Geely. Baidu also has a metaverse product called "Xi Rang" released at last year's AI Developers Conference, which feels like an opportunity for immersive marketing. The intelligence and automation of car robots fit in with the concept of the metaverse, but in fact the advertisements in the metaverse will not affect the real decision to buy a car. Will the popularity of the virtual space catch the attention of the episode?
Yang Zhen: Actually, Jidu was the first car brand to release models in Metaverse.
Jidu's No. 0 car owner is a digital person named Xijiajia. On the Internet, the short film "100 times the distance between the earth and the moon" starred by four digital car owners of Jidu 0, 1, 10, and 11 has been played more than 130 million times on the entire network.
Jidu is born with strong technological attributes, and our users are also technologically sensitive. The big screen of our car is also the intersection of the real world and the metaverse world. Our smart driving AI is part of the metaverse concept. For Jidu, Metaverse is not an advertisement, let alone a hot spot. The intelligent digital world represented by Metaverse is itself a part of our products.
Metaverse has made technological breakthroughs in two fields - AIGC (AI technology production content) and ChatGPT's new chatbot. The explosion of these two in 2022 is actually behind the breakthrough development of AI capabilities . The metaverse is no longer a castle in the air, but has a lot of room for re-application and efficiency improvement.
Personally, I am very optimistic about the increasingly extensive and in-depth application of artificial intelligence in the smart car industry in the fields of perception, recognition, voice communication and control.
WARC: Many times we talk about the core value of the brand to make the company go in the long run. This is actually the ideology of product features and selling points, a bit like the "WWDC Worldwide Developers Conference" for Apple. The layout and convenience of the power station, battery technology and charging efficiency, the sense of technology of the body design, the sky-high price or cost-effectiveness, the hybrid oil and electricity to solve the mileage anxiety, and the user psychology of beauty control, all of these can be ideologicalized through creativity. Does Jidu have any subversive ideas in the creative form to break into different subdivision circles?
Yang Zhen: Let me tell you a little bit: Every 24 seconds, one person dies in a traffic accident.
This is the data of the United Nations, and it is also the point of discussion between automobile expert Yang Diange, economist Xue Zhaofeng, and film director Jia Zhangke in the variety show "Don't Answer". Even film director Jia Zhangke believes that the era of autonomous driving has arrived.
There are some things that machines can do better than humans, and we should gradually make changes happen.
WARC: The wave of "anti-globalization" and the spread of "protectionism" indirectly caused by the original epidemic prevention policy may force electric vehicle brands to face the problems of chip shortage, difficult research and development, and low production. The uncertainty of chip supply has become one of the biggest challenges one. Do you agree with the statement "As one of the most complex industrial products, a reliable supply chain will become the new core and appeal of brand value, not others".
Yang Zhen: I don't agree.
A reliable supply chain is an important foundation of a product, but not all. Not to mention the new core of brand value.
China has the best supply chain in the world, but we do not yet have the best brands in the world. Brand, based on reality, but more about dreams.
WARC: In terms of marketing investment, every time you have new attempts and new explorations in marketing promotion, how will you measure the value of these investments? How is ROMI calculated? What model do you use?
Yang Zhen: Look at the full cost CPL (Cost-Per-Lead, pay per lead). Whether it is brand, effect, activity or others, we look at the CPL of the overall cost to evaluate the return on investment. The model must be kept simple and not complicated.
WARC: The topic of sustainable development has swept the world in the past two years, and consumers' awareness of environmental protection is also increasing. Some experts mentioned that the greenhouse gas emissions of electric vehicles are actually higher than those of traditional fuel vehicles during production. The process of manufacturing batteries, including mining and transportation of battery raw materials, cannot truly achieve low carbon emissions. Is this a false proposition?
Yang Zhen: There is this controversy. But from the perspective of the whole life cycle, the carbon emission of new energy vehicles is definitely better than that of traditional fuel vehicles. Especially with the development of new energy manufacturing technology, battery and energy storage technology, carbon emissions will become lower and lower. New energy must be better than gasoline vehicles, I am very optimistic about this.