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Bentley tells ‘Extraordinary’ stories

Brand immersion: The Bentley Be Extraordinary Tour kicks off this week in Melbourne before moving to Sydney in early December.

Be Extraordinary Tour kicks off as Bentley focuses on customer experience

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Bentley logo25 Nov 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

BENTLEY has launched a travelling customer experience pop-up that allows potential customers to immerse themselves in the brand’s history and product range.

Dubbed the Be Extraordinary Tour, Bentley’s latest marketing exercise kicks off in Melbourne this week outside Crown Casino where it will stay until November 27, before continuing on to Sydney from December 7 to 9.

Other major cities, including Brisbane, are likely to be on Bentley’s itinerary, and the brand experience centre is also likely to pop up at events such as the Bathurst 12 Hour race in February and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne in March.

The aim of the road show is to provide an introduction to the Bentley world, with the iconic British car-maker describing it as “an immersive first-hand opportunity to showcase the exquisite craftsmanship, rich racing heritage and the extraordinary people and stories behind the Bentley badge”.

Throughout the marquee, Bentley has included visual stories detailing everything from the process of selecting hides and the length of time it takes to hand stitch the steering wheel in the Mulsanne, to looking back at the company’s racing success.

Bentley is also using the opportunity to promote its Bentley Financial Services arm that has just launched in Australia.

The models covered by the finance in Australia are the Continental GT V8 and the Flying Spur V8.

Bentley Asia-Pacific dealer sales manager David Simpson said the idea behind the tour was to share some of the extraordinary stories behind the brand that would hopefully connect with a potential customer.

“The main aim was to have an immersive environment,” he told GoAuto at the launch event this week.

“We are not just telling stories, we are getting people to live these stories with us. Every time we found one of the 21 extraordinary stories, everyone’s face lights up when you hear it. We want the same effect on customers, and potential customers. We would like people to understand more about our history and our future as well.” As well as the tour, Bentley has moved into brand experience pop-up stores in locations in the United Kingdom and Europe that Mr Simpson described as a “boutique, immersive environment” featuring branded goods, including items from Bentley Home.

Mr Simpson said the purpose of a retail store for Bentley was about providing people with an experience and giving them information to explore the brand.

“It’s about being accessible. People will always walk into a showroom and know a lot about the cars and products,” he said.

“For us at Bentley, it’s more than talking about extraordinary horsepower and 0-60 miles per hour times, although they are incredible, it’s more about people understanding what it means to be part of a brand like Bentley and that is the people who make the cars, the people who drive the cars, as well as the cars themselves.” When asked if there would always be a need for Bentley to have a physical retail space, Mr Simpson said dealerships were evolving beyond what people expected.

“I think our retail environments are becoming, these days, far less like a typical showroom. We find most customers are repeat customers or multiple owners that are friends of the brand.

“They want to come to the showroom and want to have a coffee and talk to the salesman and look at what is new and talk about the new diesel that’s been launched and there is far less pressure in an environment like that and it removes itself from being a sales environment. We want our showroom to be almost a home for customers to come to.” Mr Simpson said the Lance Dixon dealership in the inner northern Melbourne suburb of Collingwood was a great example of Bentley’s shifting retail environment.

“We find that our showroom here in Collingwood is just removed enough from the city that people will come in for an hour, enjoy a coffee and head back to the city because they feel welcome enough in that environment. We focus on the retail environment, on configuring a hospitality space and far less on the salesman’s desk and service desk.”

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