How does a major automotive brand empower both its customers and its sales associates with the technology to create a consistent experience online and offline? Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), embraced that opportunity by working with BeyondCurious to develop mobile applications that supported the launch of the all-new Lexus 2015 NX and RC models. A key to success was Lexus utilizing a BeyondCurious methodology, Innovation@Speed, that disrupts traditional product development approaches.
On November 13, BeyondCurious is being honored with an award from the Asian/Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE) for the work that we have done with our partner TMS Toyota Motor Sales. We were also just awarded a Gold MarCom in Mobile for the Lexus RC App. Both honors affirm the value of taking new approaches to bring ideas to market faster and more effectively, as the following case study demonstrates.
2015 Lexus RC app
A Case Study: Lexus NX and RC apps
Lexus wanted to engage and educate sales associates on two new vehicle lines—the NX and RC—before they even hit the showroom, all while using a digital app that had the broadest reach possible. These apps would go beyond education to provide associates with a genuine selling tool. The apps needed to not only target sales associates but also appeal and be useful to consumers who were researching new cars.
Our Approach: Innovation@Speed
Lexus was a perfect candidate for Innovation@Speed, which allows brands to achieve rapid results. Innovation@Speed consists of four pillars that can be applied to our partner’s business problems: integrated thinking, a hacker mindset, lean methods, and living product.
We always start from a place of integrated thinking, striving to think through all of the possible options and discover what works best. This project was no exception, leading us to examine many different approaches at the outset. It was important that the apps provided information to customers as they research potential purchases and also to salespeople so that they can be better informed. The solution: maximizing interactive content and providing features like virtual reality components which allowed visual vehicle competitor comparisons—an experience that would never even be possible in a physical retail environment. The NX and RC apps capture the essence of the Lexus brand while supporting an informed purchase decision.
A Hacker Mindset
After carefully considering the various options, we decided that using a single code base to design a solution that scaled across platforms (iOS, Android) and devices (mobile, tablet, desktop) was the correct approach. In this way we, saved time, money, and reached the broadest possible audience.
We employed a sprint-based project schedule during design and development, delivering something to the client every two weeks. For clients, this timeline provided greater visibility into what was being created. For the project team, it conferred the ability to quickly surface problems, build minimum viable products quickly, and pivot when a need emerged.
Ensuring that the apps were easily updateable and provided informative analytics were important to overall client success. To that end, both the NX and RC apps make updating and disseminating key information about the RC and NX models simple for Lexus. Analytics that measure user engagement will help Lexus understand user behavior and needs, structuring future improvements. Supporting multiple audiences, the NX and RC apps are living products that will evolve with Lexus’ brand-new vehicles.
On September 9, 2014 the apps launched, supporting hundreds of types of devices. In a review of the apps in Luxury Daily, author Joe Withey characterized the apps as “…useful for any consumer that wants to supplement their research journey…” The apps proved popular for both the consumer and the salesperson, receiving high marks on both the Google Play and Apple App store. Indeed, as Ming-Jou Chen, Dealer Development Communications Manager at Lexus College, Torrance, California, said in Luxury Daily, the apps met their goal, engaging and educating a broad audience: “Both dealers and customers benefit from the them as self-learning tools and it’s great for awareness as well.” Our Innovation@Speed methodology helped Lexus deliver a product that met business challenges with agility and speed.
Helping big brands innovate quickly is our specialty. Explore how we have helped other big brands transform themselves on our website.