In the meantime, what sparked my interest was the new Volvo C30 – a sleek three door hatch which reminds me of the Volvo P1800 (driven by the Saint and also owned by a friend’s dad when I was a youngster).
What’s fascinating is that during a search for more information about the new C30, I stumbled across a blog by the designer - Simon Lamarre. His C30 Designer Blog describes the inspiration for the car, talks about the excitement of seeing ‘his’ car launched, and the recent press trips to test the new car.
As a prospective customer, this was great. I gained an insight into the life of the designer – not just the inspiration behind the vehicle, but also the politics and the bureaucratic hurdles that need to be negotiated. The blog contains sketches as well as a record of his feelings and experiences. Lamarre also talks about the reaction inside the company (which is part of Ford) to the blog.
The blog is powerful for a number of reasons:
¡ It’s written by an individual who is obviously passionate about the project – the enthusiasm shines through in the writing
¡ The blog provides added depth to the consumer experience – the opportunity to enter into a dialogue with the man who designed the vehicle
¡ The blog is also one step removed from Volvo – Lamarre is doing it as an individual, not on the corporate web site but through blogspot.com
In short the blog maintains a feeling of independence and impartiality, so that the motivation appears to be sharing the unique experience of launching a new car, rather than a cynical marketing exercise to attract early adopters. Of course it works as a promotional tool exactly because of this.