The Challenge

In early 2020, COVID-19 hit and social and economic uncertainty spread, consumers reduced their spending and the global economy contracted. The automotive industry was hit badly. Global vehicle sales declined sharply and brands found themselves competing for the attention of a smaller pool of customers. Manufacturers had to rethink the way they would position, launch and market their products.

With this in mind, a multinational manufacturer set out to better understand the media uptake of their media launch, in which 250 journalists were invited to test drive a new vehicle. With a new car set for October 2021, an auto brand engaged Cision to investigate the reach, volume and penetration of key messages across various media. Cision was also tasked with journalist rotation tracking, which maps journalists’ outputs following the media launch.

The key aims:

  • Monitor and analyse the initial global launch in October 2021 and the media launch in April 2022
  • Report on the reach, volume and penetration of key messages across automotive, technology, lifestyle and business media
  • Track competitor activity to allow the business to leverage key learnings from other original equipment manufacturers and implement them into future strategies
  • Create a benchmark for the performance of previous and future launches
Automotive Case Study


The Approach

Cision used a two-pronged approach to track the reception of the vehicle launch, from its initial global unveiling to the moment just before customers received their orders.  

Monitoring the reporting cycle at regular intervals (24 hours, 48 hours, 7 days and 28 days) after both the launch and media launch, Cision produced eight reports that tracked key metrics accurately against key performance indicators (KPIs) for each stage. 

Cision also curated a target media sample from outlets with a readership of high-net-worth individuals – or future customers – to measure the effectiveness of the brand’s initiative to focus on luxury. This project focused on presenting the manufacturer as a luxury brand rather than just a car manufacturer.

The key messages to monitor included design, technology, refinement, powertrains and Special Vehicle (SV). Cision used qualitative research techniques to find a list of key topics that could support the pillars of the brand’s luxury initiative.

Lifestyle penetration was a top priority for both the launch and media launch. Cision dove deep into the data to uncover findings about competitor launches that would provide useful insights. 

In addition to key message and lifestyle media penetration, Cision measured the performance of social media during the launch. For the media launch, on the other hand, the additional focus fell on journalist rotation tracking as well as with key outcomes and takeaways from the drives.


Key Findings

Cision was able to draw actionable insights from both the launch and media launch, as well as other internal activations and competitor activities. This helped the auto brand understand the effectiveness of these activities and their value in promoting the release of new vehicle models.

Some of the key findings included:

  • Media launch drives publication: 66% of automotive journalists who attended published an article about the new vehicle within 28 days
  • The earlier, the better: Journalists on early rotations were more likely to publish, with an average of 90% of media professionals in the first four rotations publishing within 28 days
  • Key messages shine: Almost all of the articles published following the media launch included key messages, with 99% referencing design, refinement and technology, and 98% touching on powertrain
  • Online is effective: Online outlets accounted for 97% of coverage and tended to be quicker to publish than their print counterparts 
  • Lifestyle media loves luxury: Lifestyle media makes a greater contribution to vehicle visibility than any competitor launches


Turning Insights Into Action

Cision’s team of experts helped the automotive brand better understand the value of using a media launch to promote the release of new vehicles and models.

The insights gathered using journalist rotation tracking indicated which media were most likely to publish coverage about the release, as did Cision’s analysis of the target media. This has enabled the manufacturer to better strategise future launches to increase key message reach and penetration. 

By tracking launches across automobile manufacturers, Cision was also able to gather qualitative and quantitative data about competitors. This gave the brand an edge, allowing it to leverage key learnings from competitors and incorporate them into future strategies. 

Furthermore, Cision curated key qualitative data from the media launch, including reports relating to the car’s handling capabilities, size, design, and other elements. These insights can support and inform key decision-making around future developments for upcoming vehicles.

Automotive Case Study

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