, along with Sao Paulo
-based digital agency Agencia Click Isobar
, has been working on its crowd-sourced concept car for well over a year, but this week's Sao Paulo Automotive Show saw the car brought to life as the centrepiece of the brand's showcase at the trade fair.
As Brazil's most popular automotive brand, the potential difficulties in inviting people to contribute their idea of the car of the future were myriad, but, with the agency's help, Fiat built a web platform and assembled a group of contributors that outstripped their expectations.
has received over 10,000 suggestions from over 160 countries, which were refined by the team at Agencia Click and presented to Fiat. From suggestions about what people most want from their cars - from the number of passenger and environmental credentials to entertainment options - the brief was refined, and the crowd entered into a dialogue with Fiat's designers, who are careful to point out that they are more guardians of the car than creators.
Peter Fassbender, manager of Fiat's Centro Estilo and responsible for the brand's design in Brazil explained: 'A good designer tries to realise the wishes of everyone, and with this concept car we were truly working on everybody's behalf. The group of designers working in the Fiat Mio house were totally open. There was transparency about every decision, which were all communicated online and commented on. This is completely different to the usual design process, which is entirely hidden and secretive.'
Agencia Click's Creative VP, Raphael Vasconcellos de Oliveira, added: 'The most important output for the brand was learning the benefits of listening to their consumers. The creatives at Fiat and in the agency didn't have control of the process, but things are richer because of the passionate contributions.'
'Companies working in this way have to listen to things that maybe they don't like and deal with truths about how the consumer sees your brand. I think this opens up a new way of doing business for Fiat, putting creative thinking inside the company.'
Compared to the grunt of acknowledgement of a Facebook Like
, Fiat's project shows a genuine desire to enter into an ongoing discussion with consumers and to produce a car that they want to drive and feel they have invested in, from concept to reality. The sense of ownership that the crowd feels is such that the car will be shown via a live stream on Wednesday - the first day that the area is open to the public, with first impressions submitted via Twitter
Although currently a concept, the next question for Fiat isn't about how the Mio will develop, instead the brand is starting to think about what questions it will throw to the crowd next, to keep the community on its toes and ensure that the established relationship continues to be one that the brand can learn from.
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