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Porsche races into mobile world with iPhone app

As part of its continuing presence on mobile, Porsche has recently launched an iPhone application that gets down to the essence of its first four-door sports car, the Panamera.

The application works like a magazine, letting consumers explore all the features and aspects of the Panamera. The app provides information about the Panamera such as Porche's starting idea for the car model, as well as its development, design, technology and features.

"The strategy behind this launch is basically that it's another opportunity for us to engage with our customers and our brand enthusiasts," said Josh Cherfoli, online and relationship marketing manager at Porsche Cars North America, Atlanta, GA.

"And we know that using the iPhone and the applications within it is a truly engaging and immersive way for us to showcase our vehicles," he said.

The Porsche Panamera is the automaker's first four-door sports car and Porsche claims that it is meant to represent the spirit and experience of the Porsche brand.

The technical partner on the project was a company called Fantasy Interactive, or FI, that merged the Porsche brand with smartphone technology to create the application, which is available in the Apple App Store .

This news comes on the heels of Porsche's previous multi-channel "I Can" campaign, which produced better results in mobile ad impressions than in any other marketing channel in the campaign (see story).

The iPhone application is geared towards car lovers and brand enthusiasts who can't get enough when it comes to cars.

"We didn't necessarily target a key demographic for the application, because you can't pin-point who you deliver it to," Mr. Cherfoli said. "You make it available in the Apple App Store and people find it.

"What we are hoping is that people see the name Porsche and make a connection with the brand," he said. "Now we are in a new territory that consumers like to find us in."

The Panamera iPhone app gives consumers a behind-the-scenes magazine that covers every tid-bit of information on the Panamera four-door sports car, delivered straight from the most-used device in most people's lives: the mobile phone.

Some of the information in the application touches on Porsche's overall brand image such as content on the philosophy, motivation and design goals of the Panamera.

The application is split into two categories of information.

On the left, the user can find direct information about the Porsche Panamera, whether it is details about the vehicle or a few lines on what the vehicle represents.

On the right, the user can view more emotional content focused on Porsche as a brand and what it takes as a company to assemble these high-end vehicles.

Porsche also felt it was important to maintain the brand's quality by providing a top-of-the-line experience.

Because Porsche is based in Germany, the application needed to have localized versions for both German and English-speaking consumers.

FI used the advanced localization features of the iPhone SDK to be able to provide localized versions of the application.

Along with doing all the coding for the application, FI also thought that using sleek, powerful images inside the application would not only be more informative in terms of the Panamera, but also give users insight on the texture of Porsche as a brand.

"This is just another element of our multichannel, multimedia approaches," Mr. Cherfoli said. "Whenever we talk to or customers, we start from the standpoint of anything they receive must match or exceed what's expected of Porsche.

"This application only reinforces the legacy of Porsche and what the brand represents," he said.