Brand innovation in Škoda: the future is of Emerging Technologies.

In a scenario in which the collaboration between brands and innovative technologies is increasingly frequent, these are radically revolutionising the position of global firms towards them, who begin to taste the potential and begin to exploit them within their marketing strategies and beyond.

One of the global brands fascinated by the possibilities that these technologies bring to the level of engagement, costumer experience and training is Škoda Auto, a Czech car manufacturer, founded in 1923 in Plzeň, now detached and owned by the Volkswagen AG group.

In recent years Škoda Auto has opened to innovation, including in its strategies both virtual tour and 360 videos, to highlight the brand heritage and vintage models and, virtual showroom, virtual reality and augmented reality features to allow customers to approach in a revolutionary way the brand and new products. However, the use and penetration of innovative technologies within Škoda is not limited to costumer experience, marketing or communication, since the cutting-edge technologies are also integrated in the internal processes of the firm.

Deepening the theme of services offered to the consumer, they were able to fully customise their automobile using virtual reality in store, deepening the tiniest of details, and view the new model from all sides and angles, inside and out, and in varied lighting situations. On the same line, ŠKODA AR app, was developed to offer customers a closer look at the KAROQ model offering a personalisation between 14 colours, 7 different wheel types and 2 trim levels. Once personalised, people were able to visualise their preferred car, like in a garage or parked in front of the house, or participating to a fun test drive, all before visiting the showroom.
Showroom concerning, Škoda Auto has launched a pilot project of a virtual showroom in Insraeli soon extended to other markets, as, especially after the pandemic, the digitalisation of all areas of the business has been increasingly reinforced. Using the virtual showroom portal, customers may examine the automobiles online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, exploring the sales area at their leisure, finding an appropriate model, and customise it using the online tool. All relevant information and technical data are clearly given, and the car can be examined from numerous perspectives and angles. Additional features, such as virtual reality, may be also included into the virtual showroom.

The virtual visits are not only reserved for modern showrooms and current models, in fact it is also possible to make a virtual visit through different narrated video tours inside the Škoda Auto Museum.

Finally, is worthy of mention the Škoda 360’ VR drive, where customers simply accessing YouTube can experience an historical drive, and letting them being immersed in the past of the heritage models.

As mentioned before, the digitalisation of all areas of the Škoda business has been increasingly reinforced; in fact, the firm is internally experimenting with HoloLens glasses and an augmented reality programme, to help with manufacturing line maintenance and provide advanced training for employees. Manuals, maintenance checklists, and other features can be projected as holographic pictures directly into the employee’s field of vision deepening the understanding of the processes and problems and mostly, saving time. The features visualised through the AR glasses can also be shared and used remotely with colleagues to enhancing training and learning processes.

Skoda, and its various uses of advanced technologies show us how these cutting-edge technologies can be increasingly integrated into the innovations processes of global brands, and, in particular, of how these technologies, integrated at different levels of business, can undoubtedly bring tangible benefits to the brand awareness between the costumers, to the reputation and also and above all, to engage people through and extraordinary and innovative costumers experience, leading directly to an increase of sales.