Although I am a committed to my Toyota 4Runner, I admire the Jeep brand and its ability to attract drivers of all ages and lifestyles. Jeep users are also decidedly loyal. Driving a Jeep offers entrance into a community of drivers who wave at one another, gather at Jeep off-road events, and share a history of 70 years of Jeep.
After perusing some online forums, I found that Jeep drivers are even more passionate than I expected. One owner expresses disdain for the “new Wrangler” drivers who don’t wave: “Very offensive!” There is a guide that ranks drivers of older, more rugged Jeeps with more battle scars and accessories like tow hooks more highly than newer, conservative models. Online forums, Facebook groups for enthusiasts, and social media sites engage drivers and build loyalty.
In honor of Jeep’s 70th anniversary, they have created a digital campaign called “My Jeep Story”, in which drivers can submit memories with their Jeeps. The campaign features celebrity drivers as well, but accepts submissions from anyone. Showcasing user-generated content reinforces the brand as authentic and adventurous. It also connects drivers to the brand. To be sure, brands are truly owned by their consumers who shape them.
The Jeep-produced features include athletes like Paul George, singers like Ciara, and war heroes who used Jeeps in World War II. The diversity of drivers and the purpose for which they drive depict Jeep as a car for anyone. Its message is quintessentially American-though we are diverse, we are all American.