Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Your Car: Road Trip through the American Automobile

There are nearly as many cars on the roads of America as there are people living here. We go everywhere and do everything in them. Many of us practically live in them, carrying many of life’s necessities (and a few of life’s oddities) with us.

So, why do we spend so much time in our cars? What is the difference between driving to transport ourselves from one place to another and driving from one mindset to another? What about the times we arrive somewhere and forget driving there at all? And, why are we compelled to live this "automotive lifestyle?"

What are we carrying in our cars? And why? What unmet or unarticulated needs does this reveal? Are our expectations of cars changing? What does the type of car we drive or the way we drive reveal? How can these insights provide companies who make cars and the everyday products we tote around in them find new and exciting innovation opportunities?

This summer, I'm going on an epic road trip to find out the answers.

My family and I (spouse and two kids) will drive more than 5,000 miles around the U.S. in 30 days, interviewing car owners and cataloguing every single item found inside their vehicles. What is uncovered will be revealed in a syndicated study to debut at the Institute for International Research's "The Market Research Event" October 2008, Anaheim CA (http://www.themarketresearchevent.com/) and in my upcoming new book, In Your Car: Road Trip through the American Automobile (2009).

In 2007, my study of women’s handbags, In Your Purse: Archaeology of the American Handbag, uncovered billions of dollars in product innovation and marketing opportunities. It also generated extensive media coverage by Reuters, Fortune, Brandweek, Advertising Age, Good Morning America, and ABC Radio, to name a few. In Your Car will be a journey of discovery, digging into drivers, their cars, their needs, and how innovators can find new ways to engage with and market to drivers and passengers. We'll also experience first-hand immersion in the automotive lifestyle, spending 30 days together in a car and visiting automotive related roadside oddities (the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo TX for example).

It’s going to be a great road trip. Want to come along for the ride? Check this blog for a daily trip-o-meter, local color from the road, and flashes of insight sure to intrigue if not boggle the mind. Use the blog to "call shotgun," climb aboard and come with us!

Also check out the "In Your Car" group on Flickr at
www.flickr.com/groups/inyourcar to view car content photos and post your own! See www.inyourcarroadtrip.com for more details on the study and www.insightfarm.com for information on me and my consulting practice.

Now, let's hit the road!