Global Media Award Scooped At SEMA In Las Vegas

mss win at sema

WDA is proud to have helped client MSS Suspension win the prestigious 2019 Global Media Award at their Las Vegas SEMA debut. Selected by a panel of judges from some 3,000 other products, the accolade has propelled the MSS brand and its game-changing suspension technology onto a global automotive aftermarket stage – from a standing start just two months before the show.

William Blankson, MD and Head of Engineering at MSS, spoke of his pride at bringing the award home: “To have won this award when we were in the company of exhibitors such as Bilstein and FOX Suspension is a real honour. From day one we had a brilliant response from international distributors, resellers and dealerships who are now interested in stocking our range of suspension kits”.

WDA’s journey to SEMA and The Global Media Award began back in August when we were first approached by MSS. The call came in late Friday, and the following Monday morning the team were on a train to London to pitch the investors. MSS had recently already undergone a rebrand and a brief period of marketing to its UK audience, however, the results were not felt to support global aspirations, and in particular the Company’s key objective of breaking into the North American marketplace – and a planned imminent re-launch at SEMA 2020.

A unique proposition within the AM suspension space.

MSS occupies a unique position within the marketplace as their product is very different from the familiar coilover solutions offered by the established aftermarket suspension brands. In fact, MSS utilises the OEM strut and its technology is instead built around a revolutionary dual-stacked, triple-rated spring concept. Coupled with a patented mid-mounted adjuster which allows ride height to be changed easily and also restored to original.

Much more important than what MSS is, is what MSS does to the car and for the driver. Unlike traditional aftermarket suspension, MSS delivers what are widely regarded as being mutually incompatible benefits – both improved performance handling and boosted ride refinement and comfort – in one product, and without compromise.

mss spring

Control Is Everything.

WDA’s brief was to create an iconic, world-class brand for MSS from pretty much a standing start to SEMA launch, starting with a fundamental repositioning exercise.

For any automotive brand to reach iconic status requires a deep dive into the underlying purpose which exists at its very core. Thankfully with MSS an incredible back story already existed, based around the founder’s trials and tribulations whilst on a mission to find a suspension solution for his own car.

As a keen driver himself, William had identified a specific unmet consumer need – the challenge was that his solution was to a problem that lots of the audience were either unaware of or were doubtful could be addressed.

At the very heart of the MSS proposition is the products ability to allow the driver to experience an upgraded ride across a full spectrum of different driving situations. Where traditional aftermarket suspension typically sacrifices comfort in order to deliver improved on-limit performance (and vice versa) – MSS is actually able to improve both over OE.

It was WDA’s challenge to break down preconceptions and convince the consumer that MSS really could deliver enhanced safety, comfort and high performance – in one product.

The resulting “Control Is Everything” positioning slogan not only emphatically conveys MSS’ uniquely differentiated purpose within the marketplace, but it also speaks directly to its broad audience (from fast road to SUV drivers) on an emotive level – MSS becomes the brand for those looking for total control of their own driving experience. The new positioning sits alongside the redesigned logotype and will act as a platform for all future communications.

Relaunching MSS into the marketplace

MSS Control Is Everything logo and strapline

Following a complete redesign of the MSS Visual Identity, WDA set about producing a comprehensive range of brand assets and collateral, including the new website, 3D models, imagery and print.

The shoot.

Building a bank of high-quality imagery was of critical importance to feed into a whole range of launch materials. The shot list was long – we needed imagery to capture the product, the R&D processes and capabilities of the factory, the people, the cars – and moving footage showcasing the 3 core ranges and how the product reacts and behaves fitted to different vehicles – versus OEM.

MSS on-location shoot in Southampton

The shoot took place over 3 days at MSS’ Southampton HQ. Due to the tight deadlines to hit the SEMA launch we had to fly our videographer over from France to join the photographer and Creative Lead, Gemma Lovett on set. We were able to capture a lot of footage, including the following edit featuring founder William talking about his game-changing solution – complete with the very happy accident of a spitfire landing in the background!

Brand driven website launched.

It was paramount that the home of MSS lived up to its positioning as a unique and game-changing global brand, which meant a complete overhaul of the website to both reflect the new visual identity, and also to deliver a slicker and more engaging user experience.

Research undertaken during the branding process had already identified the importance of getting over the MSS difference, and so the new site needed to clearly and immediately show as well as tell that difference which we achieved using a range of 3D animations, photography and video.

We were also keen to develop a very clean, uncluttered and pared-back interface, so that nothing obscured the core product benefit messages, and also so that the look and feel supported the high tech, premium positioning we wanted to convey.

Built by WDA from the ground up (including wire-framing and site architecture, visual design, coding, testing and launch), the new responsive site was designed around target audience profiling, persona research and customer journey mapping.

From a usability perspective, we wanted the site to answer the following simple customer questions: What is it (and how does it work)? What does that mean to me? Why is it better? How can I buy?

Launched at SEMA, the team have now begun work on phase 2 – the online shop. Visit the new website here

3D was utilised extensively to help convey the MSS technology, from animated vehicle models showing specific driving benefits (performance, comfort and safety – shown above), to highly accurate product renders including the fly-apart WebGL element which is used on the website (and shown at the top of this page), which can be grabbed and rotated/explored by the audience on desktop.

“Can I refund my MSS to get the new packaging?”

MSS new product packaging designed by WDA Automotive

Marketing doesn’t stop when the customer makes a purchase. That’s just the start of their journey and our first opportunity to build brand loyalty and improve customer retention – and this begins with the all-important ‘un-packaging moment’.

We wanted to create brand new packaging for MSS which excites the customer, and which is as visually appealing and technical as the unique product inside. Just like every other touchpoint of the new MSS brand, the new packaging has been  designed to be clean, simple and direct.

The inspiration was Apple – a brand renowned for creating iconic sensory experiences capable of communicating the Apple brand without even a logo. The packaging we have developed certainly seems to be a smash hit with the customer:

“It was obvious to me throughout the un-boxing process that someone had spent a great deal of time thinking about each step and how to make them consistent so that the overall experience was not let down.” – Karl

Can I refund my MSS to get the new packaging? – Instagram post from prior MSS customer ‘phnttom’MSS at SEMA

In addition to packaging, WDA has redesigned a whole suite of print collateral to reflect the new MSS brand identity including price lists, consumer and trade sales brochures. We also created show materials to support the SEMA launch, including the show stand display and giveaways.

Digitally Driving Sales

WDA is delivering an ongoing turnkey digital marketing solution for MSS (both B2C and B2B), incorporating search engine optimisation (SEO), regular updates to the website, paid Google and social advertising, digital press coverage, and a consistent stream of optimised blog content. We are also coordinating outreach activities and using our automotive sector expertise to recruit online influencers to help put the MSS brand in front of the right audiences.

The digital marketing activities are geared towards generating brand awareness and helping establish the MSS brand positioning, and in turn, communicating the unique core technology and how that directly benefits the driver. All these things drive desire and demand – and ultimately boost sales.

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