Porsche Canada reaches for a new demographic

With the hiring of Colas Henkes as director of marketing, the company looks to reach younger, female and ethnic segments.
Colas Henkes

When Colas Henkes takes over as marketing director of Porsche Canada in July, he will look to implement a digital and experiential-focused marketing strategy to target a younger and more diverse clientele, according to the brand’s Canadian CEO, Marc Ouayoun.

Ouayoun, who replaced Alexander Pollich as CEO in January, says he brought on Henkes, his former colleague from Porsche France, to work on new experiential marketing initiatives, including more branding work around its Porsche Track Experience in Toronto, to help reach a new kind of customer.

In Canada, the automaker is focused on reaching younger, female and ethnic consumer segments. Specifically, Ouayoun says, it has looked to target the Canadian Asian population, creating segment-specific social content and hiring Mandarin-speaking sales staff in the GTA and Vancouver region to better serve customers. Under Henkes, Ouayoun also hopes to push Porsche Canada into more of the luxury lifestyle space through partnerships with Michelin-star restaurants.

“With that direction, we can have a much larger target group than focusing only on what we already know,” he says.

Henkes has been the top marketer at Porsche France since 2008, having previously served as its press and public relations manager. He also brings with him experience in PR, sales and marketing from BMW France. Effective July 2, he takes over from Margareta Mahlstedt who has left to head the marketing department at Porsche Great Britain.

The company continues to work with Toronto-based Camp Jefferson after having named it as its AOR in March 2017, following a review process.

In France, Henkes helped Porsche establish a content platform that would “feed” its social networks with branded content in order to build “more consistent social network activity for the dealerships,” says Ouayoun.

He also helped develop Porsche’s customer experience management strategy at the wholesale and retail levels, helping create more emotion and consistency throughout its dealership network and playing a key role in bridging its sales and marketing activities, says Ouayoun.

As part of his Canadian mandate, Henkes will support the launch of new Porsche hybrid and electric models over the next couple of years. The company recently released an extension of the Panamera line and will be launching the next generation of the Cayenne SUV, a premium hybrid model, next year. Ouayoun says the next step is launching its fully electric vehicle (whose name has not yet been decided), expected to be in market in about a year-and-a-half.

Porsche Canada sold 8,249 units in 2017, up 17% from the previous year. But the company is not just looking at volume growth, says Ouayoun. “For us, what we need is a consistent brand, a good product launch and to explore and activate all the potential that the market has.”