La Dolce Maserati, how sweet it is.

In late June Brandforming was in engaged by Maserati of Albany to help launch their dealership. There are currently only 18 dealerships across the US that represent Maserati of North America. Compare this to Chrysler which, by one account, has 2,390 Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in the United States or BMW with 350 and right away you see the exclusivity of the offering. Maserati is one of the great marquees of the auto world, sought after for their combination of high performance and luxury.

The challenge for  Maserati of Albany is that the dealership officially opened with the arrival of their first cars in June, however, the dealership retail store will not be completed until some time next year.

So how do you launch a dealership without a destination worthy of the cars themselves?

The Brandforming team sat down with the owners of the dealership, the DePaula family, to discuss some ideas and gain some insight into their approach to running one of the most successful Chevrolet dealerships in the entire country. During our conversation we were interrupted by a number of calls from customers. Every call was answered and every need attended to by a member of the DePaula family. This was a great example of why DePaula were awarded one of the few Maserati Dealerships in the US, impeccable service.

As members of the community, the DePaula family support a number of charitable organizations. From these insights was born the idea for the introduction of the Maserati brand to the Albany Capital Region.

La Dolce Maserati and the #DePaulaDriveForACause were conceived as a way to link the charitable works of the DePaula Family with their love of automobiles.

The program consists of an auction prize, La Dolce Maserati, presented at a series of Gala events in Saratoga as part of an on-going charitable program call the DePaula Drive For A Cause.

La Dolce Maserati features 2 packages for 4 people, a total of 8 from each event, to experience the sweet life. On Oct. 4 participants will board the scenic Saratoga-North Creek Railway. They will ride in a vintage art deco dining car with a glass viewing roof and take in the views as they travel north into the mountains. The train ride was donated by the Saratoga and NorthCreek Railway. On board the train, participants will be served fine Italian delicacies compliments of Mazzone Hospitality. Upon arrival in North Creek, guests will be greeted by members of the Maserati team. Once checked out with their cars, participants will head off for a spirited drive through the mountains. On the return trip, guests will receive more food and beverage and a gift bag to continue La Dolce Vita at home.

We developed the package and set to work creating the content to drive the engagement. Activation consisted of placement of content about the event in Gala brochures, placement of cars at key venues around Saratoga, plus an exciting public relations package. The package included test rides for the media at opening day of the the horse track in Saratoga. This highly engaging content became the backbone of the social media strategy.

The Brandforming team executed this with flawless precision. The DePaula Drive For Charity continues to receive enormous support from the community; with nearly $20,000 raised for various charities, including Saratoga Hospital.  The Oct 4 train ride is sold out with 50 participants. Maserati of Albany went from near zero awareness to being top of mind and the talk of the season. Best of all, they sold a number of these very fine automobiles and elevated support for their favorite charities.

People love knowing they can have fun and help their community at the same time, we couldn’t agree more.

A great deal of what the team achieved can be found on the event Facebook page The page and various posts reached well over 3 thousand people, achieved 450 likes and it’s been followed by local media. In addition, we achieved media pickup during a national horse racing broadcast, primetime news coverage and front page press coverage —  you can find it all on the Facebook page.

This case proves, once again, that when you #HeadForTheHeart, great things happen. Look for another blog post about this project as we move into the fall.