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Car Stereo To Hold Summit On Consumer Awareness

3/28/2008 04:09:00 PM Eastern

Los Angeles - Five leading car stereo suppliers met yesterday, in what was termed an unprecedented spirit of cooperation, to plan an industry summit to raise consumer awareness about autosound.

The summit, to be held in Dallas, July 16-17, was first suggested by Pioneer during International CES in January. Last week, Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, Clarion, and Directed met in person and by conference call to form a steering committee for the summit. The mission of the summit is to take action against a 30 percent drop in awareness for aftermarket car audio over the past five years.

Organizer of the meeting and the summit, Greg Sabatino, chairman of Sabatino Day Williamson Group, an advertising agency/seminar planning group, said the meeting was more than cooperative. “It amazed everybody. We had Pioneer and Alpine in the same room. The meeting went for an hour and 45 minutes without breaks; no one left the room or the call and I was just astonished. First, it’s very difficult to even get competitors like that together.”

He said only one subject was discussed, which was awareness. “Everyone acknowledged that hard research from more than one source has shown that awareness of the 12 volt aftermarket has dropped precipitously.” 

Coyote Insight presented research at the meeting claiming awareness of the aftermarket was 60 to 70 percent five years ago and has fallen to closer to 30 percent, said Sabatino.

The group noted that while some people may be aware of aftermarket car audio they don’t understand its real advantages and consumers generally believe that a factory sound system is good enough. “We have to explain why good enough is just not good enough,” Sabatino said.

Industry groups in the past have initiated advertising campaigns to grow awareness, such as the “Got Milk” campaign as noted at CES by Pioneer marketing and product planning VP Larry Rougas.

The two-day summit, to be held at the Dallas Wyndham DFW Airport North will feature a day of seminars followed by a day of meetings where a coherent plan will be offered and ratified.  

Sabatino said his company’s role is “to make sure there’s an actual plan. There’s a voting structure where we actually walk out of the meeting with an action plan and people to run it.” He said the plan could include a public relations campaign, an advertising plan or other actions. The actual division of Sabatino Day running the seminar is called Acumen.

Pioneer and Alpine are sponsoring the summit at present but more suppliers are expected to add their support.

More information such as dealer cost of attendance will be decided over the next 30 days, said Sabatino. Information will be continuously updated at www.12voltsummit.com.

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