Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GM--Cautious Use of Social Media in Brand Reinvention

My early morning multitasking included listening to an interview with the GM CEO on CNBC and reading the article about their new campaign in Ad Age, so I’m not sure where I heard it first. I’m reasonably sure that I heard Fritz Henderson say they had already posted the ad on YouTube although it will not be aired until tomorrow.

I was curious to see how many people had viewed it in advance of the TV campaign. I found more than I anticipated. As I thought, only 314 people had viewed it since it was posted yesterday. More interesting is the fact that there are two PPC ads on the YouTube page when you search “general motors.” One leads to the GM Reinvention site.

The site is slick and professional and hits all the right notes. It links to their Flickr, Twitter and Facebook pages. I also note that Bob Lutz’s groundbreaking Fast Lane blog now includes posts by many other GM executives in advance of Lutz’s retirement at the end of this year. Point is that the site is totally devoted to GM’s message, but it offers social media opportunities for people who want to talk.
And I’m always interested in the conversation. The first comments I looked at were on the YouTube page. There were 7 comments at the time I looked. Two were from the same foul-mouthed lout, two were clearly cheering GM on, 1 was about the ad itself, and 2 were commenting on the comments. About what you’d expect—or did you expect worse?

The (9, at the time I looked) comments on the Ad Age article were also predictable. They discuss the ad itself, the historical vision and strategy (or lack thereof) of GM—all about the message, not about cars.

The Facebook page is the most interesting of all. (Note: there’s a careful/good disclaimer that the viewer is leaving the GM site for an open site.) There are lots of “likes” of the GM material and many comments. There are many positive comments about the cars and about the importance of “buy American.” What’s even more interesting is the people who are heatedly refuting negative comments about the cars and about the importance of buying cars manufactured in North America.

It’s interesting to watch and to recognize the level of support for GM that exists among the consuming public. It’s even more interesting to wonder if GM will find a way to mobilize this support to its advantage over the coming months.

Right now it’s slick and professional and relatively controlled. Will GM find a way to put consumers in the driver’s seat—something like Ford did, perhaps? Since we’re all now shareholders, we should hope so!

1 comment:

DIY said...

Can't say I am a huge fan of GM. They were behind other manufacturers such as Toyota when it came to finding what the consumer wanted.

I live in the UK, most people go for Japanese cars rather than American. Toyota, Mitsubishi, Honda...etc...far more reliable than Ford and Vauxhall (GM UK).

I use to drive a Ford.

Nice blog by the way. :)