Content Marketing Cage Match: The Battle of the V8 Super Car Brands


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Welcome to the third in our series of content marketing cage matches!

This time we explore V8 Super Car brands and the way they are utilising content marketing to win the hearts and minds of motoring enthusiasts.

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Content Marketing Cage Match: The Battle of the V8 Super Car Brands

  1. 1. The battle of the V8 Super Car brands.
  2. 2. Welcome to the third in our series of content marketing cage matches! One of the best ways to learn how to execute effective content marketing strategies is to examine what others are doing. Join us as we soak up the mistakes and triumphs of major brands adapting to meet their increasingly savvy digital audiences.
  3. 3. The battle of the V8 Supercar brands To mark the 2013 Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar race we’ve decided to bring the race down from the slopes on Mount Panorama and into the content marketing arena. And we could not have picked a more contentious year! In 2013, Mercedes – with the Erebus Motorsport team – and Nissan re-join the ‘The Great Race’ to challenge the prevailing rivalry between V8 giants Holden and Ford. Who will win the car race? Who cares!? Let’s see which of the four brands have turbo-charged their online content marketing to win the hearts and minds of the revheads.
  4. 4. The battle of the V8 Supercar brands Vs.
  5. 5. Like any digital community, motoring enthusiasts relish long-form online content like blogs. Through blogs, car brands have the ability to connect with their audience about all things auto. This drives affinity for the brand and reinforces its image as both the ideal auto provider and the champion V8 team. Let’s see how the four companies are utilizing both their flagship corporate blogs and their specialised motorsports blogs to capture and engage their revved-up fans online. Blog content
  6. 6. content
  7. 7. Holden HQ is a great hub of information for anyone who owns or is looking to purchase a Holden vehicle. It has articles about cars, check lists for your vehicle, safety tips, behind-the-scenes stories, maintenance tips and road trip advice. Posts are updated regularly, and it is easy to navigate between the four main sections: Holden News, Charging Up: Volt, Your Holden and Manufacturing. The blog includes an embedded Twitter feed, YouTube videos and links to Holden’s Facebook page. The Holden HQ blog provides an extremely helpful hub of content and succeeds in positioning the brand as reliable, helpful and service driven. Holden Heaven is a user-generated content website that is sponsored by Holden. The blog covers fan events, races and car clubs. While the great content on this site cannot be attributed to the Holden brand, the fact that Holden sponsors a user- generated site demonstrates its appreciation for their fans and their willingness to engage online. content
  8. 8. Blog content
  9. 9. The Holden Motorsport blog is a collection of race news, events calendars, and information about drivers and cars. With content on featured drivers and teams, an abundance of photo galleries and integrated social media streams, Holden has produced a fantastic range of content to engage its audience’s interests and connect online. The only negative is that there is no commenting function on the articles. content
  10. 10. Blog content
  11. 11. The blog section of Ford’s major website looks schmick, but it’s quite hard to find. The link is hidden away in the “About Ford” section and does not really scream BLOG. Maybe that’s because it isn’t really a blog after all. The information is sorted through four categories: Our Vision, Our Vehicles, Engineering, and Buzz. Clicking on any of these four categories makes the content shift on the screen, but there really isn’t much content. There are some videos, Tweets about Ford and CTAs that direct you away from the page to a signup form and images, but there is no real blog content to be found. Ford Australia is missing a huge opportunity to connect and engage with its target audience about its products and service offering. The site offers no intrinsic value to the site visitor except for owner manuals and servicing information. By focusing predominantly on its own PR instead of the needs and desires of their consumer base, Ford has produced a site that fails to move beyond the ‘hard sell’. content
  12. 12. Blog content
  13. 13. The content on the Ford Performance Racing site is neck and neck with Holden Motorsport. The site serves up news articles, driver and car information, a social hub, photos and season calendars. Like Holden, Ford has disabled the comment feature on articles, but the user experience on the Ford site is much more interactive with numerous prompts to connect and engage via social media. Unlike Holden, the Ford Performance Racing blog site is heavily co-branded with major sponsors Pepsi Max and Shannons (among others). For this reason, it is unclear whether the design and implementation of the site was conducted by FPR or Pepsi Max. The result? A pronounced dilution of the Ford Performance Racing brand when compared to that of Holden Motorsport. Blog content
  14. 14. Blog content
  15. 15. Nissan does not have a dedicated blog site; it only has a newsroom and owner information section on its major site. While the owner information includes some good tips about maintenance, it is a static page that is not frequently updated. There is no recently updated content besides the company news section. Nissan could be delivering so much more value to both prospective and existing customers. Bring in the pit crew! A dedicated content strategy for their flagship site is required ASAP. Blog content
  16. 16. Blog content
  17. 17. Lucky Nissan has its Nissan Nismo site! The site is split into two halves: the Jack Daniel’s racing team and the Norton racing team. This split design is interactive and provokes brand affinity and online engagement by prompting the user to select their Nissan supercar team. But what about the content? Both sides of the site have news, calendars, driver and car information, as well as social engagement tools. The quality matches up to what Holden Motorsport and Ford Performance Racing are doing, making the race for blog content between the V8 rivals a tight one so far. Blog content
  18. 18. Blog content
  19. 19. Blog content Mercedes-Benz Australia has little to no content on its site. With no dedicated blog area on the site, the only content available is PR-centric (and dry) news releases about car models. That being said, Mercedes does provide useful content to existing Mercedes customers with full owner’s manuals available for download and some information on servicing and finance. The existing customer-focused content is a good start, but like most of the other brands, Mercedes could be utilising content in a much more effective manner to grow customer acquisition and brand advocacy.
  20. 20. Blog content
  21. 21. Blog content Erebus Motorsport, which is championing Mercedes-Benz V8 supercars at this year’s Bathurst 1000, has a good section on its website dedicated to their V8 supercar team, with driver profiles and an extensive news section that is regularly updated. Although the UX is a little clunky and social media could be integrated more, the Erebus team has made a great start. The only problem? Mercedes-Benz doesn’t appear to be involved in any way. Like Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Erebus are newcomers to the Bathurst 1000, as such they need to grow their team following and increase their reputation to become a major player. By failing to partner more closely with Erebus on their content strategy, Mercedes is missing out on a major branding opportunity. You’ve lost this round, Mercedes!
  22. 22. The verdict? Holden wins! Holden! The Holden HQ blog site includes great information for car owners and enthusiasts that sets the brand apart from the other contenders. The useful how-to guides, checklists and behind-the-scenes articles demonstrate Holden’s commitment to engaging its customers with helpful and interesting content. By utilising content in this way, Holden can be seen as attempting to position themselves as the go-to source for all things auto. This is backed up by the sponsorship of a fan-generated blog. The Holden Motorsport site is equal in quality to Ford Performance Racing and Nissan Nismo, but Holden’s other blog efforts see the brand race across the blog content finish line ahead of the rest.
  23. 23. As just about everyone is aware, video content is one of the most effective ways to engage online audiences. So let’s take a look at how Holden, Ford, Nissan and Mercedes Benz are utilising this tactic online. First up, the numbers! Holden + Holden Motorsport Joined YouTube: 2008 Total videos: 183 + 175 Subscribers: 5910 + 1134 Ford + Ford Performance Racing Joined YouTube: 2010 + 2009 Total videos: 85 + 38 Subscribers: 636 + 308 Video content Nissan + Nissan Motorsport TV Joined YouTube: 2011 + 2013 Total videos: 303 + 44 Subscribers: 2494 + 269 Mercedes Benz No Australian Channel It’s clear from numbers that Nissan is really making an effort to catch up with the other car companies. Holden have a solid subscriber base and number of videos but Mercedes is just not targeting Australian viewers at all! Let’s take a closer look at the quality of the video content being produced.
  24. 24. Video content Holden’s subscriber numbers are solid, but the content is mainly PR/advertising and not much else. There are only a few ‘redeeming’ videos on their channel that attempt to move beyond the hard sell and interact with car owners online. The “How to change a flat tyre – Holden Vehicle Maintenance 101” video is one such example. The presence of this sort of how-to guide shows that engaging and providing value for viewers online was once a priority. More of this sort of video content would improve Holden’s channel and offer its subscribers more substance than scenic advertisements.
  25. 25. Video content The motorsport video content is mostly news-based, which is informative for fans tracking the racing drivers and cars. The Bathurst 2012 video series that was posted in the lead up to last year’s Bathurst 1000 was a really engaging and interesting series that gave snippets of Holden Bathurst history in animated entertaining videos. Awesome content! Unfortunately, a campaign of this type wasn’t developed for this year’s Bathurst 1000, although this rather humorous (or strange) video appeared just days before the big race.
  26. 26. Video content Ford has the fewest videos. Apart from the largely advertising based video content, the brand does have some behind-the-scenes content showing how cars are made and introducing the viewers to team members. This video has high production value and is a good example of how company profiles should be done. The majority of the content however is pure advertising. Like Holden, Ford really isn’t delivering enough engaging video content.
  27. 27. Video content The FPR YouTube channel has been around for four years but only has 38 videos! Nine of those were uploaded this year. The video content includes fan interviews at an event, behind-the-scenes footage with drivers, and information about the cars. The FPR content is great for the target audience, but there simply isn’t enough of it.
  28. 28. Video content The Nissan Australia YouTube channel has a nice balance of original video content and advertising placements, which makes the channel much more engaging than those of Ford and Holden. Nissan’s video strategy significantly leverages their sponsorship deals to provide celebrity video content like behind-the-scenes footage from Australia’s Next Top Model and review of cars from Mamamia’s celebrity bloggers. While still PR focused, these videos offer the viewer something that they would not find on TV: a unique content experience! The focus of these videos is to engage rather than to sell, and for that Nissan receives a green flag. Nissan Australia uploads motorsports videos to its YouTube as well as the separate Motorsport Channel. This is a smart move to broaden the brand’s audience reach.
  29. 29. Video content The Nissan Nismo Insider series includes great news style videos about all things Nissan Motorsport, from driver profiles to the team transport vehicles. This series gives insights into the behind-the-scenes world of Nissan racing. Considering the brand only joined this year and has uploaded 44 videos, Nissan is doing a great job in terms of content creation. The other car companies could learn a lesson or two about how to appeal to YouTube subscribers.
  30. 30. Video content Mercedes Benz Video Content Mercedes-Benz has no localised Australian YouTube channel. The brand is missing a huge opportunity to engage with the local market and create tailored content for the Australian audience.
  31. 31. The verdict? Nissan wins! Nissan Australia’s YouTube channel offers unique and engaging online content to its subscribers. Nissan has perfected the balance of advertising and original video content on the channel to create something that is a truly entertaining and valuable brand asset. The Nissan Motorsport TV channel also utilizes the Nismo Insider series as a way to give its subscribers insight into different aspects of the Nissan Motorsport world. The brand is covering all bases, and this shows Nissan knows its audience wants to be given content that is varied and entertaining.
  32. 32. Social media is the key to connecting with car owners, prospective buyers and motorsports fans. Having a strong social presence with a good strategy in place can help the car companies engage with their audience and build up trust. How are they populating their pages and what are their real time responses like? Social media
  33. 33. Holden How are they populating their page? 404,186 likes 0.02% engagement Holden’s Facebook content mostly consists of advertising images and videos, but the page is peppered with nostalgic photos and TVCs of older models for the Holden purists. With extra links to Holden games, celebrity endorsements, and galleries of motoring events, Holden’s Facebook page performs well. Followers show relatively high engagement levels from post to post. Holden has split its Twitter presence between @HoldenNews and @HoldenSupport, a good move to direct car related concerns to a specific handle.
  34. 34. Holden Motorsport How are they populating their page? 41,642 likes 0.13% engagement Holden Motorsport is hitting all of the right marks with its social media content. With tons of photos that champion the Holden Motorsport brand throughout decades, links to racing videos and galleries, as well as unique Holden image macro memes, the Holden Motorsport Facebook page is a great social media hub for Holden fans. Only criticism? While it is apparent Holden is still trying to grow the community, the tense instruction to “LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE” instruction at the end of every post is a little off- putting. Holden Motorsport is using Twitter to leverage content on their other platforms, and interacting with its followers really well.
  35. 35. Ford How are they populating their page? 84,600 likes 0.03% engagement Ford is also utilizing its affiliated competitions, celebrity sponsorships, competitions and kooky car facts to engage with fans. Unlike Holden, however, Ford has steered clear of purely advertising based content and uses this channel to showcase the way Ford as a brand interacts with people and the community at large. Ford has shown particular skill in leveraging events and sponsorships to grow brand awareness and reputation – in particular the recent posts around the Royal Australian Navy fleet review and Ford’s sponsorship of the event. Well done, Ford social team! Ford is mainly using Twitter to link to its Instagram photos. The brand could be linking to other content to improve its value offering.
  36. 36. Social media How are they populating their page? 24,455 likes 0.07% engagement The Pepsi Max Crew FPR Facebook page is a hub of photos, links to articles, news, competitions, videos and racer profiles. It is a really great example of Facebook being used through the lens of content marketing, focused on what the target market is looking for. The FPR twitter is used for connecting with fans, linking to other content online and providing real time race results. Great feature by FPR.
  37. 37. Social media How are they populating their page? 7,030,588 likes 0.02% engagement Nissan Australia has accrued a lot of likes – 7 million in fact! The sheer volume of people who have engaged with this page compared to Holden and Ford definitely raised our eyebrows, especially considering the comparative fan engagement on the Holden and Ford pages. Vanity metrics aside, Nissan has achieved a great balance of content on its Facebook page, bringing together humour, history and PR to form a consistent brand message and experience. A recent series of posts about the new Nissan Juke exemplifies a particularly savvy engagement strategy, pairing images of the Juke with cheesy pop culture catch lines and the overriding marketing tagline #ZeroApology. While the posts have garnered some negative feedback, it has gotten people taking about the model and the Nissan brand itself. Nissan rarely links to articles or news from the Facebook page, choosing instead to push fans to product pages. A greater attention to content, whether curated or original, would add an extra dimension to the brand’s presence on Facebook. #Nissan are using Twitter to mainly promote the pictures seen on its Facebook page.
  38. 38. Social media How are they populating their page? 39,838 likes 0.09% engagement The Nissan Performance Australia page content also performs well. Revolving mainly around photographic posts of Nissan Performance cars (past and present), the page consistently links to external YouTube videos and the content on the Performance website but fails to achieve the pizazz that Pepsi Max Ford Performance Racing has. Nissan Motorsport also uses Twitter for live race results and behind-the-scenes photos. The brand also links to its YouTube channel, leveraging that content on to Twitter followers.
  39. 39. Social media How are they populating their page? 102,790 Likes 0.09% engagement While heavily focused on promotional photography Mercedes-Benz Australia’s Facebook content effectively engages the audience with questions about Mercedes models, colours and most importantly ‘what it means to be a Mercedes driver’. This approach emphasises the Mercedes driver as being a part of the Mercedes online brand and community, fostering user-generated content and brand advocacy. A smart move! However, the page only links to articles take you to the international website, rather than the Australian one. Once again, more localized content is needed. Once again, Mercedes-Benz fails to compete with other the V8 brands. It has an Australian account, but hasn’t tweeted from it yet. Fail.
  40. 40. Social media How are they populating their page? 37 950 Likes 0.25% engagement Erebus Motorsport provides fantastic real time and personalised content. With hundreds of photos, regular updates and quotes from the drivers and team, Erebus Motorsport is really delivering valuable and engaging behind-the-scenes content to its fans. Erebus are delivering real time race updates , behind the scenes photographs and engagement with fans. Erebus once again proves its social media savvy with its Twitter management.
  41. 41. The verdict? Ford wins! What a close lap! The four teams are neck and neck on social media content. Holden, Ford and Erebus are fantastic at engaging the motorsport community, while Nissan and Mercedes strengths lie in interacting with the consumer. While each brand has demonstrated its social media skills, Ford just scrapes through with the win for the consistent value the brand supplies fans across multiple channels.
  42. 42. Social media Real time response strategies Holden directly responds to any negative comments or queries on its Facebook page and moves them off the timeline and into a private space. This is the perfect strategy to defuse thorny situations. Holden also uses employees’ names at the end of the posts to personalise the response and emphasise the people behind the brand. Similarly, Holden Motorsport does a fantastic job of engaging with their fans: answering questions, directing them to information off the page and interacting in conversations. Great work! Holden has made a great move by segmenting its Twitter presence between two twitter handles: @HoldenNews and @HoldenSupport. This directs the queries about service and car maintenance to a separate account, freeing up the news account for information and positive messaging. Brilliant idea!
  43. 43. Social media Real time response strategies Although Ford often struggles to answer or direct customer queries in a timely manner, they do respond in a personalised way. Like Holden, Ford follows social media best practice and moves negative conversations to private spaces. Unburdened by customer service requirements Ford Performance Racing performs well at real time social media, answering queries, making jokes and directing users to the content which answers their questions. The @FordAustralia Twitter handle acts as both a broadcast and service channel. They respond quickly to queries and escalate issues appropriately. Ford also consistently engages their followers, retweeting, answering questions and utilising hashtags. @FPR_Australia’s live race reporting is also impressive.
  44. 44. Social media Real time response strategies Nissan seems to consistently face customer service issues on their Facebook page. Unfortunately they haven’t risen to the occasion with instances of on-page interactions that should have been directly dealt with in a private message. The responses are professional, but perhaps Nissan could take a few pointers from Holden. Nismo Facebook engagement is good! The team are interacting with users and even using humour in their responses. @Nissan_Aus is tweeting a lot of behind-the-scenes images, which offers fresh content to twitter followers. They also actively engage their followers by retweeting, answering questions and engaging in conversation. Like @FPR_Australia @Nissan_MSport also features live race reporting.
  45. 45. Social media Real time response strategies The level of engagement on the other companies’ timelines is higher than on Mercedes-Benz’s. That being said, Mercedes takes the time to answer each and every comment and query. While Mercedes does respond to customer service queries and correctly take the conversations of the page, they are definitely a little slow! Erebus Motorsport V8 have fantastic engagement levels on their page because they consistently and quickly respond and engage with their fans in real time. A fantastic job! Merecedes has no localized Twitter handle pushing them out of this race! Erebus Motorsport V8 post live race updates, behind-the-scenes photographs and everything else in-between! Their real time engagement is fantastic.
  46. 46. The verdict? Another close lap but….Holden wins! Erebus Motorsport V8 come in at a close second in this round. Their friendly and personalised real time social media approach has their fans raving! However Holden must be given credit for effectively balancing both the needs of brand advocates and disgruntled customers. By directing the maintenance and customer service enquiries to the @HoldenSupport page, Holden is freeing up its news page for broadcasting the brand’s message. This separation shows that Holden understands the needs of its users, who want to connect with the company via social media for both entertainment and service troubleshooting.
  47. 47. Final scores Category Winner Blog content Video content Social media content It’s been an extremely tight race with all four brands showcasing triumphs and pitfalls in their content marketing approach. So who’s the Supercar Racing champion of content marketing? With their consistent approach to brand messaging, their clear investment in valuable content for their audience and their focus on connecting and engaging their fans and customers in real time, Holden wins this content marketing race.
  48. 48. Wrapping up! Three content marketing lessons from the Supercar brands! 1. Create and utilise content: If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place it’s time to develop one. People want helpful, entertaining and informative content to help them make informed decisions about brands and products. By failing to deliver content you fail to validate your brand. 2. Leverage partnerships: Mercedes-Benz failed to capitalise on an ideal branding opportunity. Leveraging partnerships throughout content creation and distribution can be a powerful tactic to increase brand awareness and reputation. 3. Be a truly social brand: Don’t just use social media as a broadcast tool, take the time to post behind-the-scenes photos, engage in real conversations and demonstrate that your brand is reliable and ready to facilitate service issues. All four brands deserve kudos for their social media savvy.
  49. 49. Presented by King Content, Australia’s most-awarded digital content marketing agency. Check out our blog for more ideas, facts and advice. @King_Content