Our goal during this time was to hold the mic for as long as we could – that included using SM to its fullestWe had nothing to lose and everything to gain – we were as transparent and open as possibleSome thought it was good, some thought we were saying too much – we were used to being beat up so why not?Opportunity to change perceptions one person at a time – it’s clearly micro targeting to the very personWent from being on Twitter – to using it -- to posting on FacebookBiggest win was that Fritz Henderson was completely behind our effortUnderstands significance of SM and potential – has completely embraced itCreated extended Social Media team to engage GM Communications team to support communication effortsRepresented at least one member from Brands, Regions, Manufacturing, Marketing, Product Planning, Technology, Finance, Corporate, Policy and DesignLive “Tweeting” from GM Communications team during executive broadcast interviews, sales call, press conferences and congressional hearings Rapid Response engagement via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and influential blogs Fastlane posts from Fritz HendersonLive chats with Ray Young (Twitter) and Fritz Henderson (Fastlane)NPR Planet Money Podcast with Ray Younggmreinvention.com was built to include social network sharing toolsFlip cameras – leveraging content – minimal costVideos and comments posted to the page around June 1 received more than 750 comments in about 3 weeks. 1,511 fans made use of the Facebook interaction tools by “liking” the posts (in those three weeks)Went from zero to 12,000 fans in first three days; today more than 105,000.
The night before we filed Chapter 11, I sent my entire social web communications plan to six hyper-influencers from the online community. Yep, everything. The whole plan. I trusted them not to release it early… and they didn’t. I didn’t tell my bosses… because they would have shot me. But I knew that it would be quite notable to them that we planned on having an active social media program going DURING THE FILING. I wasn’t trying to get them to love us or admire us… I was alerting them to a remarkable story.
Product and Technology showcase: Consumer Day 1 (media got same experience… on Day 2)Invited 100 consumers, influencers and bloggers to experience GM “Hands On”Trip included exclusive tour of GM Design showcasing forthcoming products and concepts, PPO build shop to witness Chevy Volt production, full product ride and drive at Milford Proving Grounds and TweetUpGuests were encouraged to share their experience throughout the program@GMBlogsRT’ed comments, photos and links to guest’s blogsPosted comments to personal and corporate Facebook pagesCreated photostream feed to share photos taken throughout the tourProduct and Technology showcase : Consumer and Media Day 2Live blog cast on Fastlane blog to give online audience an opportunity to experience the showcaseStreaming video of F.Henderson live press announcementSolicited questions online to be answered by F.Henderson during live broadcast – Received more than 2,000 questionsBlogcast featured pre-recorded design videos, testimonials captured during Consumer event and pictures from Design, PPO and MilfordConducted 10 Live webchats with executives and team members from each brand, Volt and GMLabsIncluded live Twitter comments and activities from multiple GM team membersCreated Facebook widget to post live blogcast on General Motors, Cadillac and Chevy Facebook sitesBlogcast was viewed live by more than 3,000 people Launched “GM Labs”Interactive website featuring current Design projects and concepts
Rather than tell our Quality story through “same old” interviews with plant workers & GM talking heads, we took a page from Mythbusters or How It’s Made… telling our Quality story through humor and fast pacing. Most of our other videos got ~1000 views in several months; 1st episode of Dept 180 drew >11,000 in first week.Bonus unexpected side benefit: we had this series in the works since early November, always targeting a Feb 1 launch. It just worked out perfectly that one of our competitors happened to be being grilled on Capitol Hill that week about their quality issues. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good!
It’s not always about reaching the broadest audience. You have to redefine “influence” and realize that within every small community there is someone who has proportionally greater influence within that community than a broadcast or major site. You search for “the Oprah effect” – you know, when Oprah gets on her show and holds up a book and says “this is what I’m reading,” and tomorrow it’s atop the NYT bestseller list? There is someone in every community – whether that community has 400,000 readers or 400 – who is the Oprah within that community. She or he has that much influence within that community, by virtue of the experiences they’ve shared, the things they’ve written, the insight they display. And given the choice between landing a big hit in the WSJ or USAT, or winning positive reviews and mentions from these Oprahs… sometimes, it’s best to go for the Oprahs. It just goes to prove that companies need to adjust our attitudes toward what constitutes “worthwhile” outreach. Often, expending a lot of effort on one person pays off greater dividends than aiming for the broadest reach.
San Diego, Lansing, Detroit, Chicago, North Carolina, Atlanta, Florida, New YorkImportant note: from March 8 through March 11, Chevrolet social properties were controlled by these influencers; we didn’t moderate, we didn’t “approve.” When you went to the Chevy Posterous page or facebook.com/chevrolet, the content you saw was created solely by the road trip teams.
More than 13,000 “tweets” resulting in 58,400,000 impressions in 10 days (previously we were mentioned about 30 times per day)Road Trip alone generated more than 1,500 pieces of content, nearly 60 traditional media placementsVolt Recharge Lounge consistently full to overflowing for entire length of festivalAdded 1,000+ followers to @chervolet – an increase of 55% in less than one monthAdded more than 5,000 Facebook fans (about a 7.5% increase) in two weeksMentioned in more than 1,100 blog posts about SXSW (in 10 days)Received more than 250+ “traditional media” placements in 10 daysFavorable (raving!) posts about the Volt from Dom Sagolla, Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, Leo LaPorte, Jason Falls, several others
HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HELP YOUR BRAND STRATEGY WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
BSI<br />HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA HELP YOUR BRAND STRATEGY WHEN THINGS GO WRONG<br />Marketing 2.0 Conference, Paris 2010<br />
The Social Web, Crisis Response & Reputation Rejuvenation<br />Christopher Barger<br />Director of Social Media, General Motors<br />Twitter: @cbargerMarketing 2.0 Conference <br />22 March, 2010<br />
Social networking, GM and Chapter 11<br />Created temporary extended social media team to engage everywhere possible<br /> “Live Tweeted” from every live interview or press conference<br />Engaged in multiple social networks and platforms<br />Ensured that traditional media knew of efforts<br />@cbarger<br />
Lesson #1: You cannot overcommunicate<br />For general engagement & “normal” business, it’s better to strategize & choose right channels for your goal…<br />In a crisis, answering as many questions as possible & letting people know you’re listening is vital – both because those affected expect it, & because it introduces your perspective into the conversation – so a broad, all-platforms approach is most effective<br />The best balance is weighted strongly toward answering questions and addressing concerns, not just pushing information<br />@cbarger<br />
Reaching out to influencers<br />@cbarger<br />
Lesson #2: Let others tell your story<br />Others will be interested in how you handle your crisis from a social media perspective. So tell them, and let them tell others.<br />We didn’t contact anyone in hopes that they would turn into an advocate. We just wanted them to tell the story – and knew that the story would drive people to us. <br />Perceived loss of control is always terrifying, but especially during a crisis. Do it anyway. (You never really had control anyway.)<br />@cbarger<br />
Results<br />Between Twitter, Facebook and blogs, we engaged in >800 conversations that week<br />Reaction online to our activity was almost universally positive<br />Got 40+ new GMers engaging on Twitter<br />Reinvention website garnered half a million views<br />Traditional media noticed, covered, even used our feeds<br />FB fan page growth <br />@cbarger<br />
Lesson #3: Measure, and report<br />There will be skeptics inside the organization who don’t think a social web play at this time was smart – and who will be looking for reasons to pull back. You will need lots of examples of why they’re wrong. Use them.<br />Show the shooters every positive tweet, every measurement report, every metric you can think of to justify/add credibility to the effort. You’ll have momentum to take you to the next step.<br />@cbarger<br />
Hands on Engagement<br />Product and Technology showcase<br />Invited 100 consumers, influencers and bloggers to experience GM “Hands On”<br />Trip included exclusive tour of GM Design showcasing forthcoming products and concepts, PPO build shop to witness Chevy Volt production, full product ride and drive at Milford Proving Grounds and TweetUp<br />Guests were encouraged to share their experience throughout the program<br />@cbarger<br />
Hands on Engagement<br />“After this event it is safe to say, I can say I feel GM has a real future and great product in the pipeline” – Joelfeder.com<br />“General Motors made me feel like my opinion mattered. (They asked for it. A lot.) Not only was this a huge ego boost for me, but it says a lot about the company, to want so many opinions.”– Notes of Cheerful Calamity<br />@StephanieclickThere are not enough good things to say about yesterday's event. So grateful that I was invited. Trying to process all that I saw!<br />@cbarger<br />
Lesson #4: Follow up matters<br />Community will expect continued engagement. <br />Reputational repair begins with demonstrating change, and the sense that you value the relationships forged during the crisis.<br />Absent significant follow up, community could see your reputational efforts as PR/marketing.<br />@cbarger<br />
Listening to consumers<br />“Michaelbanovsky: Sweet! #GM actually listened for once! Now I know I talked to #fritz about the #G8… http://tr.im/wHpq”<br />Nsap: is impressed GM is listening when it comes to product...good for them! Keep it up!! @gmblogs @bpgjim @cbarger”<br />@cbarger<br />
Becoming more open<br />“The Lab seems to be a solid first step in engaging designer and customer in a productive, conversational way. This marks a turning point in the use of social media as a truly two-way street into and out of automotive companies outside of the PR department” – Downsideupdesign.com<br />New GM Media site incorporates social tools – makes news more sharable, and now open to all forms of media<br />@cbarger<br />
Lesson #5: Provide value<br />Community’s wants/needs/interests come first. This is always true but especially so during a reputational rebuild. Listen as much as you talk.<br />Demonstrate change. Do some things people wouldn’t expect from you. Show that you’re listening as well as talking.<br />Adopt “one at a time” as your mindset, not just your mantra. Broad gestures often don’t mean nearly as much as small ones. Every person won back is a win, no matter how much effort has to go into winning them back. Treat them like family even after they’re in the family.<br />If you want them to be advocates, you have to let them advocate. Give them what they need to be effective – information, product, or whatever it takes.<br />Remember that real life really matters. Incorporate real life interaction into your online relationships – experiential marketing is a huge component of reputational repair. As Spike Jones has said, 90% of word of mouth still happens offline.<br />@cbarger<br />
In Action: Chevrolet @ SXSW 2010<br />Goal: Re-establish Chevrolet within social web<br />Objectives:<br />Drive buzz/enthusiasm for Chevrolet among influencers<br />Generate attention and buzz for Chevrolet Volt<br />Begin or build upon relationships with digital influencers<br />Drive followers/fans to Chevrolet social properties to continue the relationship<br />Strategy:<br />“Help people have the experience they came to SXSW to have.”<br />Be part of the experience, not impose upon it<br />“We’ll get credit by not taking credit”<br />
See The USA in a Chevrolet: A SXSW Road Trip<br />8 teams of social web players from across the US embarked on a 4 day road trip to Austin<br />Along the way, they engaged in an “Amazing Race” style contest – needing to achieve 50 “challenges” before arriving in Austin<br />Challenges were in 5 categories: Charity, Collections, Physical Challenge, Interaction and Digital<br />Missions were “crowdsourced” via Twitter <br />@chevrolet + each team’s Twitter community<br />Follow along on team sites, Chevy sites (lifestreaming, Twitter, FB)<br />All teams received:<br />Chevy-funded Tweetups in their hometown after SXSW<br />Chance to drive the Chevrolet Volt in Austin<br />VIP passes to Chevy SXSW events<br />@cbarger<br />
“The Volt Recharge Lounge”<br />Central Chevrolet presence within Austin Convention Center<br />High traffic corner of ACC, adjacent to food court<br />Floor to ceiling glass walls, Volt parked on sidewalk immediately outside in full view, SMEs on hand<br /><ul><li>Playing off Volt theme, offer attendees chance to “recharge” both their devices and themselves</li></ul>-- Power strips to plug in laptops <br />-- Chargers for smartphones (total: 100+)<br />-- Lounge chairs, sofas<br />-- SoBe products provided <br />-- Demo OnStar/Volt iPhone app<br />-- All other outlets in ACC were power stripped & branded with <br />
Other SXSW tactics<br />“Catch A Chevy” – shuttle/taxi service around Austin<br />VIP Volt drives (closed course)<br />Short, informal video shot and published immediately<br />TweetHouse party opening night (open to public)<br />Private influencer party <br />Major technology debuts:<br />Augmented Reality iPhone app<br />QR Codes <br />Partnered with Gowalla for location-aware brand interaction<br />
What the social web thought<br />“Who won the marketing and promo prize? My vote goes to Chevrolet who scored big with interoperable, viral, smart branding and promotion–online, offline, and in-line.” -- Peersuasion<br />“I take my hat off to Chris Barger and his Chevy/GM team for really being the marketing darling of SxSW with their Volt activation.” – Jaffe Juice<br />“Chevy showed up in a big way and really showcased that they knew how to work directly with this community.” – C.C. Chapman<br />“Chevy gets it. Chevrolet's Posterous blog is one of the best examples I've seen of a major corporation embracing casual video.” – Steve Garfield<br />
Lessons learned: final thoughts<br />Open, candid engagement can win admiration, mitigate negativity<br />Need to be engaged prior to crisis to have earned credibility<br />Engagement during a crisis only goes so far: you have to back it up after the crisis with sincerity and action<br />Success in the social web is about joining the community and being part of it, not executing within its channels<br />Success is only half in executing your program; the other half is telling people about what you’re doing. <br />There is no “over.” <br />@cbarger<br />