Social media, BMW and the way forward


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Here's what I presented on behalf of BMW for AutomotiveWorld recently. The event was entitled 'Social networks and the global auto industry: the marketing opportunity'.

I talked about social media trends from an automotive perspective with some key learnings from BMW.. and then answered a load of questions. It was moderately enjoyable.

  • As a matter of fact the idea is good, of course, and we all know by 2013, now I mean, that there's indeed a correlation between social media presence and product perception; however in your slide this correlation is not evident as much as you claim on slide 5. Sorry mate. Honda and BMW have always been quality products with responsible management at the helm. Virgin has great annual growth but shows very little advocacy scores, this should tell you that the impact of social media presence is a bit exaggerated, say the least. Other than that: Nice presentation. Do correct me if I'm wrong mate:)
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  • Hello,
    Its my pleasure to write you after going through your profile at ( and have much interest to contact you for a good relationship, please i will like you to contact me through my email address ( easiest communication so that i will explain to you further about me and also give you my picture, i am expecting your respond to my email address above.
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  • but what is the added value for the customer to have social media presence ? BMW is well known and got a niche people ... why do i want social media as a brand for customers who ever wants to buy a good car and love bmw will come to me
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  • Hello dear Litman, I like so much of your presentation.
    Could you provide me slides?

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  • http:/! The Real Deal!
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  • Hello! I’m Michael Litman and I’m one of the social media planners at Dare. We don’t believe that social media should be divorced from the overall strategy and are integrated with account teams across the agency.
  • So I’ve only got 10 minutes, I’m going to talk about why we use social media and then on a wider point what have we learnt?
  • Why do we use social media? Because that’s where everyone is. Magazine eg. Facebook with 400m members In April 2007, Social Networks & Blogs accounted for less than 9 percent of all UK Internet time (one in every 11 minutes) but in three years the sector has grown to account for almost 23 percent of UK Internet time – the equivalent of one in every four and a half minutes. In other words, if all April 2010 UK Internet Time was condensed into one hour, 13 ½ minutes would be spent on Social Networks & Blogs.
  • And how that works in practice is to build a virtuous circle. Here is a circle. Its big and virtuous. Participation leads to a relationship being built with the brand and as the wheel keeps turning advocacy drives further participation. Advertising lubricates the virtuous circle and keeps its spinning faster. So participation is always the biggest challenge. It needs to be interesting, useful, informative or fun in order for people to go out of their way and interact. When we factor in advertising on top of all the above, it makes the wheels more lubricated and spins faster.
  • You don’t need expensive surveys and statistical models. You only have to ask your customers one question “How likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleage? The more ‘promoters’ your company has, the bigger its growth. Remember, that when customers recommend you, they are putting their reputation on the line, and they’ll take that risk only if they believe in the brand. There was a Harvard Business Review based around advocacy and it being the one number you need to grow. So why’s it useful? Because it can reach out to people and pique their interest and raise awareness. Not as quickly or as assuredly as more interruptive or broadcast sales and marketing techniques; but perhaps more efficiently and, in the long run, more effectively if you get it right.  How? By using the people who ARE interested to reach out to those who aren’t, on your behalf. Advocacy, which has been reported to significantly drive business growth (see this LSE study and this HBR report which has argued that advoacy is the single metric any CEO needs to watch), is really the big opportunity that social media opens up for brands. Word of mouth has always been powerful, but the fact that people are more connected than ever means that word of mouth marketing is becoming more and more important – and, indeed, measurable – as social media takes hold.  Advocacy – Driving business growth Word of Mouth – Driving a broader reach Awareness – Driving interest Dealerships – Driving local business
  • The infographic highlights 4 changes that social media has brought upon. They are key points that greenhorn social media users would need to take note: (1) Greater emphasis is place on connecting than selling, (2) companies have also paid more attention to individual consumer, (3) communication is now more transparent, and (4) social media stretches a business’s presence wider and easier for consumers to reach.
  • Social media is great for brands. It provides them with the opportunity to have a voice online within social places where customers and prospects are already talking. It’s the old adage of fishing where the fish are but brands need to earn the right to be in consumers ‘streams’ and everything we do online has to give consumers a reason to engage with us If you’re not adding value to their experience with content, exclusives, events, competitions they’ll look elsewhere. It also provides users with the balance between emotional aspiration versus rational fit for purpose cost of running. They’ll ask their friends for their opinions, will I look good and justify the premium.
  • Converting an idea in to an action that the consumer can in a digital way participate with and get them in to the virtuous circle. The main objective of the campaign was to increase number of test drives offline after they had so much fun having a virtual test drive. In the first 5 weeks 12,000 downloads were made with 20% of all page hits resulting in a download. BMW ran the application in 4 other markets. Award winning campaign which lived and breathed in social spaces. This was not just award winning because of its use of augmented reality but because it wasn’t just seen as an add on little piece of work which lived in a silo. The use of AR allowed for proliferation of content across social platforms which extended the length and reach of the campaign. For example, Dennis Hopper was on set of the TV ad taking additional photography which we then gave to our Facebook fans as sneak peek content for our VIPs. This was a joined up project transcending agency verticals from above the line all the way through to events.
  • So where the global pages acts to satisfy the fans of BMW and set the brand’s vision, local pages are important to handle more of the day-to-day, local-feel engagement and maintaining the pulse. Content produced is too not just held in one place away from everything else and left in isolation. BMW TV is the global platform for video content showcasing the latest automotive models, motorcycles, concept cars and events ranging from the BMW Golf Cup and Sailing Cup.
  • Brands are always desperately aiming for mass numbers, 10 million fans here, 1 million views there but with BMW we’re not going for mass and our advertising doesn’t either. So with this example, we’re talking about the difference between mainstream mass and quality niche. is the largest dating site in the country, it’s the every man, the Ford of the automotive industry. Whereas BMW is more aspirational. Not everyone can afford a BMW, so we’re targeting the ones that can. Luxury evokes exclusivity and uniqueness. 6.5m members Beautiful 700,000 members Luxury evokes uniqueness and exclusivity, and is interpreted in products through high quality , controlled distribution and premium pricing .“ HIGH QUALITY Content and destination CONTROLLED DISTRIBUTION Focused activity in a limited number of channels PREMIUM PRICING Product will always be premium / private screenings, limited password access
  • Mobile is an important tool for us because we can recognise different need states as we go along the purchase funnel. Delivering the right information at the right time to stimulate further activity. And it helps you at the key stages through the purchase journey from configuring your car– getting there to see it – then rationalising cost and justifying premium Its also an important post purchase tool to help retain custom by providing them a sense of being part of a club. Members only news, content and offers for example.
  • Audi  is developing a “revolutionary” new version of its pioneering but defunct A2 model that would allow drivers to download mobile phone-like “apps” to customise the car’s interior, features and driving style. The car, in addition to its downloadable features, would be electric-powered, ultra-lightweight and designed for use in “megacities” with populations of 5m to 10m or more, a senior executive at the German carmaker told the Financial Times. The new A2 would come in a basic version that could be personalised by downloading software that would activate such features as heated seats, customised navigation or stiffer suspension. “ You could adapt it exactly to your needs,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi’s head of marketing and sales, said. “Like you do in your home, you could create your own world in your car.” Audi has begun conducting consumer clinics in Tokyo, Shanghai, New York and Frankfurt to gauge potential demand for the model, which the carmaker, owned by Volkswagen , describes as “a futuristic interpretation of urban mobility”. Audi itself might open its own “apps store”, allowing it to charge customers for the downloadable features. “This could be a huge additional source of income for car manufacturers,” Mr Schwarzenbauer said. The use of downloadable applications could boost the car’s resale value by allowing new owners to create their own “bespoke” A2s. “You could redesign the car if you don’t like it,” he said. Audi said it might build the new A2 using weight-saving materials, including magnesium, which it uses in its A8 model, and carbon fibre, used in its R8 Spyder and TT sports cars. Audi launched the original A2 in 2000, but shelved the model in 2005 after selling just 176,000 units because of its unusual styling and a price seen as high for a car of its size. With its lightweight aluminium construction and innovative design, the car is now seen as having been ahead of its time. Carmakers are scrambling to develop small models suitable for use in large cities – including in emerging markets – but are puzzling over how to make them profitably. BMW  recently announced plans to launch in 2013 a “Megacity” car, which will be battery-powered and built using carbon fibre. People who buy the "revolutionary" new model would be able to personalise their car's interior, features and driving style using the service, the Financial Times reported. The car - which would be powered by electricity and made from lightweight materials - would be sold in a basic format with customers able to unlock features such as heated seats and suspension alterations by downloading programmes. It would be designed for use in "megacities" housing 5 million people or more, an executive from the manufacturer told the Financial Times . Peter Schwarzenbauer, head of marketing and sales, said: "You could adapt it exactly to your needs. Like you do in your home, you could create your own world in your car." The company has already started carrying out customer research, and is considering opening its own "apps store", described by Mr Schwarzenbauer as potentially a "huge additional source of income for car manufacturers". Owners could also use the downloadable features to increase the value of their car for resale. The A2 was originally made available for sale in 2000, but was discontinued in 2005 due to a lack of demand. The redesign is being touted by the company as "a futuristic interpretation of urban mobility".
  • Online ‘likes’ are essentially badges of pride.. And in comparison.. The Subaru badge of ownership. I like this propagation and advocacy badge that Subaru owners can take advantage of. This badge is added as a physical decal to their car which indicates how many cars they have owned and what passion(s) they like best.
  • A final thought is to remember that things can go wrong. And its how you handle those issues when they happen that will have more of a lasting damage than the actual issue itself. Toyota weren’t quick enough off the mark, nor were Eurostar. Vodafone however were on top of a security breach immediately and turned it round in their favour, whilst being covered nationwide and actually gained more followers on the back of it. Things can go wrong, contingency plans need to be in place so action can be taken immediately.
  • Social media, BMW and the way forward

    1. 1. Social media, BMW and the way forward Michael Litman ( @litmanlive ) Social Media Planner, Dare 3 rd June 2010
    2. 2. What have we learnt? Why use social media?
    3. 3. Because that’s where everyone is
    4. 4. Because it creates business value Participation Relationship Advocacy Value Advertising
    5. 5. And here’s the evidence Sources: Reicheld (2003) Harvard Business Review; Marsden et al (2005), LSE By leveraging the efforts of those who love your brand the most, together with the increased marketing efficiency, this brings better ROI. Advocacy score Annual revenue growth % 20 15 10 5 0 -5 -10 -45 -25 -5 15 35 55
    6. 6. In summary
    7. 7. Why use social media? What have we learnt?
    8. 8. That social platforms are versatile Sales & Marketing Reputation Management Engage with the ‘right’ target customer groups online with a passion for your brand and the industry as a whole. Achieve high levels of awareness, interest and engagement in your products and services by informing, entertaining or being useful. Provides the opportunity to manage a brand reputation programme and improve consumer opinion of your brand React in near real-time to praise, questions or issues Proactively empower fans to advocate messaging further Research & Insight Better understand what your customers think of your brand, products, services and communications Provides your brand with the opportunity to convey its personality and connect with customers and prospects in a more informal manner
    9. 9. Events ATL Media POS Digital ‘ An Expression of Joy’ Experience the joy Engaging brings better results than telling
    10. 10. Having a global reach but local feel works BMW Global BMW Local
    11. 11. While maintaining exclusivity 6.5m members 700,000 members
    12. 12. Exploiting mobile and apps
    13. 13. Through customisation
    14. 14. And ultimately through advocacy Both online… … and offline
    15. 15. Finally, remembering that every second counts
    16. 16. In summary Why do social media? Let people do, don’t just tell them Have a global presence but benefit from a local feel What have we learnt? Exploiting mobile and the new app economy Getting the right million Getting ready for real-time Use the versatility of the platforms to answer business needs It’s where everyone is It adds value to your business
    17. 17. Thanks! [email_address] @litmanlive