Case Study - Honda's Love Affair with its Fans


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In this case study, American Honda Motor Co.'s National Manager of Social Marketing will explain how the company is using social media to start new conversations with customers. Through their "Honda Loves You Back" owner appreciation social media initiative, Honda has tapped what they've learned about their customers to turn owners into brand evangelists by reciprocating extraordinary gestures of love back to them.

Alicia Jones, Manager, Social Media Marketing, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. @Alicia_at_Honda

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  • The Honda Loves You Back campaign is based on a simple truth about our Owners – they truly love their Hondas. Our goal is to create and share engaging content to help strengthen owner loyalty and positive perceptions of the brand. I’m going to show you some examples of how this came about and what we’ve done and then dive a little deeper into one case in particular.
  • A few years ago, we created a Facebook community based on the premise that “Everybody Knows Somebody That Loves A Honda”. Time and again Honda associates --- on planes, conferences --- hear of stories from owners and fond Honda memories. The company has continued to strive never to take that trust for granted. Since then over 4MM people have become fans of the Honda Brand and its models .
  • After establishing our Facebook community we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our owners…
  • … so we decided to return the love. We gave back to unsuspecting Owners with a variety of initiatives: Free parking at Honda Center if you drove a Honda, free car washes for Honda vehicles and a free massage for the Owners while they waited…
  • We also showed fans we’re engaged and listening by reciprocating their amazing gestures of love…
  • By listening to and engaging with our fans and owners we came to understand that their stories were really our story and they were better than anything we could imagine on our own .
  • And who could have had a better story than Joe LoCicero of Norway, Maine? Joe had amazingly driven his 1990 Accord to 900K miles and counting so we decided to surprise him with a parade as his odometer rolled over to 1 million. We even gave him a brand new 2012 Accord as a reward for his devotion and dedication.
  • What better way to show Honda love than on Valentine’s Day. We got our associates involved in responding to customers in near real-time. We responded to positive comments in the channels where they were posted… Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… We had prepped a few general poses from our plants around the country to have in the can and set up a live photo shoot through the day with associates at our HQ posing for specific fan responses. With a little help from some guerilla photoshop experts at our agency, we were able to show the love.
  • We knew we needed a special story as a follow up and were lucky enough to hear about a band who filmed a music video in their Hondas. We decided to love them back but how and where?
  • We decided to try and do something truly amazing by convincing them that they were going to play a small Honda event only to find out that they were going to be the musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • We needed the right plan to share their story with the world but one that was also extremely efficient so we took advantage of the owned, earned and paid opportunities that multiple social media platforms provided… collaborating with the Public Relations team to make the announcement .
  • YouTube TrueView gave us targeted but inexpensive video views, Search was there for folks who’d heard about it but hadn’t seen it, Promoted posts to our fans and their network of friends and promoted tweets were in the plan to share the love, Video seeding effort to ensure that music, entertainment and auto enthusiasts reported on the story and embedded our video.
  • The Surprising Monsters Calling Home video is available on our YT channel… you can get there on this shortened link You can watch the whole story and watch their emotional journey culminating in their live Jimmy Kimmel performance.
  • Google was so impressed by our effort that they are using this as an example of how companies can effectively use YouTube. Monsters (now called Run River North) has a recording contract and are preparing to release their new album. (Normal week we see 10-15k new fans. Daily subscriber rate to the Honda YT channel doubled during the promotion from 160 to about 300 a day. Tracked #HondaLovesYouBack and #Monsterscallinghome on Twitter)
  • Be a story teller: In telling a story, authenticity to the brand is important. What is more authentic than a customer’s own story. We seek out stories that celebrate the story of us, fan and brand, and let it evolve into something human, emotional and exciting. Listen: There are a many stories about your brand out there, so how do you find the one that’s right to shape and amplify? Whether you use technology or personnel, listening is more important than publishing. We learned a lot just by reading what our fans were posting to our Facebook page. Engage: For example Valentine’s day, we reciprocated where fans engaged with us. Be Nimble: For Monsters calling home, we changed the location of the reveal the day before. If the story needs a change, be brave enough to do it. Amplify: The brand essence should come out, not be hammered in. Million mile Joe’s subtext is Hondas last long. You don’t need to burn that into viewers heads. Stay true, keep the branding minimal, and let the story speak for itself. Love customers: Ours are an important part of Honda history, we treat them as such.
  • Case Study - Honda's Love Affair with its Fans

    1. 1. Honda’s Love Affair with Its Fans Alicia Jones, Manager of Honda & Acura Social Marketing American Honda Motor Co., Inc. @Alicia_at_Honda
    2. 2. Everybody Knows Somebody… 4MM+ people have become fans of the Honda Brand and models.
    3. 3. Love From Our Fans…
    4. 4. We decided to return the love… Free Parking and Car Washes
    5. 5. Reciprocating gestures of love…
    6. 6. The Realization… Our fans and owners stories are better than anything we could imagine.
    7. 7. Meet Million Mile Joe…
    8. 8. Love on Valentine’s Day…
    9. 9. Monsters Calling Home…
    10. 10. The Idea…
    11. 11. The Plan to share their story… Owned, Paid and Earned Media
    12. 12. The Plan… TrueView - targeted but inexpensive video views Search – reached those who hadn’t seen it. Promoted posts to fans + network of friends Promoted tweets to share the love Video seeding to music, entertainment + auto enthusiasts who reported on the story & embedded our video
    13. 13. The Story…
    14. 14. The Results… • Over 1.4MM YouTube views • 40,000+ Facebook “Likes” • 83,000+ new Facebook fans • Over 3.6MM reached on Twitter • Coverage in Huffing to n Po st, Vh1, Adwe e k & screen in Times Square
    15. 15. The Lessons… • Be a Story Teller. It must capture and convey your brand’s essence and express it in a way that matches the perception. • Be a Listener. Your stories are out there. Listen for them. • Engage wherever Customers want to engage with you. • Be Nimble. Stories change. • Amplify. Share their experiences on social platforms in ways unique to your brand. But let the story speak. • LOVE YOUR CUSTOMERS BACK
    16. 16. Alicia Jones Manager, Honda & Acura Social Marketing American Honda Motor Co., Inc. @Alicia_at_Honda