BlogWell Chicago Social Media Case Study: General Motors, presented by Joe LaMuraglia


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In his BlogWell case study, "Using Social Media to Avert a Crisis," General Motors' Manager of Social Media Communications, Joe LaMuraglia, presents a case study on how they used social media to help douse the flames around a misunderstood internal memo that got leaked publicly.


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BlogWell Chicago Social Media Case Study: General Motors, presented by Joe LaMuraglia

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  2. 2. What’s in a Name?Chevy vs. Chevrolet<br />Joe LaMuraglia<br />Manager, Social Media, General Motors<br />Twitter: @GM_JoeBlogWell<br />August 11, 2010<br />
  3. 3. 6/10/2010 – The Day “Chevy” Died<br />An internal memo was leaked that seemed to indicate that management at Chevrolet forbade any employees from using the nickname “Chevy” for the brand<br />The memo did indeed exist but it was not approved and was in draft form<br />The purpose was to establish a consistent name as Chevrolet expands in emerging markets<br />The memo quickly spread to the automotive online community and the controversy began <br />
  4. 4. They Got the Facts Wrong….<br />….but does that matter?<br />Like a game of telephone, it quickly turned into a story about Chevrolet “banning” the nickname Chevy and forbidding customers from using it <br />The facts were incorrect and it was being blown out of proportion by the online media but perception is 9/10 of reality<br />Media outlets all picked up the story and the commentary began<br />
  5. 5. Chevrolet Mentions Increase<br />The memo caused Chevy Volume to increase to levels higher than they have ever been, dating back to Oct 1, 2009<br />Source: Converseon Date Range: 6/1/2010 to 6/10/2010<br />
  6. 6. Online Polls Regarding “Chevy” Announcement<br />Major online outlets turned to their readership to garner their opinion<br />The response was overwhelmingly negative with a tone of disbelief that it was even an issue<br />The number of comments on blogs and major media outlets were very high – showing the passion about the topic<br />USA Today had over 680<br />6<br />Source: Autoblog and Huffington Post<br />
  7. 7. Our Response<br />GM Corporate Communications was alerted of the controversy and the Social Media team advised of a comprehensive response<br />Corporate communication responded with an official statement that was delivered via Twitter<br />The automotive bloggers in particular weren’t impressed<br />The passion and overall reaction in mainstream and automotive media indicated that this was not something that would “go away”<br />
  8. 8. The Video<br />The Social Media team realized that the tide wasn’t going to change and decided to utilize video to explain the situation in “our own words”<br />Grabbed a flip cam, found an executive involved, briefed him for 5 mins and filmed a 2 minute video of him explaining what happened<br />
  9. 9. The Reaction<br />We posted the video on YouTube and then disseminated the link via Facebook, Twitter and email<br />To date, it has been viewed over 11K times<br />The volume of criticism declined soon after the video was posted<br />GM issued a statement the following day retracting the contents of the memo<br />“Chevy” will continue to reflect the enthusiasm of customers and fans<br />YouTube uses it as an example of how to utilize video to manage a crisis<br />
  10. 10. Lessons learned<br />“A company owns their trademark, the customers own the brand” – Peter Esperson, Online Community Lead for LEGO<br />In this day and age of ubiquitous publishing devices, the story will likely NOT die quickly if it has picked up steam<br />Response to such passionate feedback requires a human touch<br />It is OK to say, “we were wrong”<br />ALWAYS have a Flipcam and a TRIPOD ready<br />