For the moment, I’m not in the market for a new car. However, if I were, the social campaigns from major car manufacturers would certainly influence my decisions. Dodge has begun beefing up its latest push for their newest jewel, the Dart, with a fun TV spot. Titled, ‘How to Change Cars Forever’, the Dart is promising lots of cool with all the stability packed into a European model. As far as the social aspect, there’s nothing much to speak on quite yet. On the other hand…
Ah, yes, Scott Monty and his crew in Detroit have always been on the forefront of digital communication. In 2009, Ford allowed 100 bloggers to drive the new Fiesta for six months, bypassing the traditions of celebrity endorsements. The company simply asked the bloggers to produce social content (statuses, tweets, videos, photos, etc.) to promote their new vehicle. The numbers below reflect the results after only 5 months. Oh, and might I add, they spent no money on traditional advertising.
– 4.4 million YouTube views
– 500,000+ Flickr views
– 3 million+ Twitter impression
– 50,000 interested potential customers (97% of which didn’t own a Ford at the time)*
– 10,000 sales nationwide in the first 6 days of release
* Numbers via Mashable & Business Insider, 2009
In their initial campaign, Ford generated 117 Million consumer engagements. Ford knew that not all of these people were going to purchase vehicles, but the buzz certainly helped drive a few thousand to reach for their checkbooks. The bloggers that were given the keys to the kingdom were asked to take on monthly missions (e.g., ‘fast food nation’) and record videos promoting the adventures the Fiesta took them on.
Ford basically made a trade with these folks on good faith: ‘use the car as you wish, just make sure you record what you’re doing’. Imagine if you gave away your product to strangers in return for free promotion. Would you be comfortable with this scenario? Ford stills seems pretty keen on the idea, revealing during the 2012 MLB All-Star Game they’ll keep the ‘Movement’ going with the 2013 Fusion.
Ford continually is brought up in the conversation of enterprises doing social business ‘right’. They get it. They’re responsive. They’re daring. Being brave in the uncharted waters that lie ahead of us often make for the best stories. When trusting others to do right by your own business’s reputation we would understand why there may be trepidation. They are not you…but that’s exactly what the social web is.
When reflecting upon our own narratives in life, there are many decisions that alter our course in our journey through life. There are certain decisions we have no control over. Ford and many other social businesses have chosen to embrace the high seas; follow their lead and let others tell your story. Because, realistically, the consumers always have been a part of the narrative (social recommendations aren’t a new thing) it’s just that organizations are only now allowing the audience to be a part of the performance. To that, I say, ‘good show’.