Supernova: General Motors rising on social media

Supernova: General Motors rising on social media

Summary: During a workshop at Supernova on the rise of social media, marketing whizes from General Motors, Proctor & Gamble and Yahoo discussed how they are harness the Web and content created by user to sell their products. According to an ancient Pew Research study from 2003, 44 percent of consumers are creating content, expressing themselves in some form online, from message boards and blogs to social networks and personal Web site.

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During a workshop at Supernova on the rise of social media, marketing whizes from General Motors, Proctor & Gamble and Yahoo discussed how they are harness the Web and content created by user to sell their products. According to an ancient Pew Research study from 2003, 44 percent of consumers are creating content, expressing themselves in some form online, from message boards and blogs to social networks and personal Web site. The reality today is that only a small percent of "big" advertising is going online. And, word of mouth is by far the best source for advice in buying products, according to many studies. "Conusmers are pushing companies to an interaction-based model from the traditional advertising model, said Stan Joosten, innovation manger at P&G.

In the context of the social media explosion, Michael Wiley, GM director of new media, didn't hold back. "The existing ad paradigm sucks, it's woefully inefficient. It takes huge dollars to create ads on TV that run for 30 or 60 seconds and give the consumer virtually no information," Wiley said. "The opportunity is to create relatively grassroots ads, six to eight minutes long that give an in depth brand experience and are released online."

He also said that customers could be incentivized to create ads themselves, with GM putting out a brief and asking individuals to create ads for a particular products. "Instead of GM producing ads online, we could use testimonials in existing online content as our advertising vehicles moving forward," he added. Customers creating videos, showing off a Chevy pick up truck doing some heavy work for example, could be harnessed, Wiley said. "Why not serve those up instead of a contrived advertisement." 

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Curt Hecht of GM Planworks and Michael Wiley, GM director of new media

Wiley also said a secret to GM's success is listening to conversations, including the negative comments. GM has blogs and comments on posts frequently bash and criticize the company's products. "You need to be open to criticism and willing to enage detractors," Wiley said. "Businesses like GM need to fundamentally change the way they operate. Customer engagement and every customer's opinion counts is just beginning. For years and years you could keep the squeaky wheel happy...now they can talk to a millions of people. The process to change the way business is done is slow process...and still mostly old way of doing business that has been around for 40 years."

Curt Hecht, executive vice president of GM Planworks (GM Planworks, a unit of Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group, handles all buying and planning for GM's more than $3 billion account), added, "If we can't get people to dealers, we have to do it virtually and a 30-second spot is not the only way to do it."

"Enthusiasts and word of mouth is frickin huge for automotive. We haven't leveraged that relationship yet. It's a way to bring value to both parties...the voice could be larger than the Wall Street Journal [in influencing purchase decisions]. We just need to find the brand advocates," he continued.

The reality today is that only a small percent of "big" advertising is going online. It will be a slow process, both for GM and other large product companies and the broadcast networks. The old way isn't going away soon, but the smarter companies will embrace the Web and engage in the conversations. "We will continue to see the existing power structure subverted," Wiley said. "It's a period of upheaval, and I am confident it will just get better over the next few years," Wiley concluded. 

Topic: Browser

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  • When Will Auto Industry "Get IT"?

    This is a very interesting article. However, I'm amazed that the auto industry doesn't quite realize that automobiles of the future will be looked at as "mobile media appliances" essentially changing the way we perceive the automobile itself. With the advent of WiMAX(802.16) this issue will become more apparent soon as the ability to download data large chunks of data to automobile "disk drives" and "built-in memory arrays" becomes a new trend. What would folks do with this capability?

    Well, perhaps it will help enable audio and video to the point that the entire automobile will be looked at as a 'web browser' of sorts (poor analogy, but intended to illustrate). A media
    device for high speed highway travel to destinations unknown in many ways.

    Lets face it. Having in-dash capabilities to plug in iPods, memory sticks, CDROMs, Bluetooth, cell phones, etc will continue to evolve in this new direction. So what is next on the horizon to enable media in new ways within automobiles?

    One thing I see is new ways to use video within automobiles with the new light emitting fabrics (Phillips, etc) and nano based materials for the exterior surface of autos. In fact, if an industry standard were to emerge to support such efforts it might provide new way to plug into tomorrows automobiles alot of new "eye catching"
    capability to distinguish and personalize one's driving experience, in much the way one customizes one's own web site again, poor analogy, but I hope so see the idea.

    The WoW factor will continue ..innovation is key.

    -JChan
    http://www.atomicmotor.com
    jChan11
  • RE: Supernova: General Motors rising on social media

    Chrysler is having trouble refinancing a big piece of its debt. Having it said, the financial problem will spread to General Motors and Ford. They and Chrysler asked for cash advance loans from the Government back in November, along with a request for open lines of credit from Ford. GM Stock has recently taken a huge tumble on the market, after President Obama asked CEO Rick Wagoner to step down from his post as the head of GM and all subsidiaries, which he promptly complied with. Some experts have advocated that both GM and Chrysler declare bankruptcy and merge, with both discarding all brands that aren't competitive. Regardless, it appears dark days are still ahead for <a rev="vote for" title="GM Stock Tanks After Short-Term Bailout Announced" href="http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/03/30/gm-stock-quick-rinse/">General Motors</a>.
    Emily_N