Defining the Brand: Loyalty or Acquisition?

Like most mornings before I get my day rolling, I check the internets and see what’s going on.  Lo and behold, my buddy Bryan Willmert shared this article about gamification from Mashable.  In this article, we are presented with the game mechanics needed for customer loyalty:

  1. Define the “grind” – a clear and easy-to-understand action as the core of your product and loyalty effort
  2. Lay down an XP (“experience points”) system
  3. Create five social actions
  4. Develop a Social Loop With Appointment Mechanics
  5. Have a Reward System Based on SAPS (non-cash rewards by the way)

As I read it, I was reminded of something I posted a couple of years ago where I recommended my former employer change their focus from customer acquisition to customer loyalty.  Now, I’m not naive as I completely understand in the automotive industry, sales are king, BUT I will say that times have changed and that focus might need to make a shift towards loyalty, customer relationship marketing, customer experience or whatever you want to call it.

My “out of the box” idea to my friends at The General would be to take the $10 million you pulled from Facebook advertising and the money you would have spent on the Super Bowl and invest some (or all?) of it into a platform that develops the Apple following I’ve heard many of my former colleagues talk about when I was there.  If you want to develop a car culture where you have people talking about you on their own, provide recommendations and not have to rely mainly on incentives, why not give it a shot?

Check out the following chart that just happened to pop into my inbox as I was writing this:

Most companies would love to see this chart about them, wouldn’t they?  Things are different now, especially online.  Investment must be made and the platform and consumers need to be cultivated.  The biggest question is, are you patient enough to wait?

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Is the auto industry innovativing or optimizing?

This morning, Mashable published an article about Carlos Ghosn’s recent presentation at the LeWeb conference in Paris.  During his talk, Ghosn explained that “cars have stopped being perceived as symbols of modernity.”  Mashable takes this further…

“The reason for this, he says, is due to the auto industry’s choice to focus on optimization over innovation. Optimization is all about reducing risk, while innovation is about increasing it in order to achieve the breakthrough that will push a business to the next level.”

What happened?  Has an industry that was founded on innovation gotten to comfortable and arrogant that innovation no longer needed to happen?  Instead of fighting the government on gas mileage, why not embrace the challenge and offer consumers a product that provides value?  The electric car, whether the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf, is an innovative technology.  They are solving for a real consumer need as gas prices begin to rise.

Last week, I shared a couple of videos that demonstrated how 2 other established industries could redefine themselves…newspapers and books.  How great would it be if these prototypes actually became a reality!  The technology is available TODAY!

Other countries are adopting technology at a faster rate than the United States.  Look at this infographic on cell phones and usage.  Specifically, look at the average number cell phones per person.  Notice that the U.S. isn’t even in the top 10!  Mobile is driving a  lot of the new technologies today.  My point in all of this is that if auto manufacturers took the time to innovate instead of trying to maintain a business model that is long since outdated maybe there would not be bankruptcy or the need to put everything on sale.  You could possibly develop a customer base that is as passionate as Apple!

One final thing to leave you with…I saw the following status on Facebook this morning:

Reading the auto industry media take on telematics and infotainment, all I can say is, if you think this is all about being able to say “play genre rock” to your dashboard…you don’t get it.

Technology affords so much more than that.  Wouldn’t it be great if your vehicle could be interconnected with every device you own?  Providing value instead of gimmicks?

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My Favorites

I started using Twitter back in March of 2009.  It was first out of curiosity and quickly turned into a “must use” as I discovered I wanted to use “social media” for more than just personal use.  In the last 9 months, I’ve begun to study how other people and companies use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. for their businesses.  I’m continually amazed at how effective integrating social media with some of the traditional advertising approaches can lead to successful campaigns.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve gone from casual observer to social media student and enthusiast…my wife would argue that I’m obsessed with it.  She may just be right!

In this time I’ve read many articles and blogs, studied statistics and looked at the examples of how social media has been used to generate awareness, change perceptions as well as be integrated in all marketing and advertising efforts.  The examples are endless.  The purpose of today’s post is to share those with you.  I hope you find them as helpful and informative as I did!

Socialnomics: This video by Erik Qualman got me started on my social media hobby.

IKEA / Facebook: How IKEA used Facebook to help in opening up one of it’s newest stores.

From Mashable…4 Ways Social Media is Changing Business

From Mashable…5 Ways Social Media is Changing Our Lives

From Mashable…5 Ways to Make Your Business More Transparent

From eMarketer…Deep Brand Engagement Creates Customers

From PR Squared…The Awareness Scale: How Social Media, PR & Advertising Now Work Together

From eMarketer…Using Social Media Strategically

From Gini Dietrich / Arment Dietrich…Social Media Philosophy

The last thing I’ll leave you with is a print ad from Trident in a recent USA Today: