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Tuesday
Jan182011

Social Business at NAIAS 

You may have noticed that GM and Ford have escalated their social activities at NAIAS this year. It was reported that GM and Ford had between them invited hundreds of folks involved in the various forms of social media. 

We know that The Colonel was walking the floor of NAIAS, lets have a chat and see what he has to say:

Q> Colonel where there a lot of "social media" folks at NAIAS.

A> You think I was out there counting people...from what I heard (same as you) there were more than the previous year. NAIAS is a hub of media activity from all over the planet...been like that for years. 

Q> Apparently customers were invited...GM invited brand Super Fans and Ford probably did something similar. 

A> GM is actively involved in Grassroots Communications through the various social media platforms. Inviting folks that are passionate about the product at the show that is on their "home turf"...good move...why not.

Q> Seems that it rankled some folks.

A> Its a huge world, where anyone and everyone can publish, and everyone is entitled to his opinion. Keep in mind that NAIAS attracts the individual that tells you he knows nothing about cars or the auto business, to the experts and everything thing else in between, accompanied by a good amount of posturing. 

Q> Posturing? 

A> Spare me...you are not so naive...lets leave it at that...

Q> Is there a trend?

A> Manufacturers are increasingly involved in reaching out to "people" through the various social platforms, and inviting people to participate in various initiatives. Manufacturers are getting closer to their customers, potential customers, prospects. 

Q> Manufacturers are reaching out and engaging.

A> Exactly...when a "passionate customer" is invited to NAIAS its an incredible experience for the customer, reinforces his loyalty to the brand, makes him a stronger brand ambassador on the social platforms. 

Q> Could it be a case of the empowered customer, being further empowered by the manufacturer.

A> Precisely...its huge, its awesome for the customer. These customers meet executives at various levels in the company, they exchange contact information...its a powerful/compelling message on the part of the manufacturer.

Q> Who else is invited...

A> Auto bloggers, social bloggers, influential folks that are online, customers, assembly plant employees. Its simple...what most folks read about social media...these manufacturers put it into practice, actually engage, and execute the engagement. 

Q> Assembly plant/line employees that are unionized? 

A> Yes...how often does one experience this microcosm of the auto industry? Its a unique experience. 

Q> Sounds like a lot of work?

A> No kidding...if you are in the car business, you are in the people business through cars. When you start engaging people you start working...always been like that...now you can engage more people, quicker, faster, in more locations, and its more work....

Q> No dealers...

A> For a myriad of reasons inviting dealers could get "complex"...at some point dealers should participate in their own market areas. 

Q> Dealers should be aware that customers are invited...

A> Any dealer that is active in the various social media platforms will know instantly that customers are invited, its a very transparent medium. At the same time not only is the customer empowered by the all the information that is available; some customers are empowered by the manufacturers. 

Q> Its business...

A> Absolutely, its using social platforms to conduct social business, to create customers, to sell vehicles. 

Q> Its also engagement... 

A> Yes...the auto industry is complex, the more folks you can engage the better it is...for everyone involved.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jan182011

Detroit and More 

Arriving in Detroit for a few days to cover NAIAS does not leave much time for anything else, or does it?

Lets see....

A look at Windsor from the other side....

A look up....

 

The Neiman Marcus Camaro convertible...

The GM Showroom in their lobby at Ren Cen...

The main entrance of the GM Tech Center in Warren on a snowy afternoon...

 

The Heritage Center...

 

The bar at Cliff Bell's...a totally cool place

The jazz band at Cliff Bell's... 

 

Cool designs....

 

The Green Hornet...

 

 

Monday
Jan172011

Chevrolet Moment

At times stuff just happens...we all know that don't we...at times when you go with the flow especially when there are a ton of folks around...its even more interesting.

We did tell you that The Colonel was at NAIAS this year, perhaps we never told you that he has often been accused of having "bowties" flowing through his veins...yes that bad, for who knows how many years (although its better now)!

Now that you have the background, here is the "moment":

The Colonel after cruising around Cobo for who knows how many hours, is a little tired, a little parched, the Chevrolet conference is scheduled for 6:15 PM. What do you think he does...makes his way to Chevrolet way ahead of time and grabs a chair....waiting for the conference to start in about 45 minutes. 

Spending the 45 minutes watching the people action, although its cool to be connected to all sorts of technology, observing human nature is always fascinating, interesting, insightful, often body language tells the real story.

This gentleman in a dark blue suit sits next to him, at one point salutations are exchanged, and The Colonel sees the fellow's name Don Runkle....

The Colonel to be certain inquires "Don Runkle Chevrolet performance?"....needless to tell you that Don immediately lights up...."Yes...I was Chief Engineer".

Suddenly there is a moment where 2 Chevrolet "fans" resonate without speaking a word...

Obvious there was a conversation of what is going on today...but that "moment"....priceless.

Connecting the dots....here is the deal: 

> Chevrolet press conference

> Chevrolet 100th Anniversary

> The Colonel exchanges a brief conversation with Don Runkle

> You could not make this up if you tried or planned it

> Followed by a beer and a burger

> An absolute WOW Chevrolet moment...priceless.

 

 

Saturday
Jan152011

The Galaxie

The build on this car has been going on for some time. Its refreshing to hear Jay Leno inject real life situations that it does not always go as smoothly as a TV show. 

Finally the entire story of the build, and watch Jay drive the car as it should be driven...

 

Friday
Jan142011

Vroom Room 

Good Morning!

Detroit - GreektownIts Friday...must be the Vroom Room, come in we have cappuccino and biscotti, and The Colonel needs a strong one this morning. Yes...he's been busy all week...

The Colonel busy? Yes...he was at the motorcycle Supershow last Friday, take a look...here.

Then Detroit for NAIAS with a few more visits in Detroit, and on his way back from Detroit. Needless to tell you that he is still in serious "editing mode" to publish all the material.

In case you are not familiar Greektown is a cool area of Downtown Detroit, close to Cobo...contrary to what we all tend to see and hear. Detroit is/was a little challenged but its alive and well with a vibrant downtown area.

If you missed our coverage this years NAIAS, just scroll down for our thoughts and links to the initial photo gallery.

In case you missed the annual KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey its...here.

If you are interested in our road trip to Detroit....here.

Be assured that next week we will continue with more content.

One point:

In the auto industry denigrating your competitor to sell your product, its a lame way of selling. 

How come folks participating in the "social autosphere" have a sense of enjoyment/entitlement in denigrating/dissing, using the "D" word towards other folks that are also participants, and doing the same thing they are doing? 

Denigrating your peer to whoever wants to listen, gives a bad rap to everyone else. 

You have an answer, please share your thoughts.