Onlyinjeep_logo(Courtesy of Cartype)

Jeep is special. Among all the automotive brands I pay attention to, Jeep is the one with distinctive characters. “Tough”, “manly”, “extreme”, “fun”… People associate these concepts with Jeep naturally. And because of these characters, it is challenging and intriguing to monitor the brand. Here are my insights and suggestions for Jeep’s listening and monitoring strategy.

1 Insight Into Brand: Why Does Jeep Need to Listen?

  • Jeep is special

Jeep is a brand who offers “original, legendary” 4*4, a one-of-kind off-road vehicle. People – who buy Jeep – like the vehicle’s utility, enjoy the challenge of driving off-road, and build a lifestyle with their cars. More importantly, they like talking about their Jeeps, and this is why monitoring plan is a must-have for this brand:

  • Jeep’s online community is special

Social media provides Jeep fans a great space where they can share their prides. This is my findings from last semester’s course project when I was doing research on auto brands on social media.

  1. Jeep has a large fan base – 691,997 people like Jeep’s Facebook page
  2. Jeep fans/customers are strongly interactive – 1,492 discussion topics & 22,443 fan photos on Facebook (which is much higher than any other auto brand)
  3. Jeep fans/customers also enjoy sharing experience through multimedia – 459,015 photos on Flickr, 304,000 videos on YouTube.
  4. Jeep also has many discussion boards or forums online, like JeepForum.com, JustForJeep.com, Jeepsunlimited.com, etc.
  • Opportunities & Threats

Jeep owners like showcasing and discussing their vehicles. For Jeep: It is a great opportunity to learn what customers are saying about their products so the brand can make reactions, adjustments, and improvements. It’s also a great chance for Jeep to bond with its fans. It is a big challenge to monitor the conversation because it’s everywhere. It is also risky for not having a comprehensive and creative plan because the brand cannot afford to miss or ignore the voice of customers.

2 Topics & Keywords: What are we listening for?

active_listening(Courtesy of  Vistor Intelligence)

What do we want to hear about the Jeep brand? Everything? No! Brand monitoring is a time-consuming project, which requires us to prioritize our wants and efforts. For a complex auto brand like Jeep, I think it is especially important to decide the topics that will be monitored.

  • For Owners/Fans/Customers

Those who have Jeeps or want to buy Jeeps are definitely the most important audience that we should listen to because what they are saying about Jeep could 1) Reflect the problem we have; 2) Tell us what they like or dislike; 3) Influence others’ opinion on the brand. Based on my understanding of Jeep and auto industry, here are the things I think Jeep should listen to:

  1. General understanding about the brand: We want to know what customers think about the Jeep brand and whether it is consistent with our brand image and positioning strategy.
  2. Experience: Every driving experience customers have is worth our attention, e.g. Jeep’s performance under extreme weather, Jeep’s daily utility, reliability, etc. Experience can also include some club events or activities.
  3. Like & dislike: What do Jeepers like about their Jeeps? What do they dislike? We can collect plenty of opinions on social media where everyone can have an opinion
  4. Questions & Problems: Many Jeep owners like to rebuild or customize their Jeeps when they often have some technical questions. Jeep should monitor the questions and problems about its product so it can jump in the conversation and build credibility for the brand.
  5. Complaints: It is crucial to hear the complaints so we can try to fix the problems. Listening to complaints and negative comments helps a brand improve, prevent issues/crisis, and increase customer satisfaction.
  • For Bloggers

Bloggers are special audience in social media environment. Bloggers can be ordinary Jeep owners or experts. For critics and car experts, additional topics should be covered. For example, comprehensive reviews about a new model, comparing Jeep with other brand’s products, comments on Jeep’s brand image, etc. I suggest Jeep also pay attention to competing brands and products mentioned in blogs, especially when Jeep is put in the same post for comparison.

  • For Competitors

It is also necessary to learn what Jeep’s competitors are doing. I suggest Jeep focus on those direct competing products from major brands.

In short, Jeep should pay attention to all the topics which are related to the brand and its products. Both positive and negative opinions are valuable because they help Jeep protect and reinforce the brand image.

The key words I want to choose for Jeep are listed below:

  1. Brand Name: Jeep
  2. Names of product lines: Compass, Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot, Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited (Include some common typos if they have)
  3. All models name: Many owners are identifying their Jeeps online using model name, like TJ, JK, MK, KK, etc. Such keywords can help Jeep collect more information.
  4. Special features: “Off-road”, “4*4” are also keywords frequently associated with Jeep.
  5. Competing Products, e.g. Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, GMC Acadia, etc.

3 Monitoring Tactics: Where to Monitor & How to Monitor

Periscope(Courtesy of  Top Rank)

Where to monitor our brand in the “social media jungle”? To achieve an effective brand monitoring, we need to assess and prioritize sources of “voices”. For Jeep, I suggest a following list:

  1. Facebook page – Jeep’s official page (especially discussion board) and some active Jeep clubs.
  2. Twitter – Use tools to monitor the conversation on Twitter.
  3. Blogosphere – Monitoring blog post and comments related to Jeep.
  4. Forums/Discussion Boards/Club Websites – Forum is a very important source because Jeepers’ comments, likes/dislikes, questions, and complaints are all in it.
  5. Photo & Video sites: Flickr and YouTube can be used as creative sources when monitoring the Jeep brand. It might be great places to collect positive information about the brand and connects with fans.
  6. Car Review Websites: where a lot of consumer puts reviews and comments.

Customer comments from other websites are also valuable, but the above are the important sources I think Jeep should focus on.

Then it comes to “HOW”. There are dozens of tools for social media. To me, the key is to find right ones for each information source. I picked several monitoring tools for Jeep.

It is the simplest way to find out what people are saying about Jeep. I think it is also a very effective way to monitor negative news or complaints. I like the way Google Alerts present information about the brand. For example, if it is a forum thread, you can see how many authors and posts are in this thread (See the picture as below). So you can pick some hot topics and participate in the conversation.

googlealerts
(Screenshot made by  Lexie – Zi Liang)

HootSuite is a comprehensive tool to monitor assorted social media pages as well as Twitter streams. We can monitor hashtags and customize keyword search on one single page. For example, I added two streams to my HootSuite for Jeep. One is hashtag #Jeep and #Wrangler. So any tweets containing any of the hashtags will show up on the page. I also created another stream using “Search”, to find out those tweets that mentioned Jeep Wrangler but don’t put them as a hashtag. (See the picture below)

hootsuite2(Screenshot made by  Lexie – Zi Liang)

Another small tool I suggest to use for Jeep is Bit.ly. It allows you to track how many people are clicking on the shortened link with a set of metrics that displays it in a visual format as well as textually.

Technorati Tracks can be used to subscribe the posts with our monitored keywords in them. Back Type is the one that can monitor comments.

technorati_tracks(Screenshot made by  Lexie – Zi Liang)

Board Tracker.com is a great tool to monitor forums and threads. For Jeep, I believe this is very necessary.

Social mention is a comprehensive real-time search engine that allows us to search different types of contents on social media. It also provides useful statistics and analytics for the search results.

Last (and the most important) thing is, to set up a schedule and conduct the brand monitoring on a daily basis.

Tada! This is my monitoring plan for Jeep. I know in the real business world, Jeep must have more complex strategies and better paid-tools to monitor the brand. But I believe all the things I’ve done above are great starts for a brand who wants to listen to its audience. Brand monitoring has crucial impacts on brand image in the era of Web2.0. For Jeep, listening and monitoring can:

  • Help the brand understand its image in customers’ minds;
  • Find out what customers like or dislike;
  • Answer the queries and questions about Jeep;
  • Fix the problems and complaints they have;
  • Bond with all the Jeepers

In short, monitoring can make Jeep become a better brand: more active, more personalized, more helpful, and more credible. When we talk about improving brand image today, we refer to engaging with customers through all the channels, especially social media. Like Brian Solis said, “Engage or Die”.

And listening is the very first step.


New Media Drivers License Seminars Logo

* This post is originally published as an assignment on New Media Drivers License Seminars and named as “Example Work” on the course website.

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