Ongoing PR Lesson from Jeep and Ford: How They Handled A Blogging Tango

Posted: February 22, 2011 in All About Cars, Blogging, Digital Marketing, Ford, Jeep, Listening & Monitoring, Media Relations, Media Relations 2.0, New Media Road Trip
Tags: , , , , , ,

Courtesy of E Releases

Media relations 2.0 is real.

I say this because I found perfect evidence today. Social Car News, one of the automotive blogs under High Gear Media, published a post on Feb 18. The post questioned Jeep’s recent celebration as the “first domestic automotive brand with more than 1 million Facebook fans“, because Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro already hit the record before Jeep. Joel Feder, the author asked: “Is Jeep splitting hairs when it comes to Facebook Fans?

So far the post only attracted 57 views. Not really impressive. However, the only two comments surprised me a lot based on the people who left those comments.

The first comment is from Mike Driehorst, the Editorial Director-Online Media of Chrysler Group LLC. Here are his defending comments for Jeep:

“Joel — What do you think? Is it really splitting a hair? Great for the folks at Ford, GM and other brands with super fans behind specific vehicles. That is really cool, IMHO. What Jeep has accomplished is simply another category; another way to look at Facebook Pages. For Jeep and other Chrysler Group brands, we put more emphasis on the entire brand/lineup. Sure T&C has a Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/ChryslerTownandCountry) and others do as well, but there isn’t the same emphasis as on the overall brands. Give the Jeep brand its due. You could make a point that, the Jeep brand, nearly more than any other auto brand, is very iconic with a strong community. So it is *something* when a brand reaches the magical 1 million mark. Thanks for helping drive the conversation. Wonder what others think?”

The second comment was from Scott Monty, the head of Global Digital Communications in Ford Motor Company. Let’s see what he said:

“Every company has its own way of aggregating and engaging with fans. In Ford’s case, we won’t create a brand-wide Facebook presence (despite Chrysler’s mistaken claim about the 550,000 fans of our *corporate* page) because let’s face it: Mustang fans aren’t likely to appreciate the same content that our Ford Electric Vehicles fans, nor would our Trucks fans be into the same kind of stuff that our Focus fans are. We have some 3 million fans globally on Facebook and we’ll continue to engage with them on the pages that make the most sense for them and for us. And we’ll wish our competitors well in the efforts that are right for their brand and their fans as well.”

WOW~~

Forgive my poor word choice, but I am amazed by the two auto companies. The post brought up a tiny but sensitive question on Jeep’s Facebook achievements. It’s nothing big enough, but it still affects Jeep’s image. Mr. Driehorst jumped in the conversation with a defending tone. He explained how Chrysler Group’s strategy is different from its competitors, but he also thanked the author for driving the conversation.

This is a great and real lesson for blogger relations. You listen; you monitor the blogosphere; and you  jump into the conversation when it’s needed. It’s also different from traditional media relations because PR pros can leave their comments on the same page. I think in this way there is a better chance to reach readers with information from the corporate side. Social media challenges PR practitioners, but also gives them more accesses and approaches.

Ford also did a great job in participation. Lucky for Ford, it got free and kind of positive online exposure from a post that was focused on its competitors. It’s clever to provide some data about Ford’s social media fan base (After all, Ford does have a bigger number). Moreover, Ford used this comment to fight back its competitor’s “mistaken claim” (Quoted from Scott Monty’s comments). It raised  another question about when and whether you should jump in the conversation when your brand was involved.

For me, Zi the Rookie, I had a fascinating ongoing media relations lesson from two well-known auto brands. That did make my day :)

I plan to dedicate some time later to write my findings and thoughts on Jeep and Ford’s social media strategies. Please let me know your thoughts on the Social Car News post and the two brands’ little Tango.

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Comments
  1. Scott Monty says:

    Hey “Zi the Rookie” –

    Thanks for highlighting this. We were having a bit of fun with it, and we realize there’s no right or wrong way of handling this stuff. I guess you could say we’re all “rookies” and learning as we go. :-)

    Best,
    Scott

    • Hey, Mr. Monty!

      Thank you very much for the comment. I cannot agree with you more. There is no right or wrong way of handling this stuff. What impressed me is the speed of response and the timing of participating in this conversation. I also enjoyed the witty tweet from Ford very much.

      As you can see, I’m learning PR strategies and blogger relations from both Jeep and Ford. However, I can hardly agree you are a rookie as me in digital communication =P

      Best,
      Zi the Rookie

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