What do I think of General Motors Canada now?
I am returning home from a 2 day conference in Toronto. The conference was about Marketing to the Digital Moms of today. A very interesting topic and obviously quite relevant to my line of work. The speaker list looked very good and I was really excited about attending.
I was not disappointed!!
I was able to listen to some of the people that I have been following on Twitter and folks that have blogs or sights that interest me. I got to listen to, and quickly meet Scott Stratten of UnMarketing, as well as he folks from Razorfish and Mom Central Canada, just to name a few. Not too bad eh!?
Prior to leaving for the conference, I did take a look at the list of speakers/presentors on the agenda just to see what I was up for. One “brand” or presenter that stood out on the list (like a sore thumb) was General Motors Canada! Ya, big GM!! I could not get my head around this one. Seemed really odd to me. GM is going to help me understand marketing to Moms; seriously! What the heck could GM possibly talk about? This is a company (my perception, but I think similar feelings are felt by many) that has a brutal track record. The perception of GM would be that they don’t build great cars (we “all” know the Germans and Japanese make “better” cars! Relax everyone – I said perception – I know about Toyota!), they make cars that miss the mark in terms of what most people want / wanted (that would be the broad based marketing shot), and they have shown that they have no prudent fiscal management skills whatsoever, as “we” have had to bail them out to the tune of billions of dollars in North America!
Ok, I think you can see where my head was at and what my overall perceptions and feelings were toward GM at the beginning of the week! I am thinking that I am going to listen to these clowns talk to me about “marketing” anything!! Really?!?!?! I was not looking for, nor expecting that GM was going to be able to change my attitude or perceptions toward them in any way; in fact, I was anticipating that they would validate what I was thinking, and what I had always thought.
This is where I start to eat crow: don’t get too excited GM, it is only a small piece if crow as this was only a 40 minute talk and you are trying to change many years of attitude!
Adria MacKenzie, Media Relations for GM Canada, spoke to us about some of things GM is attempting to do to change the minds of consumers; with a heavy focus on Mom, who is as we all know, most men know this, is the main controller of the big purchases in the household; and a car obviously being one of those purchases.
How was GM going to do this? With my beloved Social Media platforms? Really?!?!
Sure enough, GM has embarked, and appears to be committed to the idea of online openness, honesty, transparency, and is going to take the chances of being “out there”. They are embracing Facebook, Twitter, reading key Mommy Blogs and Bloggers and they are hunting the net for the good, the bad and the ugly that is being said about GM and they are trying to connect with all! They are approaching many of the key Mom’s out there and even offering up vehicles for short term trial; to doubters and naysayers, in an attempt to see if they can change their minds and attitudes. They are talking, listening, engaging, try to understand and responding to their customers and potential new customers. This is Crazy S&#T for GM! Wow!
I gotta give them credit for trying to do this. This is a gutsy move for a company like this. Not what I expected at all from GM! Where it goes, I don’t know? Will it result in more car sales and happier buyers, I don’t know, but I am thinking that it could and should. If you are reaching out and willing to not only talk, but also listen and engage, what else could the result be!?!?
So where has this left me? Confused! I don’t know if I like this sort if “warm” feeling that I am having toward GM. Now in all fairness, it’s not like I hated GM, I would say that I had a huge lack of respect for the way they have conducted their business for years. Arrogance toward your consumer and crappy fiscal management does not make you a fan of mine!! But I always love when I see someone trying to change!!
Will this make me run out and buy a GM car? I may not make me run out and buy, but it will definitely put GM on the list which is a million miles ahead of where they were as of Wednesday this week. Believe me – or I guess you can read above – that is an impressive feat for them with my attitudes; and perfect timing for GM as I do need a vehicle soon!! My 1992 Acura is almost done!!
For now, as I sit here and smile and have the guy next to me think I have lost my mind at 40,000 feet; I give a resounding, “Good on you GM” for at least trying and starting down a brave path that is definitely not within their traditional comfort zone! Welcome GM into the world of Social Media!
To GM: I can only wish you the best of luck and I can say that I am actually rooting for you.
Ciao for now @kootenayborn
PS: I still want all our money back, soon!!!