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Showing posts with label Green. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Green. Show all posts

Monday, July 11, 2011

Looking Into the Share of Voice of Volt and LEAF



This blog has followed a lot of the marketing efforts of two very compelling vehicles from the past several years: The Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF. Both cars are currently taking charge (pun intended) in the battle for green bragging rights with consumers and now Nissan has thrown a new punch at its Chevy competitor.

The new ads feature life with gasoline fueled appliances. The ads look into the continued dependence of gasoline engines as an old technology that is far behind the times, of course most of Nissan’s own portfolio of vehicles are hence old technology, but this is about green bragging rights and Nissan showcasing its competitive advantage.

Chevy has ensconced its Volt as a fighter of “range anxiety.” Range anxiety is the uneasy feeling that one’s all-electric vehicle may run out of charge before reaching the owner’s destination. Chevy has a backup gas engine to avoid such moments of concern, of course that’s pretty expensive backup plan but thankfully both the Volt and LEAF gain from current $7,500 government incentives to offset costs.

I wanted to take a look at how performance for both of these vehicles is doing online and worked with some great people from MutualMind here in Dallas who ran some social media analytics against the two cars for the week of May 29 - June 4, just to get a peek at what is going on in the social conversation.


IMG 1: Brand Hits refer to the Nissan LEAF, Competitor Hits to the Chevy Volt



It’s interesting to see they are both neck and neck as far as coverage, mentions of the two vehicles are with the Nissan LEAF having a slight edge, but that may be due mostly to the new ad campaign that is gaining some visibility internationally since it is creatively similar to a Renault ad running in Europe.





Sentiment is where the data gets a bit more interesting. Negative sentiment for the Volt is almost two times higher than it is for the LEAF, but that’s only half of the story. Positive sentiment is 34% higher with Volt than LEAF. What's this tell us? At least in social media conversation, Volt is a more polarizing vehicle meaning people are either defending it or criticizing it.

There are some rumors circulating around GM doing an all-electric Volt (GM has denied this.) It’s highly doubtful GM would use the same vehicle name (or even the same brand Chevy) to compete more directly with Nissan’s LEAF and Ford’s coming Focus EV. Like the hybrid market, the electric-vehicle (EV) market is sure to get very competitive and not be as simple as evaluating two primary competitors.

For now though, it is interesting watching these two solutions from two big brands battle for the hearts and minds of the green crowd as we move into the Post-Prius green vehicle movement.

Later this week I'll be sharing some of my personal thoughts on the Chevy Volt after driving one several days.

Thanks to Babar Bhatti from MutualMind for providing me with some great data. For more information, please contact:






Company: Mutual Mind
Website: http://www.mutualmind.com/

MutualMind is a social media management and intelligence platform that enables businesses to monitor as well as promote brands on social networks while providing actionable analytics and insights to increase social media ROI.

MutualMind offers a platform that allows users to aggregate and analyze feedback and conversations regarding their products or services on all of the major social media platforms. While many alternatives on the market today are limited just to listening or publishing, MutualMind’s has taken its value proposition further through the ability for users to actively engage with and manage the various social media outlets.

The functionality of this platform can be used for a myriad of business applications including: measuring market receptivity to products or services, tracking consumer or political sentiment, reputation/crisis management, generating sales leads, benchmarking versus competitors, and customer relationship management to name a few.


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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Consumer Electronics Show, Different Kind of Auto Show



Unfortunately I missed this year’s North American International Auto Show, also known as NAIAS, after attending it every year since 1997. Fortunately, there was another “auto show” going on the week before in Las Vegas. Did I say auto show? Oh I meant International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where they show off a lot of technology and some of it featured on four wheels. Ford and Audi both keynoted at the show. Nissan had a local LEAF drive and Automotive Rhythms hosted a Nissan LEAF “Electric Party” at The Palms. Nvidia brought the Tesla Model S for a quick show-and-tell. There was even an in-vehicle technology track for those who wanted to know more about the latest automotive technology.


I spent some time at the show watching Audi’s keynote. They came with their R8 E-Tron Spyder Concept and the Audi A7L.

Audi showcased their relationship with graphics chip maker Nvidia Corporation. “German engineering meets Silicon Valley,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler shared with the crowd of a couple hundred people who watched him roll out onto stage in the revised E-Tron concept.

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang joined Stadler on stage where they shared the latest Navigation system and coming in-dash LCD instrument panel. The graphics definitely wowed the crowd and showcased how the merging of technology and automotive engineering can come together to really impress an audience who can respect what it takes to make such an impressive computer on wheels.

CES even had an automotive reveal at the show – The Ford Focus EV. My flight left right as Ford’s Alan Mulally took the stage to reveal the new electric Focus. Ford made a big splash at last year’s CES with the debut of their MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems.

It may not be as comprehensive as an auto show, but CES is finding its own niche in the automotive world. Now next year if only I can find a way to get into the Automotive Rhythm’s party and better plan my travel to stay around to hear Mulally speak, I won’t feel so bad missing NAIAS again.


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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lexus Goes Dark Green with Its Latest Hybrid



The Lexus CT 200h hybrid hatchback is being marketed under “The Darker Side of Green” campaign and realized by a new interactive online game called “The Dark Ride.” Game players ride shotgun and get a good look around the inside and outside of the CT 200h.

Several action packed moments take place to showcase how cool and fun the CT 200h is provided your idea of fun is driving to avoid bad guys and sharing a car with Tony, Lexus’ star bad boy in the Dark Ride.

“With ‘Dark Ride’ we are creating a unique virtual test drive opportunity so consumers can experience this hybrid, that is like no other, months before it is available at dealerships in early 2011,” said Dave Nordstrom, Lexus vice president of marketing. “In it, consumers play a co-starring role as the fun-to-drive Lexus CT 200h is put through its paces. By guiding the driver and the CT through a series of adventures, customers will be exposed to ‘The Darker Side of Green,’ which is completely different than the way hybrids are usually portrayed.”

The only real issue I have with the site is the time it takes to start the game. Setup involves allowing access to a webcam and talking into your computer’s microphone. Talking into a microphone isn’t very work environment conducive so that causes some delays.

Also the game is really more of a movie where you click or talk to engage decisions. The car is driven by The Boondock Saints actor Norman Reedus who does an excellent job keeping the energy up. As the participant, it is a bit more of a passive experience though still more engaging than simply watching a video.

After the experience is over, Lexus showcases a couple music artists from the soundtrack that link out to iTunes. People can also enter their information up to three times to either stay informed about the CT 200h, win a CT 200h, or if they have whatever a “Dark Card” is they can enter information to get invited to special events that will happen in Miami, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

There are of course the usual social sharing links to Facebook, Twitter and email. I did the Facebook share and the automatic text reads, “Check out my Dark Ride Trailer.” Unfortunately, the trailer isn’t custom to the person and comes off a bit odd. As my little sister commented on Facebook, “Why is this YOUR Dark Ride Trailer?”
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jeep and Nissan Take to the Streets of New York



With Day Two of the New York Auto Show, there were a couple of public street installations out in New York. The first was a giant sand pit erected by the Jeep marketing team for a 7am five person dig to see who from Jeep’s Tweet-to-Win Twitter contest would find a small Tiki Idol and win a Jeep Wrangler Islander edition. The other installation comes from the Nissan marketing team to promote their Journey to Zero website.

I decided to follow the Jeep contest thanks to a web link they provided to watch the event on a live web feed. Unfortunately, I had to create an account to view the feed and there was no chat offering, which has become pretty standard for live webcast events. Also, it was unclear how many people watched the live feed but at 7am and with few people at the live event, besides some media and a bunch of Jeep PR people it was probably a small gathering online too, not that any event like this attracts a lot of people for any brand.

The video with the most views from the dig on Jeep’s YouTube channel had 80 views when I looked late this afternoon. Though, they did get some nice coverage from the Detroit Free Press and the Naples News too.

The bigger news from Jeep is that this was the kickoff of their next giveaway. Mike Manley, President and CEO of the Jeep brand, mentioned at this morning’s event that Jeep is giving away three more Jeep Wrangler Islander Editions as they place three Tiki Idols in hidden spots across the United States. Tips to where they are will be made available through a site he said was live this morning, unfortunately the JeepTikiHunt.com site is still not live and I will continue to check it to see how the site is laid out and communicates the contest. So stay tuned for an update on that.

Environment to be Saved By Zero

Nissan, however, has their website live for the Journey to Zero marketing campaign. This is in alignment with Nissan’s coming LEAF all electric vehicle that is changing the mobility equation. Visitors can get to the LEAF U.S. and Japanese websites through the About section of this campaign site.

The site features TED organizer and speaker Richard Saul Wurman. Content is all about a world with zero CO2 emissions and what that means to global environmental impact.

This one completely missed my radar even though I’ve been to the Nissan LEAF website, I’m part of the email curriculum for the campaign, and belong to their Facebook and Twitter communities. I’m really not sure how one finds out about this effort and judging by the views on the campaign’s YouTube Channel, not many others found out about it either; though, a Fast Company blogger did. Perhaps more will get to know about it as they wonder the streets of New York where Nissan has several rows of front and back seats ironically lined on a city bike path with a sign promoting the Journey to Zero message.

Looking at the web experience the campaign was probably marketed to niche creatives and greens who might have the patience to put up with the frustrating web experience that causes the page to float everywhere as one’s mouse is moved across the page. The navigation also is hard to use as it appears and disappears quickly if one doesn’t hold one’s mouse to the most left area of the page.

Fortunately some people did take the time to use the site and even enter a contest called “Inspired by Zero” that had artists submit works to express the idea of zero emissions. Winners have already been chosen with prizing being a couple cameras and an Apple MacBook Pro.

The site also features some social media outreach functionality allowing visitors to add flair to their Facebook pages or images to their Twitter profiles. One can even create their own poster to save and email to all their friends.

I wonder if anyone actually did any of this? It all goes back to consumer value and the site's social graffiti really doesn't have much of a benefit beyond promoting the Nissan site, which is really to Nissan's benefit not the site visitor's benefit.

Seeing how little was done to promote this site it and the effort launched over three months ago without much fanfare, maybe Nissan is now trying to breathe some life into the effort on the trendy streets of New York City causing the hip the take notice of how the LEAF is environmentally acceptable for our world.

- Photo of Journey to Zero seats on streets of New York City used by permission from AsianMartin.com
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Toyota Postpones a "Better Tomorrow"



It’s no secret that Toyota is dealing with a major company issue as they respond to unprecedented criticism for their accelerator pedal, hybrid braking and floor mat recalls. One unexpected fallout from the recalls is the end or momentary suspension of Toyota’s brand campaign “Beyond Cars.”

The Beyond Cars website was taken down last week as the company responds to all things recall. When asked why the Beyond Cars was no longer available, I was told it was done “in an effort to make sure the recall info is present, we are currently driving all traffic to the recall site,” according to a representative from the @Toyota Twitter account.

What's interesting is the site's URL: http://www.toyotabeyondcars.com doesn't redirect to the Toyota Recall site; instead, it brings people to Toyota's Corporate Values page; though, there is a link for the Recall Update on the Values page.

According to Toyota’s press release, the Beyond Cars website invited “visitors to share their ideas for working together to create a better tomorrow.” Visitors could freely input their own ideas, but all entries were moderated and approved before posting.

One wonders if the concept lost internal support with the recall fiasco causing so much negative press for the company. With site moderation Toyota was able to control what would be published to the site, but would site coverage by blogs and other social media conversation mock the concept of talking about a better tomorrow, one that might include Toyotas that were not accelerating beyond the driver’s control?

With any user-generated site, the big question for clients is how thick is your skin when it comes to hearing what your customers, advocates or anyone stopping by has to say. Apparently for Toyota their skin is thin, very, very thin. With site moderation, they controlled what was posted. Even so, once the recall came the brand decided to take down the site entirely probably to avoid any possible negative connotation with the idea of a better tomorrow or negative reaction to Toyota moderating comments.


As an outsider, this shows there really isn’t much of an appetite for user-generated commentary at Toyota. Recalls are definitely a difficult time for any company. Would it be any different with other automotive companies going through this kind of public scrutiny? I’m not so sure it would be any different.

Beyond Cars may return after the recall dust has settled. When asked if it would return the Toyota representative told me “we're going to re-evaluate our plans for the site at a later date.” In the meantime, Toyota is working on its own “better tomorrow.” The world will have to wait.
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