Can Social Media Help Refresh The Buick Brand?
Disclaimer: I am currently working as a Buick Brand Ambassador in Chicago on behalf of the brand.
In an effort to reinvent the brand, Buick knows they have a lot of work to do. They want to trade in the old fuddy-duddy grandpa image that has plagued the brand for the last decade for a hipper more modern brand impression.
In August, AdAge reported Buick was the fastest growing car brand in the US, but they are still struggling to rid the brand of their dated image. It is a large effort that General Motors has undertaken to broaden the appeal of Buick. And just as they have been doing with Chevrolet, they are reaching out to social media to help change the public’s awareness of the brand.
Buick is reaching out to a younger audience by throwing upscale parties across the country with the help of local lifestyle blog, Thrillist. The Buick Regal Remix events have been held in several cities with the popular band Augustana performing at the events, past cities include San Antonio, Chicago and Dallas. Buick will be hosting events in Miami and Boston in the coming months.
Moment of Truth
If it feels like you’re hearing more and more about Buick recently, it is likely because they are launching their brand new 2011 Buick Regal, a model that has not been sold in the US since 1996. In support of introducing the Regal to a large online audience and encouraging fans to share their thoughts about it, Buick has unveiled a website called Moment of Truth, which hosts first impressions of the new Regal from experts, consumers, GM employees and more. The page content is a combination of live consumer tweets, Flickr pictures and Facebook posts and although the sentiment of posts are heavily positive, there are a handful of neutral or slightly negative posts. Buick is maintaining a high level of transparency here allowing all comments to be seen.
Tweet to Drive
Buick has teamed up with Cohn & Wolfe and are launching “Tweet to Drive” programs in Chicago (@DriveBuickChi) and Austin (@DriveBuickATX). For 3 months locals to each city, with a working knowledge of city events and history, will meet with people who request to test drive a Buick and let them test out the Regal or a LaCrosse. These Brand Ambassadors reply to any Twitter users that message the account and schedule a test drive to a cultural destination of their choice in the city. One test driver is selected each day to win different prizes, including concert tickets and restaurant gift certificates.
The Chicago campaign has had a few dozen test drives, from local influencers ages 25-50. Brand Ambassadors have been receiving very positive first-hand feedback from test drivers.
The “Tweet to Drive” campaign’s aims to show these test drivers the new Buick with a unique and prolonged test drive, allows Buick to learn from their experiences, and build awareness about the evolving Buick brand.
So will it be successful? Can Buick, with the help of social media, help change the brand image over time?