The power of mis-information when it comes to Saab

I’ve been quick to stick it to some of the major news services when it comes to reporting the Saab situation. Why? Because it matters.
We’ve all had a good laugh today at the Bring Out Your Dead video, and rightly so. It’s a nice bit of comic relief from what’s been a pretty torrid few weeks. But that sad truth of the analogy offered up in that article is that many people still get their news from the mainstream media, and unfortunately they’re often getting the wrong information.
Witness – a comment today from ralf22, which sums up the situation in Germany pretty well.

Today, my local SAAB dealer told me a very sad story:
“In the city I met two of our long-term customers. They both (a doctor and an accountant) asked me what kind of a new business we would operate now, because SAAB is completely dead? He tried to correct the matter – but didn’t succeed. They said, all media had reported, that SAAB is splitted and that the Chinese had bought the best parts & actual models (9-5 & 9-3).”
He was deeply depressed about the matter. Throughout the year, he was still optimistic and most of his customers stayed loyal to him.
Yes my friends, that’s the bitter truth: ALL media in Germany (TV, radio, newspapers, online-news) – they ALL told the same crap about BIAC etc.

This is the power of mis-information. Saab do everything they can to make sure the right info gets out there, even sending updates to journos once the initial release goes out. But many of these ‘mainstream’ sources are lazy and will just summarise an article written by someone else.
Then there’s the sensationalists who figure that “Saab’s model range sold to Chinese company” or some similar headline will bring more readers than a less engaging headline that explains the situation accurately.
There IS a thirst for accurate information out there.
I got an email from a US based dealer today telling me of his clients’ reactions to recent news about Saab. This is from AJ Murphy at Just Saab of Cincinnati:

I just put out a rather large client mailer (~6,300 addresses) and within the mailer are 3 clickable links: SU, our website and our Facebook page. As of right now SU is dominating click performance.
252 (78%) total clicks where as our site is at 56 (17%) and our Facebook page is dragging the up the back with 14 (4%). It’s rather early in the stage but it’s evident people want to know what’s going on with SAAB

There’s no huge promise in that mailer of the very latest ownership information, etc, it’s just an invitation saying “Want the latest news on Saab?” and giving a link to SU. What it shows, though, is that people are interested in finding out what’s going on. In order for most people to get the right picture, these news services that are publishing incorrect information need to be told that this is the case.
The way to do that?
Be nice. Offer the correct information and a source for that information. But most of all, be nice. That way you’ll be heard, not bypassed, and that way there’s a chance that the right information might spread a little further.
One of the big obstacles that Saab will need to overcome in 2010 is public perception caused by all the bad news in the press this year. You and I know there’s plenty of good news to balance that out.
The trick is to get the good news out there.
Thankfully, some mainstream sources are starting to switch on to the fact that it’s not all bad news for Saab. This is especially welcome from the Swedish press, from which there’s only been a few with belief in Saab through this process. Now we just have to work on the Germans and a few of the others.
No-one wants a glossed-over or rose-coloured version of the truth, but the truth is that there IS life out there for Saab.

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