As a Saab blogger, I have a regular daily routine that sees me scouring email, comments and a large number of RSS feeds on a daily basis.
Reading comments first thing in the morning lets me know what’s happened overnight. Emails, of course, are the way I stay in touch and see new material that people bring to my attention. When those are out of the way, I get to my RSS feeds, which summarise news stories on a variety of topics and from a large number of websites.
When I’m away at an event, as I was last week, the RSS feeds tend to slip by the wayside because there’s so much going on. When it comes to events like Geneva, I don’t necessarily need to read about the news, I’m right in the thick of it.
This morning, when I opened up Google Reader, I was confronted with an interesting situation. Having not touched the service for over a week, there were thousands of news stories waiting for my review. This collection of links provided much more than that, however. What I had at my disposal was a snapshot of Saab’s media coverage over the last week – and it revealed a few interesting things.
As you might expect, you couldn’t wave a stick around the internet last week without hitting half a dozen different stories about the Saab PhoeniX design concept. It was like a PhoeniX piñata out there. Any website that’s ever run a story featuring an engine seemed to have a picture of the car with the flying buttresses.
The other prominent stories were concerned with Saab’s new IQon technology.
I have to point out here that Saabs United’s own coverage followed a similar pattern. RedJ, Eggs and I did try to make sure we brought you all a well-rounded offering from Geneva, but the PhoeniX was still quite dominant, even here.
So, plenty of Saab coverage. Both IQon and PhoeniX were well received by the vast majority of news services and websites that featured them. That’s all well and good. But it does leave Saab with some significant work to do.
For example…… I had over 500 stories waiting on my Google News “Saab” feed this morning. How many of those news stories dealt with the Saab 9-5 SportCombi?
And how many of those stories were from Geneva, rather than just re-hashes from the press release?
Aside from the PhoeniX concept, Saab also had the Saab 9-4x, the Saab 9-5 SportCombi and the Saab 9-3 Griffin (with an emphasis on the sub-120g/km SportCombi) at debut or near-debut status at Geneva.
Such a huge media focus on PhoeniX is great for the Saab brand in terms of general awareness but doesn’t do nearly as much to help out with vehicles that are actually for sale, either now or very soon.
To add to the urgency, the only ‘major’ show in the next six months is the New York Auto Show, one where the significance of the 9-3 Griffin’s emissions status will be irrelevant. Wagons are welcomed by Saab fans, but the Saab 9-5 wagon won’t be as big a story in New York as it is in Europe.
20/20 hindsight would have me wonder if it might have been better to save PhoeniX for the New York show and focus the spotlight on Saabs production models in Geneva.
It’s a pointless question now, though, as the dice have been cast. All Saab can do now is roll with the outcome and make the best of their opportunities. I suspect that means a major promotional effort for the 9-3 Griffin and 9-5 SportCombi over the next six months in Europe, and the same for the 9-4x in the US.
Some sort of viral video or prominent event might be needed to push one or more of these cars into the public’s mind.