Social Media And Saab

Saab is in a state of limbo at the present time and finding information other then what you see posted on Saabs United is more difficult then doing one handed push ups. Personally, besides the email contacts that I have and the friends that are plugged into the process in different parts of the world, I search google every morning and afternoon and read every little piece of anything I can find.

One of the best things in this day and age of the computer and more so the internet is social media and how it keeps us connected. I know some people don’t like applications like Facebook, if memory serves me correct even Red J here has yet to become a part of the Facebook generation. For me personally, it keeps me connected and helps me to see a bigger than me picture of Saab and the people that still love what it means to be Saab.

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Spyker at 1000km of Spa – enthusiast goodness

I just wanted to take a little time and congratulate the Spyker Squadron team – not on their race result (I’ve done that already) – but on the way they kept people informed as to what was going on.
I imagine the Spyker enthusiast community, like the brand itself, is reasonably small at this stage. That didn’t stop them from giving everyone the chance to stay up to date as easily as possible.
I’ll get to how in a minute, but the lesson to be learned is this: Size doesn’t matter. With good preparation and just a little time and commitment, any organisation can bring some action and closeness to their customer/fan base.
How Spyker Squadron did it:
Website – the Spyker Squadron website carries all the detail. It has the full releases, which are posted in a timely manner when there’s an event on. These releases provide the meat in the meal and of course, the website also has all the technical and historical information for people to access at the same time.
Facebook – everyone’s on it, including the Spyker Squadron. I don’t tend to use Facebook much as I find it’s got too many tangents. But it’s easy to cross-post stuff from one place to the other and keep everyone who uses it up to date.
Video – The thing that really, really impressed me was their prompt use of quality video – right from the heat of the action. They had a HD camera there and they recorded laps, interviews with the drivers about their laps, the car setup, etc. Best of all, they got the videos online in a timely manner. The qualifying video was up before the race started, so as an observer, you felt like to you were right there watching the action before the next chapter in the story was told.
The other great thing about video is that in comparison to written content, there’s less of it around. Written content attracts all sorts of spambots that copy it paste it in an attempt to attract search traffic. It won’t kill the original author’s ranking or authority stone dead, but it does muddy the waters. When people look for things, it’s easier to rank high in searches when you’ve got quality video.
Twitter – this was the other magic element of Spyker Squadron’s coverage that kept people up to date. Like many Twitter users, I’ve got a Twitter client embedded in my web browser so it’s no trouble at all to stay right up to date with what’s going on. Again, they had someone posting updates as the race progressed. At 140 characters per Tweet, it’s piecemeal stuff, but it gets the message across and keeps the people up to date. They can forward the Tweets along to others, as well, meaning that the reach of your message is virtually without limit.
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Bottom line: this was an exercise in things done well. Short of having a live camera in the pit lane or something similar, this was an efficient and useful way for Spyker Squadron to involve their fans in the unfolding story that was the 1000km of Spa.
Put it this way – I was interested but I wasn’t what you’d call a huge fan of Spyker Squadron or the LMS series before last weekend. Now, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be checking in at LeMans, the next race on their calendar.
If you’ve got a story to tell and a fan base that you want to engage, then there’s no real barriers any more to telling it in an engaging way and in real time.
The tools are all there. They’re not expensive. In fact, the biggest expense is the person you get to be the narrator. The rest of it can be as automatic as you want it to be.
So kudos to Spyker Squadron on a job well done – on the racetrack and on the information superhighway as well.

Feedback time: Saab online

An article appeared in a Swedish computer magazine in the last few days, talking about Saab’s increased efforts in cyberspace, particularly with regard to social media.
The publication is called IDG.se and the article appears here.
The following are some Googletrans snippets:
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When the recent crisis was at its worst, Saab responded to the negative press with openness instead of silence. In just six months, Saab has established itself through Facebook, Twitter and Youtube and they have reached people they have never had contact with before.
A turbulent year for Saab Automobile has put enormous demands on management. There were national headlines in the media and negative rumors that the company suddenly faced a crossroads.
– We had two choices: to refuse to say anything and ignore all the negative press and to dare to take the step to become more transparent. We made a conscious choice to become more open and focus on brand building” says Johan Grundin, director of interactive marketing at Saab.
It was the start of Saab’s commitment to social media…….

They go on to speak about the presence that’s been built up, particularly with the Saab Newsroom.
Then there’s a little bit about the future:

The next big step will be to get to grips with what is said on the Web and do their own material on it.
– When the magazine Auto Motor Sport, for example, do an in-depth story on the new Saab 9-5, we can follow up the story on our website by, for example, video interviews with the developers behind the product. We will work much more quickly to pick up current issues and make our own materials based on it,” he says.
He stresses the importance of the business running quickly and not missing any chances when it comes to social media…..
….The only risk he sees is not having enough resources to be involved enough in the channels.

This is really good news and whilst I haven’t written about it for a while, those of you who go back to the Trollhattan Saab days of this website might recall that I’ve encouraged this for a long time.
There is so much of the Saab story that hasn’t been told and one of the things that’s a great hook for people is an interesting history. I know it hooked me in.
I’m very encouraged to hear that Saab are taking this medium, and the possibility of interacting more with their customers, so seriously. It really does have massive possibilities for building interest and loyalty.
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I guess the big question now is…..
How do you find contact with Saab is working out? Do you frequent the various outlets they use, such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, the Newsroom? Is there anything happening with the Widget?
What do you use most and how do you find it works for you?
I’m sure there are several sets of eyes in Trollhattan who’d like to know.
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Thanks to Hampus the young bloke!

Going social – A new approach from GM? And the same old one, too.

There’s been a few interesting developments in the online (and offline world) with GM in the last week.
As long-termers here will know, I’ve long advocated Saab having a much bigger and much more engaging online presence. I think the company’s definitely small enough to do it, smart enough to do it well, and definitely in a position to benefit from it. Yes, I have a slightly selfish motive for promoting this as it’s the field I’m engaged in myself. I don’t shy away from that. But it doesn’t alter my belief at all – Saab could benefit from this.
I’ve been promoting this for three or four (GM) years, which is why it’s ironic that GM are now embarking upon one particular campaign that embodies a lot of the things I’d love to see Saab do.
The Lab is a design forum where real designers are posting on the site, talking about future design developments and engaging in comments with the people who visit.
OK, it’s GM, so the engagement seems a little over the top when you read it. The films use the word ‘efficient’ a few too many times to come across as being spontaneous in any way BUT……
It’s a start. And a good one.
The fact that they’re engaging their customers in a real discussion about these coming designs/vehicles is a great step. It’s giving those commenters a sense of participation and ownership and perhaps, just perhaps, it might give that particular design team some useful ideas as well.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course. GM are well practiced at creating an illusion of action. A product needs to be forged from this forum or it’s all one big road to nowhere.
But for now, it’s an encouraing development and this is one of the few times I’m happy to tip my hat to GM.
I still maintain that an open blog/forum/exchange between Saab staffers and customers is very do-able. I hope it’s something that’s in the plans for the post-GM era, when things get back to a relative state of normality. The Saab newsroom is a step, but only a small one. It should be breaking news, not following it.
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Of course, even New GM is capable of looking like Old GM every now and then.
The 230 campaign has seen them step right back into their old razzle-dazzle routine whilst simultaneously creating a noose for their own necks.
In short, GM came out this week and stated that the Chevrolet Volt will get mileage equivalent to 230mpg!! That figure was calculated by them according to a preliminary formula from the EPA in the United States.
Unfortunately, the EPA declined to support the calculation:

EPA has not tested a Chevy Volt and therefore cannot confirm the fuel economy values claimed by GM.

The EPA statement goes on to heap praise on GM for their moonshot vehicle, the Chevy Volt. This is fair enough. I think the idea is pretty cool as well and I applaud them for it like everyone else.
But why come out with a massive campaign based on an untested methodology when the results, if not proven when the Volt comes to market, will make you look like a total doofus?
GM could have said “based on calculations made using a preliminary methodology from the EPA, we believe the Chevy Volt will average well over 100mpg”
Is 100mpg not enough? I think everyone would have said “100+ miles per gallon – Wow” and been pretty happy. It would have also left room for GM to raise expectations even higher when the Volt was closer to coming to market and they have a better real-world figure that the EPA wouldn’t have to issue a press release in denial of.
The bottom line – I’m so pleased this is the first post I’ve written about GM in a loooooong time. Sometimes these guys act so silly it makes me wonder how they survived this long.
Wait. They nearly didn’t survive, did they?
Figures.

Wednesday night Snippets – Saab F1 edition

Did anyone place a bet with Ladbrokes betting agency a few weeks ago when they offered odds on potential Saab buyers?
You’d have got 5-to-1 on a Swedish consortium buying Saab. I think Koenigsegg qualifies to win that bet, despite the Norwegian and US interests. I’d have lost my money if I had placed a bet as I thought Renco would have been GM’s choice, even though they weren’t mine.
Ladbrokes are now offering odds as to whether Saab will enter Formula 1 under Koenigsegg’s ownership before 2013. I think I’d stay away from that one, but you never know.
BTW – it looks like F1 participants are all enjoying a group hug with Bernie again today. Max Mosely is nowhere to be seen, though I’m sure News Of The World will find out how he’s choosing to soothe his separation anxiety.
Thanks Joyrider!
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The Saab Newsroom are asking which future Saab you’re most looking forward to.
They talk a little about the showroom of the future, which was viewed by potential buyers. It contained top-secret cars as well as the ones we know about. One of those top-secret cars was a Russelsheim derived model of a future 9-3, though as I understand it, it may not be the final product.
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Tesla have received almost half a billion dollars in US tech loans to help them build the Model S four door electric car. The money has to be repaid by 2022.
Call it a matter of national pride, but shouldn’t the Swedish government consider this an incentive to try and help Koenigsegg and Saab build the Quant and beat Tesla at their own electric game?
Personally, I’m not sure the Quant is anywhere near ready enough to come to series production soon, but I’m for helping them try.
Thanks Karen!
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Saab social networking?
Our unofficial Saab Ambassador to the UK, Robin M, has recently started up Saab Friends, where you can make new…..Saab Friends and catch up with old or current…..Saab Friends.
It’s only been up for a week and there’s 26 members so far, so you’ll be getting in early. I’m just hopeless with these things and haven’t joined up, though I do intend to. I might wait and see if I can be member #99
🙂
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From Flickr:
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