Articles tagged with toyota
This post was extracted from an article that appeared in the 2010 Outlook Report, which was recently released by Razorfish. It has been modified in part to make it more relevent for the Headlightblog.com audience.
Toyota is in the midst of the most widely discussed automaker recall in recent memory, and this seemingly Greek tragedy is still unfolding. The Toyota recalls of the past six months, two related to acceleration (floormat entrapment and sticky pedals) and one to braking on the 2010 Prius, have been the most publicly known and popularly debated automaker recalls since perhaps 2000, when Firestone tires were linked to more than 100 deaths.
There’s no question that Toyota is in deep trouble with its current recall crisis. But could these issues actually be helping its brand? Shockingly, an analysis of Toyota shows that its Social Influence Marketing (SIM) Score saw an uptick in January. Who’d have thought that a crisis of such significant magnitude could actually help a brand’s perception? This seems to be true, at least in the short term, even though sales may be dropping. Let me explain how.
In recent months, the automotive industry has quickly established a sizable presence on Twitter, the Web’s most popular micro-blogging service. A high-level review of its presence, however, reveals that – like many industries – it’s making the leap to the still newish communication venue with varying degrees of success. While some participants have taken to the medium swimmingly, it’s surprising how many treat Twitter almost solely as an opportunity for naked self-promotion, seldom or never engaging directly with their customers, providing customer support or other useful information.
Web marketing used to focus on driving traffic to one landing page or destination, but the fragmented digital landscape and growth of portable content have created ways for brands to take their sites — or pieces of it — to the traffic. Consumers can handpick content and have it delivered in a variety of ways, including RSS feeds, Facebook and iPhone applications and widgets.
Restraint prevailed over all else during the media preview days for this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Instead of celebrity performances, animal stunts and the barely relevant blowouts we’ve come to expect from shows past, a mood of high seriousness reigned. As such, the heavy focus on technology tended in one overwhelming direction: weaning us away from the gas pump. Certainly interactive, connective in-car technologies were on display, but they sat in quiet remove from all those adjustments to the drivetrain. Fair enough, of course.
It’s no secret that automotive marketers will be slashing budgets over the next year. Social media programs, often classified as experimental, may likely end up on the chopping block, but perhaps wrongly so. In 2009, marketers mustn’t drop social media all together in a recession; instead they should refine what social media means to their organization by adopting the following three strategies:
Full-line automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., possessing some of the largest marketing budgets in the world, are not new to emerging media. They often spend heavily in all media, including online, video and mobile. According to Advertising Age’s 100 Leading National Advertisers Spending Report 2007, the automotive sector led all categories in advertising spending, topping the charts at $19.80B last year. Automakers’ large budgets and continuous need for innovation in marketing give them both the means and the motivation to test and push new channels and tactics more aggressively than other verticals.
With consumer interest in hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles continuing to follow the same trajectory as gasoline prices, an increasing percentage of these potential buyers are more interested in saving cash at the pump than in saving the planet. No matter what a consumer’s motivation may be for purchasing a hybrid, automakers need to be upfront about how close EPA fuel-economy estimates are to reality. The experience of one 2006 Toyota Prius owner, AARF’s Technology Director Krish Kuruppath, illustrates why this transparency is so important.
A PR manager for a major electronics manufacturer once told me he was deathly afraid that members of a popular bulletin board would figure out that his firm was monitoring the forum. The company had already introduced a major product innovation that had been inspired by activity on the board and he feared a backlash if members connected the dots.
Green is no longer just one of several hues in which a vehicle is available, but a lifestyle choice. All of the leading third-party consumer automotive research and shopping sites now have dedicated green or hybrid sections along with buyer’s guides devoted to helping consumers select vehicles that best match their needs for fuel efficiency, environmental impact, body style and budget. The number one automotive site, eBay Motors, added Alternative Fuel as a vehicle type when it rolled out its new site design last year.