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January 5, 2006

The GM Report Card From David Kline Get's It Nearly Right

David Kline offers a review of the General Motor’s blogging efforts. David interviewed Michael Wiley, the director of new media at General Motors. What was of particular interest to me was Michael’s discussion around the issue of product feedback from customers on the blog. Quoting from David Kline’s post,

‘“For one thing, some of the suggestions from readers have made it onto the desks of GM designers, which I think in the long run will improve the quality and appeal of our vehicles," Wiley explains.’

Fascinating to hear this, and parallels my conversations with Mike Chambers at Macromedia and other companies, where product development can be a consequence of blogging efforts.

When I wrote the piece, “The GM Blog: Lessons For Customer Blogging Relations,? in September it occurred to me that few pundits seem to talk to a blog's readers and spend most of their time chatting with the blogger. Corporate bloggers will show their best face, or may not even realize there are problems, as I think I demonstrated in the post about General Motors. That’s why I conducted several interviews with GM Fastlane blog readers and wrote the post. Many people had commented on the GM blog, but many did not receive a response from GM, even through customer perceived that they would receive a response, and I suggested some ideas as to how the GM Fastlane blog could handle the issue.

Mike Wiley goes onto state,

‘"But beyond that, I do think that there is less of a tendency to call GM a dinosaur relic lately. In fact, the Business Week cover story on blogging [last May] even referred to us as 'surprisingly nimble.'"

Companies want to know the value of blogging, it’s not really about getting PR hits but in the end changing the relationship between a company and its customers. Developing a conversation with customers that turn customers into evangelists for a company through revealing corporate action.

If GM had an image problem and its image was not reflecting reality as Mike suggests, then the GM Blog had a chance at changing the perceptions of customers about the brand. Many customers are impressed and supportive, but many were not, and the GM blog may actually have made things worse for some customers according to my interviews with several GM customers.

As I explained in my September post, General Motors has gained some great benefits from blogging, product development ideas from customers and some promotional benefits, however I think their effort still has more distance to travel.

Posted by johncass at January 5, 2006 11:39 AM

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Good critique of my piece, John.

I wrote about it at:

Posted by: David Kline at January 5, 2006 1:19 PM

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