Sometimes, quoting Bonnie Raitt isn’t all that bad!
It seems that the best way to use social media as a marketing tool is to give customers something worth discussing. That’s obvious.
Hyundai’s new assurance program, which offers to buy back the cars of financially troubled customers without a penalty, does this.
The campaign has a compelling social element and is getting attention from many Twitter users. Check out ClickZ News for more information.
From ClickZ News:
One of the keys to a successful social marketing campaign — or any campaign — is the degree to which it’s built on something that’s inherently talkworthy. Seth Godin has written about it in “Purple Cow” (which derived its name from his son’s observation that a purple cow would indeed be remarkable), and countless blog posts and bits of social media have documented experiences that truly stood out.
So it was when Rich Harwood, blogger and founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, sent me a post about Hyundai’s Assurance program. You can watch the commercial on YouTube, from Goodby Silverstein and Partners, that introduced the program.
The Hyundai Assurance works like this: First, you buy a new Hyundai. Then, if during the next year you lose your income, Hyundai will take it back, but not in the way you’re probably thinking.
It’s common for any auto finance company to take your car if you can’t pay for it; countless country music songs stand as testament to this harsh reality. Instead, the car company will take the car back without a penalty. That’s remarkable and makes this such a perfect social campaign right now.
It’s so remarkable that purchase intent for Hyundai automobiles rose 15 percent with the launch of this campaign, according to Edmunds.com. In this market, any increase would be welcome, let alone a 15 percent rise in intent, an achievement that would be welcome in any market. The campaign concept was borne out of the realization of what the economy feels like to consumers: it’s a truly empathetic response to a dire market condition.
Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai of America sales VP, understood that the clutter factor around the balance of the industry ads — built on concessions, prices breaks, and similar short-term efforts — was incredibly high. So Hyundai asked a simple question: What does it feel like to be sitting right here, right now?
The answer? “I’m scared that if I lose my job, this new car, any new car, is going to be big problem for me.” So the car manufacturer tackled that and cut through everything else in the process while laying a foundation for a strong social program. Which brings me back to Harwood.
Harwood defined the Hyundai Assurance program as the basis of a new social contract between buyers and sellers, in this case auto manufacturers and consumers. This kind of thinking is core to the effective use of social media marketing.
The emergence of a stronger, more visible social contract as a marketing extension isn’t coincidentally occurring at a time when consumer-generated media and social media are gaining marketing influence. This campaign is absolutely genuine. Ironically, the biggest problem Hyundai faces now is convincing people that this offer is real.
What would marketing be like in general if all campaigns exhibited the same degree of empathy as this one? Sure, Hyundai wants to sell more cars. And, it’d probably sell a few more if it cut the price (actually, it’s already low) or extended the warranty (at 10 years/100,000 miles, it’s already among the longest) or gave buyers free ScotchGard or rust proofing (already comes with that, too).
Instead, it jumped to a different curve, and increased the tangible value of the relationship between company and customers in the process. Hyundai effectively said, “Buy from us, and if you get into economic trouble later on, we’ll help you out.” Outside of those occurring in actual families, you’d be hard pressed to find business and financial transactions based in that kind of commitment.