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Alex Vaidya (Digital Strategy, Porsche Cars GB) will be speaking about online engagement tactics for offline brands at our JUMP event on October 12.
I asked Alex about why social media is valuable for an offline, luxury brand...
When the majority of people viewing your campaigns probably can’t afford a Porsche (a brand new one at least), why use social media?
Much of what makes Porsche special is down to the experience the brand and products create. In the past, this experience could only really be delivered face to face when test driving the car or visiting a showroom.
Based on our resources this meant we could generally only build relationships with a narrow audience of people in the purchase and ownership area of the funnel.
Social media channels change all of this. We now create engaging content and experiences that build relationships not only with in-market and current customers, but with future customers, who may not buy a Porsche for years.
Crucially we can also now actively engage brand fans, many of whom may never buy a Porsche, but are so important in evangelising and sharing the Porsche experience in their networks.
Advocacy is fundamental to the Porsche strategy and when managed and delivered correctly social channels are a perfect medium to foster this effect.
How is social media different for a luxury brand?
I think that the key principles of social media are the same for all brands especially in terms of delivering compelling and useful content that meet your audience needs.
What differ are the objectives and defined levels of ROI the activity should meet. For example, Porsche is not focused on delivering direct car sales from social activity however we are interested in the sentiment, consideration and share of voice that is generated.
A key platform we have built is Porsche Origin. We find that the majority of our customers currently do not use sites like Facebook but they are interested in the type of content that is hosted there.
Origin acts as a content hub where visitors can come and view aggregated social and exclusive Porsche content, then easily share within their own networks.
Luxury brands generally benefit from the fact that people actively seek out and want to experience content. We have a responsibility to deliver quality, premium and bespoke Porsche experiences at the levels expected of the brand, whether this is in an offline or online environment.
Did you have any difficulty in convincing management to invest in /experiment with social media campaigns?
We found that the key is to de-jargon a lot of what is being planned. I think as digital marketers we can get a little bogged down in buzz words and can lose sight of the 'why' when doing something.
The social media 'sell' was actually something that happened quite organically at Porsche. We are fortunate to have great content and social media opened up a perfect way to grow the awareness of this content through cost effective and efficient means.
If you can demonstrate the 'why' and the benefit it delivers it is a relatively easy conversation.
How did you make this case?
One decision we took was to take small steps and understand the impact of social activity. Rather than launching the 'big creative idea' we developed small scale concepts and tested the reaction.
For example we produced a low cost, high quality four minute film about one of our cars and put it on YouTube. Within a week it had 10,000 views.
This gave us the means to create a clear business case for why Porsche should invest in video. Porsche Experience TV was born and we have now produced well over 100 videos and had more than 3.2m views.
Have you done anything to link offline and online campaigns?
Campaign activity becomes very powerful when you can harness both an offline and online experience and make something feel inclusive.
A good example of this was when we reached one million Facebook fans. As a thank you we offered fans the chance to submit their name which was then printed onto an actual Porsche GT3 and subsequently displayed at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.
Fans could also visit a website and using a webcam search around the 27,000 or so names printed on the car to try and find their own!
This was a relatively simple activity but it generated a lot of positive discussion amongst fans and resulted in a rapid acceleration in the number of new fans joining Porsche on Facebook.
Tell me about the ColorStyler Facebook app: what was the thinking behind this campaign? How well did it perform?
The ColourStyler is a great way to highlight that Porsche is all about personalisation and choice. It acts as a simplified Car Configurator, providing the opportunity for fans to explore the range of options available to make their perfect Porsche.
Once someone has designed their ideal Porsche its easy share with friends encouraging them use the app also. This is a great example how people can advocate our message and share an experience.
In many ways it’s the modern equivalent to having a poster of your dream Porsche on your bedroom wall.
Social platforms have allowed us to build interactivity into our marketing and give the opportunity to scale and widen its impact.
What are the most important metrics for you when evaluating social media campaigns?
The main metrics used to measure the impact of our social activity focus around understanding the sentiment and type of conversation that has been generated as a result.
It is easy to simply look at numbers of fans on Facebook or number of views on YouTube but we are more interested in the impact that the content on these platforms has had and crucially, has it encouraged someone to recommend or advocate our message?
One metric we use is the Net Promoter Score by applying sentiment analysis to key websites.
We are also increasingly using social media monitoring to look for any customer or product issues that tend to be discussed more in the multitude of automotive forums rather than sites like Facebook.
How do you measure the offline impact of online social media campaigns?
This is a relatively difficult task as so many factors go into the consideration process when buying a Porsche. We therefore tend to look at a mixture of metrics which we use to measure the impact that all of our online activity has had, including social media.
One important metric measured is the number of interactions with the Porsche Car Configurator as it is a key application that links the online and offline purchase journey. A user can build their perfect Porsche online and send directly to a Porsche Centre to begin a conversation around individual requirements.
Attribution modelling is certainly something we are looking to improve and will be key as customers increasingly use online tools to empower them throughout the purchase process.
What social media initiatives can we expect to see from Porsche in the near future?
We constantly have interesting or newsworthy stories to tell from the Porsche world and will seek for new and innovative ways to get our message across, creating inclusive and rewarding experiences.
Video will continue to play a key role.
Finally, Can you give us an idea of the topics you will be covering in your JUMP presentation?
I plan to talk through the Porsche approach to delivering content around an experience and how are working to map this across all of our online platforms to attribute the impact.
I will also talk about some of the initiatives, especially the use of video, we are using and how the planning for our activity is now not confined to just our marketing department. Of course there will be some exciting cars involved too!