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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do You Know Someone Who Loves Your Brand?

For years in the automotive industry, marketers have known that getting someone to actually purchase a car depends on much more than the features and latest gadgetry. No one buys a car solely for the face detection alert software - though certainly something like that can influence the decision. What really sells those cars, though, is a person's prior experience with a brand and the opinion of others that they trust when it comes to experiences with the car or brand. Word of mouth and prior experience, those are at the top of the list.

Unfortunately, we don't often see automotive advertising and marketing focused on these two things. It's tough when each new campaign is for a different car, and time is limited to make the sale. With Honda's new campaign, however, they are squarely targeting consumers with perhaps their most formidable asset ... their reputation. The new campaign has a tagline presumably inspired by overhearing consumers talk about Hondas: "everyone knows someone who loves a Honda."

At the end of the ad, they direct you to a Facebook fan page instead of a campaign landing page and invite people to help "connect the world through Honda love." To date, over 133,000 people have accepted the challenge. 

Honda isn't the only automotive brand that could have done this. People love many different types of cars - the problem is that so often it is easy to focus on the car itself and not the affinity customers have with the underlying brand. With this effort, Honda manages to remind us that by getting people to declare their love for a brand you are not only reminding them of what they love about your products, you'll also get them to raise their hands among their social network as an advocate who could influence their connections as well.


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Hi Rohit:

Turns out this is a radical idea in the world of automotive marketing. It acknowledges that this is not a ship-and-forget world, and your best brand advocates might just be the people who already own your product. (If not, you might rethink your product.)

We did something very similar with BSSP for Mini USA a couple of years ago - case study here:

Though perhaps frightening for traditional marketers, "what would happen if you let your advocates speak for you" is a really interesting question to answer.

Would you rather go to a campaign landing page or a community of people who already know the product??

Tom O'Brien
MotiveQuest LLC

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Great post. Why is it that so few brands (not just automotive) don't get the power of experience and how advocacy.

Sorry Honda, You won´t get love by saying the word "love". i wonder what kind of marketers who stand behind the love epidemic... Love is gained through great products and services, beautiful customer care and consistency etc. To just put a heart in your ad or say "love" is not enough... You need to GIVE love, not only ask for it. Act love, not talk love.

Carolin Dahlman
The Love Group,

Tribes need a place to meet with others like themselves.
Dr. Letitia Wright
The Wright Place TV Show

I disagree with the comment that only Honda could have done this. I worked on the Saturn business and they have (I suppose we can now say had) a long legacy of differentiating their brand from GM and creating brand loyalists who love their Saturns. Long before Honda's Facebook campaign existed sites like Saturn Fans ( that allowed owners to come together and share their love of their Saturns.

Sorry I misread the post in that it said "Honda isn't the only automotive that could have done this". Besides my comments about Saturn, I would say there's a huge affinity behind many vehicles such as Minicooper.

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