The Honda story is not just about the brand. It’s about the people who have given rise to the brand. The fans, the drivers, the loyalists. They are as much a part of our history as the first CVCC engine and the HondaJet®. Through social media we celebrate the story of us, fan and brand, and let it evolve into something human, emotional and exciting.
We highlight experiences, milestones and special moments in the lives of our fans. The expression can range from sharing a simple status post to an extended social video portrait to working with our fans on building a national movement. This allows us to use different techniques and different people to tell the Honda Brand story in a way that feels inclusive, while leveraging the authentic aspects of the social networks through which we communicate that message.
While celebrating its fans, Honda works through its social media channels to generate memorable content that is seen, engaged with and shared. Every day we work to build bonds with our existing owners by answering customer service–related requests and communicating not just what is happening with our automobiles, but also what we are doing in the community with the NHL or as a sponsor of Little League®. And when our day-to-day or larger social campaign content is shared, we generate earned impressions and new customers to welcome into the Honda family.
Ultimately, no matter the smart tactics, great content is the keystone of a successful social media program. And that is where Honda truly rises above the rest. Honda works to turn tropes on their head—to take social media in unique and unexpected directions. For example, often brands formulate a creative idea and then create a “social extension.” But Honda believes that sometimes the idea is powerful enough to stand alone, that the social idea is the core of the campaign and the “extensions” are actually television ads.
In support of the annual Summer Clearance Sales Event, Honda launched a unique social media campaign in which the brand directly engaged Twitter users with real-time Vine videos. The idea was originally executed in television and radio ads where “dealers” read consumers’ tweets about their automobile woes and responded with advice. These were real conversations already occurring on Twitter. During a one-day event we seeded this conversation further with a Promoted Trend around the #wantnewcar hashtag. We then responded almost three dozen times in one day to actual Twitter users with live, customized Vine videos from the actors who played the dealers. The Vines encouraged users to ditch their old car and purchase a new Honda in hilarious and memorable ways (one even starred Rebecca Black).
The campaign drove heavy engagement on Twitter and Vine, lots of content sharing, earned PR impressions and, more important, helped drive one of the best August sales month’s in Honda’s history. The campaign also had the distinction of making Honda one of the first brands to take advantage of Vine as well as one of the first marketers to leverage organic Twitter hashtags in a campaign.
Shorty nomination summary and results: http://industry.shortyawards.com/nominee/6th_annual/jS/honda-summer-clearance
Twitter Q&A: https://blog.twitter.com/2013/powered-by-tweets-honda-puts-customers-in-the-drivers-seat-with-wantnewcar
When loyal owners come to Honda with personal, heartfelt requests, we work to celebrate their stories while not overshadowing them. In September of 2013, Honda received a Facebook message from a woman named Mairead. In that message she asked Honda to be a part of her wedding—the wedding party transportation, to be specific. She and her family have been loyal Honda owners for years and her fiancé suffers from juvenile arthritis in his knees, which makes it difficult for him to get into low cars like limos. Her exact request was to borrow three black Honda CR-Vs because they are higher off the ground. We happily obliged and decided to do a little more, resulting in a wonderful, memorable event for all parties involved.
Mairead and Kevin’s Wedding—Shorty nomination summary and results:
On rare occasions, the very best social ideas become a movement, something larger than the brand. For Honda this occurred in late summer when we launched a social campaign called “Project Drive-In.”
All drive-ins across the country were being asked to switch from 35mm film to digital projectors by the end of 2013—at substantial cost—or risk shutting down. We shined a light on the plight of this American icon, while motivating consumers to vote for their local drive-in. The top 5 vote-getters were awarded new digital projectors, and then we surprised an additional four drive-ins with projectors as well. Movie lovers like Wes Craven, Michael Moore, Kristen Bell and others tweeted organically about the contest. We held the first-ever Twitter/Vine Auction (hosted by Leonard Maltin). We even engaged with Cheerios through Twitter, which resulted in a donation to an Indiegogo fund we created around the campaign.
In addition to the more than 800 million earned media impressions the campaign garnered, we sparked a real, national conversation and ultimately saved nine drive-ins as well as local businesses and jobs.
More at the Project Drive-In Shorty Nomination Page: http://industry.shortyawards.com/nominee/6th_annual/jk/project-drive-in
Those are just three examples of the ways that Honda has made its fans the center of its social media efforts. At the end of the day, what Honda does in social media is tell stories. Mostly through the eyes of our fans—because they are the ones living with our product. They bring the stories to life. And we reward and amplify that in return every single day.
Links to all the other Shorty nominations:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Honda YouTube: www.youtube.com/honda Twitter: www.twitter.com/honda Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/honda Tumblr: http://hondaloves.tumblr.com/ Instagram: http://instagram.com/honda Google+: https://plus.google.com/+honda
Mike Accavitti, Senior Vice President of Automobile Operations
John Watts , Sr. Manager, Digital Marketing
Alicia Jones, Manager, Honda Social Marketing