What’s to LOVE about Subaru
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Subaru CMO Dean Evans spill some strategies behind this skyrocketing-in-sales brand, including their use of social media. In particular, he referenced this user-generated content – a wordless YouTube video that stars a kid, dogs and a squeezebox.
The audience to whom Dean was speaking ate up this adorable spot, an emotional “story” that lets you connect with how this Subaru owner has connected with his/her car and then connected back to the brand. Lovely. Evans mentioned how this video in particular had such strong viewership numbers, insightfully stating that “you never know what’s going to go over."
So what did he mean by strong viewership numbers? This was one of the questions I couldn’t wait to answer. Imagine my surprise when I visited YouTube and found only slightly north of 4,000 views. That, right there, made me love Subaru, whose marketing efforts center around the word "love.” Subaru, or at least Evan and his team…well, they “get” social. Many brands feel that unless a video views top a million, the whole effort is a flop. Well that depends on your goal, doesn’t it?
First: as Evans stated, you never know what will work on social. So if you’re going to make that sort of measurement the lead key performance metric, prepare yourself for eternal failure.
Second: social needs to allow for dialog, and that means user-generated content as part of the brand’s 360-degree connectivity. I mean, how much did it cost Subaru to make this particular video – or the many others on this channel that have only a few hundred views? Nothing. Zero dollars. But it DID allow real people to connect with the brand and share their love for it. That. Is. Priceless.
Third: social shouldn’t be the only marketing avenue for a brand. Sure, you can have corporatey-type message-setting stuff going on – and very successfully so. But to allow yourself to be vulnerable to your audience…that brand vulnerability, when woven into a social strategy, is what separates the brands we love from the companies we really couldn’t care less about.