Chevy’s Shift From Selling to Telling

Brands have been in the content business stretching back to Procter & Gamble’s creation of the soap opera. Now, they’re rediscovering that role in digital media, seeking to become content creators in their own right.

General Motors’ Chevrolet is undergoing this very same shift. Carolin Probst-Iyer, manager of digital consumer engagement for Chevrolet, said that consumers want to know about a brand and its core values. Content is one of the ways to communicate what a brand is all about. Building loyalty and a lasting relationship, sooner or later, translates into sales.

What’s Chevy’s content marketing strategy?
For us, it’s about reaching out to customers and those that don’t have Chevy on their shopping list and putting our message out in front of them in a relevant way. So it’s about attracting new audiences and also building an ongoing relationship with fans and our loyal customers. In order for us to do this, we realized we need to have meaningful stories and content that our audiences can engage with. In some instances, that means having content that we ourselves create, but sometimes it means we curate content.

Why does Chevy have content top-of-mind?
Brands have always created content. TV ads are content, if you think about it. The rise of digital and social media now gives us a very special opportunity to reach a large audience in a much more targeted way than we’ve ever done before. The new digital media landscape complements what brands have done before and is tapping into the new communication channels, which allow brands to dive into a much more meaningful conversation. Content is top-of-mind because there’s a need in this new digital landscape to change and adapt the overall strategy and approach to marketing.

What’s social’s role in this shift in marketing?
Social media, really, if you look at it, it’s just technology. In essence, people have always interacted with one another and gave each other recommendations on products and services. Social media takes what has already been around forever and facilitates it through platforms. And now, people have access to brands directly. We have more than 10 million people who follow us on social media platforms. This is a huge number of people, and we provide a platform for them to reach out to us as a brand and have a more valid conversation. What’s great is they can engage with what we put out there, but they can also provide their own feedback and share their own stories. And they do.

For content marketing: curation or creation?
For some programs, it makes sense to curate because that is a deeper engagement where the consumer is an active participant. In other cases creation is the answer. We receive tons of stories from consumers every day in the form of photos and text and even videos. They are out there, and they want to tell their stories, so whenever we can, we try to capitalize on that.

What’s your advice to brands just getting into the content marketing game?
You have to think about the overall strategy. What are you trying to achieve? Then look at all the different touchpoints and means of communication. You can’t just decide one day you want to do content marketing. You need to think about the big idea first and then decide which channels should be used to bring the idea to life. Don’t just do original content for the sake of doing it. Next, the stories you create need to be rooted in the brand. They have to be authentic. Go out and see whom you are trying to reach, what are their passion points and what are the stories and messages you want to convey as a brand. Then choose your tactics. In some instances, you may want to create content and in others, you may want to curate it.

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