Monday, December 28, 2009

A Glance at Online Brand Visibility Within the Automotive Category

As a lead strategist on the Toyota national account (I'm a hired gun for the Omnicom agency, RAPP), I can tell you that the Heardable platform (wide BETA release to come in late January) has been invaluable in helping to prove out the importance of online visibility. In fact, not only does the Heardable score reflect the constant need for the Toyota brand (and its various portfolio brands) to uphold and manage its online reputation, but in using our comparative analysis tool, we can see exactly how the competition might be gaining ground, when, why, and how often.

The good news is that the brand is taking very active steps (and following our advice) to improve its content base. The great irony that we must all realize as digital marketers is that beyond technologies themselves, lies a vibrant, yearning and demanding culture, one dictating that brand relevance comes in the form of compelling and engaging content. In other words, we have plenty of delivery systems to choose from, but if our words aren't strong, then it doesn't matter what we proclaim to be or do as brands.

I've been running a comparative analysis on Toyota versus the 4 primary U.S. market competitors since the beginning of November, and the brand overall seems to be holding on fairly strong, despite the fact that its content offerings are disjointed... to put it mildly. The following are some cursory screenshots of the results.

You’ll notice in this next section that Honda and Nissan are not very far behind, and both have a much stronger social presence online than Toyota does. The takeaway there is that Toyota, as the biggest car manufacturer in the world, has more cars on the street than the other guys, which means that there is more content by default being indexed into searches.

Now of course, this poses a curious debate over the value of online conversation. If you look at the Toyota diagnostics, you’ll see that the brand still has no text, audio or video feeds on its main page (; we also don’t detect any analytics packages, but upon second glance at examining the code, we found Google Analytics embeds. One of the things we like to point out with our tool is that if critical feature sets such as shareability, measurability or portability are not detected through a scan, then it’s likely that the brand is not doing a great job of making this information known or accessible. The bottom line is that it’s only a matter of time before one of these other brands gets ahead in the race... That is, if we can’t get this new, market-relevant content developed and syndicated asap.

Theoretically speaking, all of this suggests that if a dominate brand can generate equity in the marketplace by virtue of its ongoing advertising efforts, and of course, by putting out solid product, it can sustain its place in the market only for a limited time.

But we all know that Being Heardable, and more importantly, optimizing brand visibility, is about going the extra mile (pun intended). And that’s what we all live for.

Posted via email from goonth's posterous

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