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April 21, 2008

Data chart of the week: car brands

By Josh Bernoff

Today we release our fourth data chart.

Our surveys cover hundreds of brands including retailers, computers, cars, and financial services companies. This allows our analysis to go far beyond what you can learn from demographics, like the profiles from our profile tool. For example, we recently published an analysis of 13 car brands and their owners. Below is a subset of four interesting brands. (You can see the full analysis if you’re a Forrester client or you buy the report; otherwise the link above will show you only the abstract.)


In every market we examine, patterns emerge. Some brands have intensely engaged customers – those brands are missing the boat if they don’t get started with social applications rapidly. Others have slower moving customers – they can affort to wait. And even among those with high engagement, the type of social participation varies.

In this case, we see that Pontiac owners have very few Inactives and the most Joiners of the four brands. With 30% Joiners (social network participants), it’s imperative that Pontiac connect with its owners where they’re already connecting with others. In fact, Pontiac started a college scholarship “Game Changing Performance” campaign on Facebook.

Honda has the most Critics, at 29%, but Honda hasn’t yet created a blog for them to react to, even though Technorati shows over 300 blog posts linking to the Honda site. The top Honda blogs are on automotive.com and motortrend.com, plus one maintained by a fan.

Jeep has the most Creators, at 22%. Sure enough, YouTube shows almost 40,000 Jeep videos and there are hundreds of Jeep blogs. I hope that Jeep is monitoring this activity through a service like Cymfony; it’s an important source of feedback and insight.

Of the 13 brands that had enough customers to allow us to do a profile, Mercury had the most Inactives. In my opinion, brands with a profile like Mercury’s shouldn’t put aside much budget for social applications, aside from maybe some basic monitoring or a private community from a company like Communispace. What would you do if you were a brand manager at Mercury?

Plug: this post is sponsored by our Technographics team. They want to hear from you if you're interested in data like this about your brand.


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Jeremiah Owyang

My research also indicates that there's quite an explosion of content being created by Jeep owners within Facebook.

Thinking social media strategy, brands that have large 'creator' groups should figure out how to work with their customer creators, rather than first trying to create their own content.

Don't build what's already being built.

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