In January 2005, a milestone event happened – Bob Lutz, the Vice Chairman of General Motors, started blogging.
Why a milestone? Because the blog includes the first executive leader of a non-tech Fortune 100 company as its primary contributor – it is Lutz writing many of the posts – in a new way of directly engaging with the public about the company’s products and services. “We want you to keep watching and keep talking to us, that’s why I’m out here,” Lutz declared in his second blog post.
Just five months later, the GM FastLane Blog has already become an important unfiltered voice for the company, its customers and car enthusiasts. Most posts attract scores of comments from visitors, creating a dynamic and vibrant community of conversation. It provides GM with invaluable and direct feedback from customers and car owners on what they think about GM’s products and services – feedback the company would not otherwise obtain in such a direct manner. And GM believes that such a method of open, honest and transparent communication is an excellent representation of the kind of culture their leaders advocate.
The GM FastLane Blog is undoubtedly the current poster child for executive blogs. Since its launch, the repertoire of corporate bloggers has expanded to include senior executives responsible for individual product lines and brands. They have added to the breadth and depth of interaction developing on the blog while remaining wholly focused on the blog’s key goal – developing dialogue about GM’s products and services.
As with the experiences of every company who has ventured a foot into the public blogosphere, GM has been learning on the run. In February, they began an experiment with podcasting. That, too, has successfully added to the new ways in which GM is developing relationships with their customers and car enthusiasts.
Now, they have an unfiltered voice, a direct line of communication with the marketplace. It has become indispensable.
- Additional: An open conversation with General Motors – an 18-minute conversation with Michael Wiley, Director New Media, GM Communications, about the GM FastLane Blog, GM’s experiments with podcasting and GM’s plans for further developments with communication channels like blogs, podcasting and RSS. 18-minutes, recorded 21 February 2005. Download the file (MP3, 19.4MB).