Dealership Marketing

B2B “Social” – Industry Example. Kudos to Cobalt.

Cobalt leverages Social Media for some awesome PR and Reputation Management

Last Monday I was going through my normal Monday morning Twitter catch up. Making sure I didn’t miss anything of importance over the weekend.

As I was browsing my stream, a particular tweet happen to catch my eye.

Just Saab Tweet - Cobalt Call Out

Just Saab had posted a small rant about Cobalt turning off their dealerships’ splash page with no warning of doing so. Ouch! At the same time they grounded Cobalt, expressed their new love for I’m sure was loving this.

Apparently someone from Cobalt’s team (I had a feeling I knew who this might be) had caught the tweet and contacted Just Saab, verifying that Cobalt  had indeed messed up. They took down the 2 dealerships’ splash page with no warning, and with no way of reversing the removal of the page.

Cobalt with the help of @auto_marketeer (our friend Jade) obviously wanted to “make it right” with Just Saab and shifted the lingering bad taste in their mouth to one of goodwill. Cobalt decided to do something a bit on the creative and personal side. They searched JustSaab’s Twitter stream and found the following tweet:

Cobalt Tweet Research At that point, (speaking with Jade) the Cobalt marketing department made the decision to send Just Saab an Xbox System and Forza Motorsport 4. Since the entire dealership was affected, not just this one individual, they sent over Skyline Chili lunch for the whole dealership the Friday after.

This resulted in the following:
Just Saab Tweet - Cobalt redemption

Just Saab Facebook - Cobalt redemptionWOW. It was impressive to watch this go down. Let’s all agree, from a company that we would least expect it from (sorry Cobalt). Maybe those GenY employees do know what their doing. 🙂

Is this a sign of a new, more dealer-centric Cobalt?

This reminded me of the awesome Gary Vaynerchuk Keynote speech at DSES. Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing and today’s word of mouth is online. However, business/dealers continue to spend money on traditional forms of marketing hoping to win the sprint while not conditioning for the marathon.

Are you following your dealerships reputation on Facebook and Twitter?

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
Nice observation Jeff and your "guess" of the "Who was the Gen Y Secret Angel" to ease the pain for the dealership. You are absolutely right on Gary Vaynerchuk's point that the word-of-mouth is happening today online and the context what is created will outlast content.
Kudos to Cobalt!
  • B
    Brian Pasch
  • October 31, 2011
Impressive Team Cobalt and Yes, this is just one example of the new customer focused energy that I have seen at Cobalt.  Nothing as big as Cobalt changes over night but the captain(s) of the divisional ships seem to be headed on the correct course.   This was a great post to read.
Yea, that's simply Awesome. Great example Jeff, thanks for sharing. 

It's a shame that others haven't shared or commented on this...
I agree with Brian about this... similar to what he said during the PCG awards ceremony ... there are automotive companies, and companies in general, that we like to thumb are noses at chalk up as irrelevant.  Then we close our mind to them and disregard them.  It's like the girl in 5th grade that everyone at the cool kids table decided was ugly and by the time she hit high school she was gorgeous but no one could see it because we had already labeled her.  Then she comes back from college, and everyone sees her with new eyes and she's hot and...  <i>

Anyway, congrats to Cobalt... well done and great example!  CRUSH IT. 
  • J
  • November 2, 2011
I met a very nice woman from Cobalt/ADP here a couple weeks ago when she visited with our ADP rep (unfortunately, I can't remember her name -- mostly because I really don't know our ADP rep anymore and I can't remember his name to look-up the email).  

But I do remember her message: "This isn't your Father's Cobalt anymore."  I'm reading what Eric said above about more not commenting.  I've read this a few times, and honestly, something just doesn't quite sit right here with me.  But I'm thinking that maybe it's just that old, bad taste in my mouth.
I won't mention her name, but I very much remember the name of the Cobalt rep that was banned from our facility for for trying to get our OEM reps to tell us that we had to use Cobalt websites -- 10+ years ago.

But given the recent interaction with the delightful Jade and (damn, I wish I could find her card!!!) our New Cobalt rep, and after thinking about it for a few days, I'm going to be optimistic, and simply realize that although one deed does not a new company make, perhaps they have manifested a culture shift, and maybe we can expect better things.

They can have the benefit of the doubt... for now.