Forget you, Chrysler

by Holland-Mark | March 16, 2011

So Chrysler dumped their social media agency today, after the latter tweeted the adjacent on behalf of the former. Ouch.

It’s a colossally boneheaded move on the part of the agency, New Media Strategies. But it’s also inevitable. Based on what people are willing to pay for “ghost tweeting,” you need to cut some corners. That means nice-to-haves like “process controls” and “candidate qualification” or in this case “knucklehead prevention” can slip.

But you know who I blame for this debacle? I blame Chrysler.

That’s right. I said it.

Chrysler’s decision to outsource a critically important customer and prospect communication channel is at the root of this clusterfrack. This idea has never made sense to us, and while our clients can attest that it’s sometimes hard to get up to speed on and then consistently engage through twitter et al, doing so is part of what it takes to be an authentic brand. It’s also a means of connecting directly with the external reality – day in and day out – in ways that can and should shape business strategies, management priorities, and product roadmaps.

Marketing used to be about managing external perception in ways that drove external reality. Today it’s also about connecting to external perception in ways that drive internal reality. And if you don’t get that, you better hope this whole customer empowerment thing is a fad that blows over soon. Good luck with that.

So shame on you, Chrysler. Instead of just firing your spokesmodel, why don’t you commit to having your own people engage with the rest of us in the outside world, and take responsibility for what they say on behalf of the brand?

That’s our take… what’s yours?

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