Every year that I make the trek down to my beloved Austin for SXSW I’m always on the lookout for a brand that makes an impact. As an attendee we almost expect to get lots of schwag and get pitched numerous times. It’s just part of the show and I honestly welcome it when done really well. I am encouraged by brands that think outside of the box and leave a lasting impression. This year Chevy was that brand. Let’s take a look at what they did.
Chevy Provided a Needed Service
Chevy utilized a mini promotion called “Catch a Chevy” where they had several intern-esque drivers riding in marked Chevy’s that attendees could wave down to get a ride to several desired locations. This worked because attendees “needed” transportation. Two tracks of sessions were at locations that required a shuttle to get to and the shuttles didn’t leave at scheduled times so that attendees could plan their trek. Many, like me, found themselves waiting on shuttles trying not to be late for the next session. This was brilliant because Chevy is after all selling cars, they have an inventory of them that they can use at little cost, and it gave them the opportunity to get people who may not normally check them out at a dealership actually inside their cars. Now, I think they also did this last year but I didn’t notice last year. This could have been because I didn’t go to any of the sessions that weren’t in the convention center or Hilton last year.
They Trained their Drivers on Pitching the Car
Providing a service was great, but the execution on the service was brilliant. I personally, “caught a Chevy” on three occasions during the show. Each time, I was greeted by a friendly driver who asked where I was going. After figuring out my destination the driver proceeded to welcome me and tell me to send a tweet or check in on Four Square telling my friends that “I just caught a Chevy in Car 13” or whichever car number it was. On the drive, I was extremely impressed that each driver would tell me about the type of car I was riding in and the special features the car had that I might be interested in. I rode in a Chevy Cruz 3 times.
Here’s what I remember about what I was told. The Chevy Cruz gets 35 miles to the gallon and is uber eco-friendly. It even has a special plate that runs across the bottom of the car to give better aerodynamics and increase gas mileage. It has Bluetooth capability, XM, OnStar, navigation, and optional leather seats to compete with luxury vehicles. And oh, it has a much desired USB port that is lacking in my Acura.
I noticed that the cup holders were conveniently located; the car rode nice even from the back seat and even had a little sporty feel to it. I liked it!
They Extended the Experience
Before leaving the car, I was encouraged to go to the side of the convention center where I could test drive one of several cars including the new Volt.
That was it. I welcomed the pitch because they were doing me a favor and actually remembered it because they had made my experience at SXSW more pleasurable.
Last year, I was really impressed with FourSquare’s creativity. They didn’t buy a big tradeshow claiming; hey we’re the next big thing. They used some side walk chalk outside of the show and actually played FourSquare with attendees. It provided some needed enjoyment and left their brand name on the tip of people’s tongues. They also had a super cool party with Ashton Kutcher in attendance, but the lines were too long for my tastes.
What Should they Measure
So in Full Frontal ROI style, the big question is, “did Chevy make a measurable difference.” If I were them I would compare this to traditional PR, TV, and Radio metrics. This is the list I would use.
Reach and Cost Per Impression
How many people did they reach and at what cost? This should be compared against the cost per impression of their TV and Radio spots as well as their standard public relations story. They should include mentions in stories like these in addition to Twitter and Facebook mentions.
Cost Per Engagement
Did people actually engage with the brand and at what cost? This can actually be measured with an index of engagement built on a scale from actually riders in the car, to tweet mentions, to retweets generated.
Cost Per Incremental Site Visitor
Did the experience actually drive more people to Chevy’s site? Did they look at vehicle features, etc? I would argue that they should only measure the gain in site traffic rather than total site traffic for the day, but while only directional it is interesting to see what happened to site traffic and at what cost. If they wanted to try and isolate SXSW users they could try to look at referring URLs only from social media sites as that would be the likely path.
While I don’t personally have the data, I believe if Chevy looked at these metrics they would show that this was a relatively inexpensive promotion for them that generated lower costs than their traditional advertising and PR channels.
What are your thoughts? What brands stood out for you at SXSW? How would you measure the impact? Please drop a comment and share your perspective.
Other great articles about SXSW
- Chevrolet Provides Ultimate SXSW Experience (geardiary.com)
- GM at SXSW: Blending Social Media, Branding and Real Life (prnewswire.com)
- The Over-Branding Of SXSW: How Much Is Too Much? (adage.com)
- 8 Social Media Metrics You Should Be Measuring
- Unicorns, Leprechauns and other Social Media Measurement Myths Busted up on SlideShare
- How to Measure Social Media’s Impact on Customer Retention
- Additional Resources for How to Measure Social Media Return on Investment for the Complex Sale
- Your Brand Hit the Fan: 6 Tips for Using Social Media to Manage a PR Crisis