old carTalk about reputation recovery –GM’s gone on a massive campaign right before the January Detroit Auto Show to talk to the people who care if they live or die – car enthusiasts and their own employees.  And they are doing it with the media they can control – their own social media and website.

The effort is built around the relaunch of their FastLane blog which does a great job recovering reputation with both their internal and external audiences.  Check out this piece from Ragan.com that details the turbocharging of GM’s reputation recovery effort, one that’s sorely needed, according to Russell Working .  “The need for the revamp became clear in the bankruptcy process.  GM learned that not everybody cared whether the company lived or died, and it was misunderstood by the public. Stories and broadcasts often showed the gray corporate headquarters or the GM logo, but missing were stories about the people inside,” Working writes.

I like this push by GM to reclaim its iconic brand.  Their reputation’s been tarnished by a bankruptcy filing, continued market erosion by foreign car companies and management changes.  Whoa, GM, a female chief exec!  Now that’s something completely different.  It’s got the attention of this loyal Toyota owner who swore allegiance to Japanese autos during the Ragan administration.  But, what else have you got for me?

The “what else” turns out to be the re-launch of the company’s FastLane blog.  This allows GM to tell their own story without being dependent on the automotive and business press.  Their blog gives them the ability to go right to the consumer on their own terms.  While the company still expects to target members of the media, their social media is mostly after car-lovers and other non-media types. They’ll continue to be a resource for reporters with a separate site that targets the media with press releases and help for reporters, like corporate bios.

What I love about this effort is that it makes such great use of social with useable content, people-centered stories and some just plain fun stuff like “Why Does Traffic Happen (And is Anyone Trying to Fix It?”

There’s no short-cut to reputation recovery.  It’s a series of well-planned, steady and responsive moves that, over time, can turn around what people think of you.  It’s a slog, but worth it.  And if you do it right, the come-back can be a more compelling story than the fall from grace.

Good start, GM.  Keep it up!

 

 

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