A few months ago I posted about how the Big Three automakers were foolish not to engage existing brand fans in a deeper conversation a la Microsoft's MVP Program. Because the Big Three are fortunate enough to be selling an "identity" product, and can tap an incredibly well developed online vertical chock full of knowledgeable consumers, it seemed like an obvious step towards improving their struggling corporate reputations.
I'm happy to report that Chrysler has gone in just that direction - launching a Customer Advisory Board. The Customer Advisory Board will be a closed community comprised of 2,000 Chrysler owners and Chrysler prospects. Members will be able to engage in social networking with each other and maintain a long-term conversation with Chrysler - who plans to use the community to receive ongoing feedback on everything from vehicle design to features to fuel efficiency to product marketing.
Interestingly, Mack Collier at Viral Garden has a relevant post up today recapping his SXSW panel, "The Future of Corporate Blogging," where he talks about how companies should be approaching Web 2.0 and the types of conversation it enables with consumers. Mack notes, "it's not about these social media tools, but it's about the conversations that these tools help facilitate. And it's no longer about blogs, it's about companies having multiple touchpoints with customers in order to spark as much interaction as possible," going on to say, "it's about putting a human face on a corporation." As Spike from Brains on Fire says, "A-freakin-men"
(Props to ABF for the tip.)