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September 23, 2009


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Ron Miller


The real question is, in the end, what good did it do him? GM still managed to mismanage its way into bankruptcy. Communication with the press in creative ways is a good idea, but in the end you need good products that people want. GM has failed miserably on this last point, to the extent that all the communications in the world isn't going to help them.

Carolyn Winter

Transparent communication strategies is at least providing a thread to hold onto and transform a corporation that has possibly been rotting on the inside for decades.

An acquaintence of mine works on the line in GM in Oshawa Canada. From his point of view, millions could have been saved, improvements made daily if there were a trustworthy way for employees doing the work to communicate ideas or observations to the brains, heart and soul of company decision making.

I suspect it may take bankruptcy to allow the communication efforts cited in the interview to not only fall on the right ears, but become integrated in the system as an integral part of the product development and delivery system.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Carolyn - I'm sure your comment will be seen by people at GM.

Ron, While I certainly appreciate your point, I think that argument has been made a million times already. In my discussions with top executives at GM on Monday, everyone was enthusiastically looking for how to improve after emerging from bankruptcy in July. They know about the past and are all looking to a new future. I'd like to give the team a chance rather than write them off.


Roch Gauthier


Thanks for sharing these video interviews with us. It is much appreciated.


pat f

I'm not sure Bob Lutz is the man with the answers for effectively communicating in 2009. That's like asking Wilber Wright to fly an F15!

Ron Miller

David, you know I love your work, and I respect you greatly, but this horse died in the 1970s and nothing is going to salvage it. Any company that refused to see the writing on the wall for 30 years isn't going to be saved by a little social media.

Debbie Weil

David, love your vid. Amazing how little has changed in five years. I have a quote in my book from Bob very similar to the one you feature above. He also wrote the Forward to THE CORPORATE BLOGGING BOOK. And I've always assumed it was him who wrote it - sounds like him.

While I understand those who question whether GM's blogs have had any measurable impact on the bottom line (can a blog help you avoid bankruptcy?? probably not) I respectfully submit that transparency trumps all. If transparency is a corporate value adhered to across all communications efforts, it will ultimately improve brand perception, as it has for Dell.

One question: is someone else holding the Flip camera to film the two of you?? Do tell.

Ron Miller

I realize my comment was a bit harsher than I intended. My point is I don't have the same confidence in GM as you do, but as you say, time will tell which one of us is right.

Gaetan Giannini

Dave, you are on the cutting edge, unfortunately, Mr. Lutz is not. He's a smart guy, but he and Chairman Whitacre are the wrong medium, even if they have got the message right. (http://bit.ly/iTwhc)

Thanks for bringing this to us. Keep up the interviews. They are very informative.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you all for your comments. Good discussions.

I continue to believe that after a near death experience, people at GM are excited to implement change. I want to give them a chance.

Debbie - Thanks for jumping in. I re-read the sections in your Corporate Blogging Book on Bob Lutz prior to meeting him!

It is my Flip but I asked someone else to hold it for me. I did bring a tripod, but it worked out better to ask for help.

Omar Halabieh

Love the quote David, sharing it with all my colleagues.



I totally understand the skepticism of some of those commenting, that's why we've launched the May the Best Car Win campaign. We think there's a lot consumers in 2009 don't know about Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. Many Americans are working from outdated perceptions and decade-old experiences. All we're asking is that folks take the time to put our vehicles into the consideration pool when they’re looking to buy a new vehicle, and better yet, to take a test drive before saying we don't stack up.

Will social networking save us? Of course not! This is a new way to build relationships and to communicate. It will take the men and women of GM as well as our passionate and often newly converted owners, to tell our story to one person at a time – and that’s what we’re trying to do.

Please give us a chance before passing judgment. And to those who are giving us a try, I personally thank you.

Mary Henige, GM Communications

Jamie Favreau

Living in Detroit I think GM and Ford are trying to change the image of the company. This entire region depends on them more then anyone outside of the region realize. Even with the movie industry coming there is a lot of stuff which is touched by the Big 3.

I think Ford and GM are trying. I have not heard a peep from Chrysler and I even asked a social media person from Chrysler about their plan and I didn't get an answer. I often wonder what is changing over there.

David Meerman Scott

Jamie - interesting point. I know have engaged with and met in person both the social media people at Ford (Scott Monty) and at GM (Christopher Barger). But not a peep out of the third guy...

Harriet Meth

David, what fascinates me the most about your recent GM video posts, is the story within the story. And that is how the interplay between you and GM initially developed and then further played out online.

So you actually have two parallel stories going on here: what GM execs tell you during your video conversations as well as how and why GM talked with you.

Do your interviews substantially change how people will perceive GM products? Probably not. Does that mean GM or other companies then shouldn't engage this way? Hell no. It's just the beginning.

BTW, love your timing call outs for the most interesting sections. Much more viewer friendly.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Harriet.

Yes, you picked up on the most interesting aspect. I beat them up on my first post and here I am talking them up in a big way. Great example of how engagement can turn around detractors.

Of course social media will not save the company. But acting like humans just might...

Tony Faustino

I started out in the detractor camp that GM doesn't have a chance in hell, but after watching the Bob Lutz video, I'm frankly starting to root for these guys (and this is coming from someone who's loyally devoted to Toyota vehicles and never wants to part with his 7 year-old Toyota 4Runner). Social media will not save GM, but SM is still a significant part of an overall strategy to humanize and slowly change perceptions about GM via one blog post, one video post, one blog comment, and maybe even one tweet at a time.

Yes, I know there are probably hundreds of thousands of disenchanted ex-GM customers and employees who would like to see this organization fail. But, for the overall good of Detroit, Michigan, and the US economy, I would like to see them succeed.

If they do turn things around, will I purchase a GM vehicle as opposed to a Toyota SUV maybe 4 or 5 years from now. Doubtful. Toyota has built a solid and trustworthy relationship with me over the past 7 years, and I love the 4Runner brand.

However, that doesn't mean much to a young, 18-25 year-old, 1st-time car buyer who hasn't been tainted by past history, negative perceptions, and heavy baggage associated with the pre-reinvention GM. I'm sure this particular buyer persona-type is one among others that GM hopes to credibly engage via social media. I wish them well.

David Meerman Scott

Well said Tony. Thanks for jumping in.


Hi my name is Tammy,
I emailed/faxed a personal concern that I have with a new gm vehicle that I purchased attention Fritz Henderson and he has yet to respond and I want to know why?


David, nice work with both of these interviews. Even though GM is going through hell, as Winston Churchill said, "keep going." I respect these corporate fellows for not thinking too highly of themselves to not use social media. Hopefully, all companies will become more and more transparent, from top to bottom.


Bill - the Offline SEO Guy

It's too bad Lutz works for Ed What-Do-I-Care, possibly the worst CEO ever (I worked for him when he "ran" (into the ground) SBC. He took its stock from $40 to $20). Way to go, Big Ed.

Plus, the guy doesn't even use email. I doubt he even knows what a blog is.

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