Blogger engagement these days is a pivotal aspect in digital marketing. Be it a product launch or a meet up with influential bloggers, brands are finding interesting ways to bake in a branding message with such gatherings. From smartphone companies, to food and beauty to automakers, every brand is trying to get a bigger pie of blogger engagement. The latest one, we happened to stumble upon is the one by Mahindra Truck and Bus Division that organized a blogger engagement for its smart truck named “BLAZO.”
In case you’re wondering why a brand chose blogger outreach for its latest truck, then hold your breath till we reveal the entire story.
To give you a bit of the background story: Mahindra Truck and Bus Division launched the technologically advanced ‘Blazo’ truck series at Auto Expo 2016. Blazo is India’s first smart truck, which has opened the doors for further intelligent advancements in the field of trucking, writes TrucksDekho.
To promote the new offering from Mahindra, the brand has introduced Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn as the brand ambassador along with a TV commercial created by Interface Communications. The commercial shows Devgn introducing the concept of FuelSmart and demonstrating how the switches work to help save maximum fuel. He then goes on to talk about the guaranty given by Mahindra Blazo.
On digital the brand has created a decent presence on Facebook and Twitter. To amplify the buzz the brand thought of organizing a blogger engagement and tied up with blogging network BlogAdda, which has been quite successful in executing extensive blogger engagement for various brands in the last few years.
LI’s attempt to connect with the brand failed at every end but we were lucky to get thoughts from Nirav Sanghavi, Founder at BlogAdda. In an email conversation, he shared that Mahindra wished to imbibe the Mahindra culture and showcase the excellent facility and strict norms and guidelines that is put into the making of the Mahindra Blazo. “They wanted bloggers to visit the plant, have a first hand encounter with the processes, culture and spread and take it out to the world.”
Thus on April 8, 2015, a bunch of diverse set of bloggers (as informed by Nirav) with their smartphones and DSLRs geared up to visit Mahindra’s plant at Chakan in Pune. Here is a quick preview in tweets on how the bloggers got a first hand encounter of the plant:
The journey begins
There’s breakfast, powered by more excitement
Bloggers get a first hand experience at Chakan
Brand – blogger talks
Time for #MahindraBlazo selfies!
Well that’s about it and the bloggers go back home with a happy experience and a happier tummy.
I don’t see a problem with blogger engagements and I understand what the brand is trying to achieve. The ROI derived from such initiatives is vital: these bloggers who drive influence on social media and blogging tweet about every detail, share photos on social media and when they go back home they blog about their experiences adhering to the brand guidelines.
The brand is delighted since with very little investment, it gets people talking about it, bloggers write about it and on a superficial layer it helps in search too.
But in this activity – the brand is trying to create buzz about its smart truck by inviting bloggers who might have never stepped into a truck ever, forget driving them or having any knowledge on what specifications a truck buyer looks for before buying. We did a quick profile check of the invited bloggers, most of them are tech bloggers, food bloggers and bloggers who can write about anything under the sun!
I’ve also seen two blog posts on the blogging engagement – both of them have good pictures, describe the day well and talk about Mahindra’s promised Back On Road Service guaranty. The blog posts have enough details that the brand wants in them, but will a truck driver read it? Besides if you search for “Mahindra Blazo blogger engagement” then you find one blog post on the first page of Google, believe me no brand would wish to have that kind of a post on the first page.
However, Nirav thinks that the blogger engagement has achieved its objective, even if the bloggers are not the target audience of the brand and the target audience isn’t following these bloggers on social media.
“The objective was to let people know that Mahindra is now making Smart Trucks and to bring the readers up close to the technological advancements and supervision that goes into making these vehicles of the future. The bloggers got that experience and shared the same via their blogposts and on social.”
Now let’s dissect this:
“Let people know that Mahindra is now making Smart Trucks” – the simple question here is why would I want to know about smart trucks from a tech blogger whom I follow to know about smartphones and other gadgets. I am sure a person who owns trucks or has a trucking business isn’t following a tech/food blogger.
“The bloggers got that experience and shared the same via their blogposts and on social” – let’s suppose a percentage of trucking business people do follow a tech blogger and they happen to see his tweets and blog posts, what do they get out of it? Basic knowledge on how the plant looks, basics about the truck and some selfies. Even by reading the blog posts, you won’t get much about Blazo, since the bloggers know nothing about trucks and how they work.
This isn’t a smartphone or a beauty product or a food item that you can call random people and get them to tweet and write about it. It’s like taking a teetotaler to a distillery, giving him a demo about the place, a shot of the new whiskey that has been launched, and finally asking him to blog about it and spread it in the world of social media!
The brand should question itself what has it achieved from this blogger engagement. If they have surplus time and money to waste like this then who are we to question.
In a guest post at LI, Palin Ningthoujam – Head, Digital at Avian Media wrote about how bloggers used to choose a topic they were passionate about in the earlier times. Now the whole objective seems to be aggregating every viral looking content and trying to attract all kinds of traffic. “The problem I see here is that I would never subscribe to such blogs. I will read them if their posts come on my newsfeed or if I find them on search, but they will never be part of my Feedly list. The blogs on my list are those that I am a fan of and of whose community I want to be a part of.”
Associating with such brand-blogger engagements that’s a misfit to their objective will only negatively impact their credibility and influence more than the brand’s and the blogging network’s.