Looks like Audi is partnering with Klout to offer special incentives for prospects of their brand. I thought for a moment that since I have a decent Klout score (but I don’t care much for it), I might be a good prospect for this.
You can read more about it on the landing page, Klout and Audi present the 2011 R8.
But, let’s remember it’s an Audi. It’s not an affordable automotive brand like Ford, Chevrolet or Toyota. I think this venture would be an awesome idea for a more affordable “fit-for-everyone” brand to get behind.
For anyone who knows me, they know I’m not in any financial situation to get into a financial agreement with a luxury/sports car manufacturer.
But my Klout score indicates I connect and interact moderately well across the social web. I suppose if I participated in this, I might support the brand with a Tweet, photo or a Facebook Place check-in… but if it doesn’t drive sales, what good is it?
Not trying to walk the line of fire here saying that social media efforts need to drive sales, but it’s mathematically impossible to induce a sale or customer loyalty out of me from this activity.
I think it’s important to remember that Klout is only one measure of a person’s influence. There are many influential people online who could drive some good word of mouth for a brand (or vice-versa, a brand carrying what a prospect/customer said online), without necessarily having a Klout score. And to imply that someone without a certain level of Klout is not influential would be a fairly bold claim to make.
In theory, a low-scoring Klout user could very well have very favorable credit and would be exempt from these attractive perks. This seems ROI prohibitive and punitive because someone doesn’t interact with Chris Brogan, Dan Schawbel or Pete Cashmore on a regular basis.
As an alternative, it would be much more inclusive to encourage people “only on Twitter” since anyone with a Twitter account would be eligible, and maybe few more sales might result. It also helps Audi perhaps measure their own influence of whoever authenticates through them. (For instance, taking a look at followers, following, lists, frequency of updates, inbound mentions, etc.Silently.)
Assuming the promo doesn’t change, the actual perk of promoting an Audi A8 isn’t such a big deal. Instead, let people test-drive a true feat of engineering and awesome known as the Audi R8. Now, that’s a thrilling experience I could get behind. It beats getting in an upper-middle class four-door sedan to be used as an advertisement. You know it would be sweet to test-drive a $120,000 car, and that’s a brand-builder, right?
That said, Audi would be considered one of the first automotive brands to leverage a social media measurement tool to drive interactions and engagement with the brand. For that, I can’t blame them — it’s something and it’s territory that has yet to be explored. I’m interested to see the results and the engagement from this social media campaign.
Audi, from what I hear, Chris Brogan likes to blog about the car he drives. Might be cool to park one over by his house and leave a note on his door that the keys are in the ignition. 😉