GM executive blog and the role of PR

General Motors’ Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz, is not the only one blogging The FastLane Blog, GM’s executive blog. Last Friday, Tom Stephens, Group Vice President, GM Powertrain, joined Lutz as another senior GM executive blogger.

This fits with the intent of this blog as this statement on 5 January says:

The FastLane blog is your source for the latest, greatest musings of GM leaders on topics relevant to the company, the industry and the global economy, and — most of all – to our customers and other car enthusiasts. We look forward to an open exchange of viewpoints and welcome your ideas and feedback throughout 2005.

Note “GM leaders” – plural. It always seemed to me that this blog would unlikely be authored only by the GM Vice Chairman, so it’s good to have that view confirmed.

There are a couple of things that are interesting about Stephen’s post, on myths and facts about fuel economy.

First, he said he published the post as a direct response to something a visitor had commented on the blog the previous week. And second, the post has already attracted some 40 comments.

The most interesting thing, though, is that the tactics with this blog seem to be that when a post does generate substantial comments, as most of them do, no direct responses to any comment are posted by the blog author(s) as comments. Instead, a point made or raised by a visitor is used as a means to address a point of view with a separate post, which gives the blog author complete control over the topic and stating a specific point of view.

Comments are moderated by Hass MS&L, GM’s PR agency (see my post last week), so I would expect the agency to have significant input into overall content development, both from the proactive content-planning point of view as well as the “opportunistic reactive” point of view in adjusting and adapting content plans depending on visitor comment.

This would be a very good example of the value role PR plays in the development of an executive blog like this one. Given factors such as the high profile of the blog and who the bloggers are, I certainly wouldn’t expect it to be developed and run without such communication guidance.

I like how this blog is developing.

4 thoughts on “GM executive blog and the role of PR

  1. Another exec posts to Fastlane

    For a while, Fastlane seemed to be Bob Lutz's very own blog. The vice chairman of General Motors was the only person posting items despite an introduction that characterized the blog as a forum for GM executives (plural). Neville Hobson points …

  2. I Don’t Like How It Is Developing

    There is an interesting look at the FastLane Blog that I mentioned earlier.
    The most interesting thing, though, is that the tactics with this blog seem to be that when a post does generate substantial comments, as most of them do, no direct responses…

  3. My post was trackbacked by The Medicated Dad from a post by George Howell, that blog’s author, which fundamentally disagrees with what I said in my post, ie, I like the way the GM blog is developing. George also articulates the view that “this is just another attempt by corporate America to pretend to engage their stakeholders, while really just reading from a script.” See George’s blog for the full post (link above).
    So I left this comment on George’s post:
    George, I understand your view as well. But I don’t agree with you that GM’s blog is a pretence at engagement.
    Whatever you think about GM’s motives, the reality is that they have started a new communication channel that provides them with a means to articulate points of view, and visitors (customers and anyone else with a point of view) with a means to comment on what the GM bloggers say. As with any blog – and any form of interactive communication – that doesn’t mean you should automatically expect that every (or any) comment will get any kind of direct response as another comment.
    As I mentioned in my post, GM has addressed a specific comment with a specific post. I’ve done that on my blog, too, at times where a point raised by a commenter warrants more focused commentary than just leaving a comment. Not only that, the nature of search engine and other tracking means that the topic being discussed then gets its own better visibility.
    I’d cut GM a little more slack. They are the first big non-tech corporation to put their toe into the blogosphere. The blog’s been going just about a month and it’s still developing. See what you think after another month!

  4. Why GM’s Plan Won’t Work

    I’m wondering if FastLane could rescue GM from shrinking.
    GM is in a horrible bind…
    Worst of all, GM reached a watershed in its four-decade decline in market share
    How bad could it get? BusinessWeek’s analysis is that within five years GM mus…

Comments are closed.