Some South Florida social media and blogging royalty, left to right: @zipporahs, @dayngr, @johnnybond86, @miamishines, @vicequeenmaria, @thetinyjewelbox, @lapp,@midtownchica, @teachme2save. Visit each Twitter account for links to their respective websites. Missing here: @lizawalton.
In my last column, I bitched about the sometimes conflicting relationship between brands and bloggers, pointing out some of the confusing and negative aspects of those connections.
Well, this column is going to highlight a positive relationship and a brand that does it right.
Yesterday, a bunch of bloggers and social media influencers gathered at the South Florida Auto Show in the Miami Beach Convention Center for a GM Southeast "thank you" reception. For all of us who have worked with Chevy and other GM cars, it was a nice affair with food and drinks.
GM Southeast has been collaborating with bloggers and social media influencers on a hyperlocal, grassroots level for a while now, sponsoring fun events like pizza and croqueta crawls, among others.
They have supported my crazy travel and fishing trips as well the big tweetup SxSe, which I have been organizing in part with other co-conspirators for the last 4 years. GM also sponsored my participation at the National Association of Hispanic Journalist's conference this summer.
(Boy, FTC, hope you are happy now? I've disclosed so much, you can practically see my titties! Better get my pasties on.)
The women on the team, one who happens to be local blogger Midtown Chica, are a pleasure to work with, open to ideas for all kinds of creative projects that help content producers fulfill a vision or facilitate some event. They keep a fleet of cars for journalists and others just for this purpose, all managed by the very cute guys at Prestige, who deliver the car loans to your door.
GM events are always flawlessly organized, despite many logistical challenges. I know how hard it is to organize social media events, so I appreciate their work.
I was talking to a head PR honcho from GM yesterday about my relationship with Ford, which never really flowered after the Fiesta Movement; it was like a sudden divorce. Mind you, Ford was nothing short of spectacular during the Fiesta Movement. They were wonderful to work with during the project and I am extremely grateful to have been part of it; however, the follow-up was nil and I never heard back about some of my proposals to continue producing great adventure stories with Ford cars. I just assumed Ford had a similar fleet of cars like GM does for local bloggers, but I guess they don't or didn't.
Do you see what I'm getting at here? After seven months of being surgically attached to a Ford Fiesta, the umbilical chord was severed and the relationship fizzled quickly. Not good, right?
This is the big difference. I have said this before and will say it again. It's not about the car, it's about great things that happen with the car on an on-going basis.
It's all about community outreach and support -- yesterday, one guy who won an award actually went out of his way to take his Corvette loan to an under-served school in Liberty City so the kids could enjoy a ride.
I have worked with other car brands but GM and Chevy get my thumbs up for a regional department that gets it. It's no wonder the agency won the PR News Award for Best Digital PR Campaign of the Year in the $100K budget or under.
Our very own Jewel's Fab Life and Craig Agranoff won recognition that was well deserved; they are movers and shakers that make cool things happen. Unfortunately not pictured here, Heather Radi-Bermudez from FIU.
See brands? This is how it's done. Not once in all my work with GM was anything expected of me out of obligation, but out of mutual support and gratitude. They treat me like family. This is why I work with no other car brands and have stayed mainly loyal to GM.
Not that I wouldn't work with other car brands, but I have turned down projects because of this great relationship. I once passed on food crawl with Infiniti because I had just done a Chevy project. I told Midtown Chica: "I'm not a car ho. I'm not going to cheat on GM."
And by the way, GM is loaning me an Equinox for my last Trail of the Pirates investigation, which will be at Pirates in Paradise in Key West this December. This means I don't have to put miles on my old jalopy Toyota, which is a huge help for the long drive. Does that count as my FTC disclosure? (Insert eye roll.)