31 Jan 2011
If you’re interested about how we will all get around in the future put these dates in your diaries – February 1st, 8th , 15th, and the 22nd. On each of these days BMW will release one part of its four part documentary series on future technology, culture, cities, etc and how it relates to the future of mobility.
This is a great example of thought leadership from one of the world’s leading car brands. Fellow PR practitioner, Trevor Young alerted me to it in his blog and it was too good an opportunity not to follow up and analyse in more detail.
The BMW microsite dedicated to this thought leadership piece describes the project as follows:
“Wherever You Want To Go” is the first release under BMW Documentaries—a new franchise dedicated to crafting original, thought-provoking and entertaining content. The film aims to take audiences to a place they’ve truly never been: the future. From the minds of some of the most influential scientists, academics, pioneers, and entrepreneurs of our time, this four-part documentary paints a unique picture of technology, culture, cities, our past, present and how it all relates to the future of mobility.
“Wherever You Want To Go” is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the right questions from the right people in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. As part of the Activate the Future website, viewers are also encouraged to click and comment on various points throughout the documentary.
BMWActivatetheFuture.com was created to get users actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation on the future of mobility. Over the coming months, this site will continue to explore new ways to shape the future of mobility and will encourage users’ opinions and participation along the way.
Hitting the thought leadership button on its head
In every way the intentions of BMWActivatetheFuture.com hits the right thought leadership buttons – time will tell whether this truly is a thought leadership platform or just a great PR gimmick. My instincts tell me that this campaign goes to the very culture of the organisation and is one that will grow to become a great thought leadership piece.
One only need examine the explanation above to realise in principle, it ticks all the right thought leadership boxes i.e.
· it is not overtly product focused
· it aims to generate discussion
· it maximises the use of third party experts
· it proactively promotes discussion and interaction with the brand through multiple channels
· it is a conversation and encourages debate
· it is clearly of interest to most of us who drive cars
· it will provide a great platform for BMW experts and leaders to talk about the future of mobility.
But there are some key thought leadership questions that need to be asked
As the campaign progresses, there are some key questions that will need to answered in order to measure its efficacy:
1. Does it/has it met its objectives and what were these? Have these been clearly set out?
2. Are these objectives measurable? If so what measurement criteria have been put in place?
3. Will it directly impact sales or brand awareness over time and how is this being measured?
4. Is it going to become part of the culture of the entire organisation right down to the sales guy on the floor of BMW dealership and how is this being achieved?
5. How is the content being stretched and leveraged across multiple audiences and channels?
6. What commitment (time and resources) are the BMW executives giving to this campaign?
These are for starters, I’m sure you probably have a whole lot more and I would love to hear them if you do. These six questions will drive rigorous focus and, I believe, greater success for the campaign in the long-term.
Well done BMW, I can’t wait for the first documentary tomorrow. FYI, it is entitled “The new city” and according to the website, it is about the way we live and how it will impact the way we move.