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GM Experiments With Podcasting

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Not only is General Motors still at the leading edge with executive blogging by a Fortune 100 company, with their GM Fastlane Blog, but they’re also out in front in trying out other new communication channels.

In a post yesterday GM offers two podcasts about the launch of two new car models at the Chicago Auto Show – the Cadillac DTS and the Buick Lucerne.

I listened to both podcasts, each introduced by Gary Cowger, President of GM North America. If he was the one who blogged it, then he would be the third senior GM exec to blog, joining Vice Chairman Bob Lutz – the original blogger when the blog launched at the beginning of January – and Tom Stephens, Group Vice President, GM Powertrain, who started blogging at the end of January. However, it’s not clear if Cowger is the blogger as this post is one of the few where the individual blogger isn’t identified (so likely to have been one of the PR folk).

So, to the podcasts, each one a bit over or under five and a half minutes. They’re actually the sound part from webcasts GM did for the Chicago Auto Show launches. They are not audio presentations created specifically for distribution as podcasts. The presenter in each one clearly is speaking to a live audience who can see what’s being talked about – there are specific points in both where the presenters use phrases like “As you can see…”

You can actually see as well as hear the slick event presentations if you view the webcasts at GMTV.

But, for this first step, I don’t think it matters at all that the audio is taken from something else. GM is experimenting with this medium. As an experiment, the podcasts are bound to attract interest simply because GM is doing it. If they judge it to be a success, then no doubt we’ll see future such efforts produced specifically for this aural medium.

As to how they will measure success, well, comments via the Fastlane Blog are one sure way to get feedback on what visitors think about the experiment and build those comments into a focus for discussion. If a recent post is anything to go by, where a visitor’s comment prompted it, I’d expect to see a specific post discussing the podcasts, what people think of them and what GM plans to do next with them. This will be dynamic conversation and real transparency if that happens!

In any event, I take my hat off to you, GM, for trying this out.

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.

GM Experiments With Podcasting
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