What you can not do in Ingolstadt:
It is Saturday morning, I am rested, relaxed and have just come out of the bath. And in a few hours I'll be in Stuttgart, first visiting the Porsche Museum and then spending the night in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The night in the Mercedes-Benz Museum? Yes. Because in Stuttgart they understood and implemented something from which they still seem light years away at Audi in Ingolstadt.
Bloggers and doers from the old media may not be on the same level in Stuttgart, but in Swabia they try hard, very hard - and one is successful in the discipline: “blogger relations”. This can be seen in interesting events like tonight, a night at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Alone with the expensive exhibits. Get to know the history of Mercedes-Benz intensively.
And Mercedes-Benz is far from the only automobile manufacturer in Germany, or importer, the bloggers now takes seriously and apparently has really understood what bloggers and bloggers in the media landscape 2.0 mean.
If I now use Audi as an extreme example of a “failure” in blogger relations, then I expressly do not want to discredit the people who are currently in direct contact with bloggers. Efforts are made at this level. Very hard. But even the most committed employee cannot do anything here if the structures in the company do not fit and the areas of responsibility have not been reorganized. And the fish always stinks from the head and so this criticism goes to the “upper tier” of decision-makers.
It is precisely this problem that you have to tackle within a company if you don't want to be seen as a “failure” in this new discipline of public relations and in my opinion, Audi has gone into the “Buxe”, this first experiment, blogger relations. At Audi, too few people are currently directly involved in this new discipline. Unfortunately. And I have nothing against volunteers and external service providers (on the contrary, I am convinced that many here are passionate about what they do) - but before you start experiments you have to be “internally” clear about what you want to achieve. And this is exactly where there is a massive problem at Audi. And that's a shame.
Why I think so, that I like to explain at 2 points:
In Ingolstadt blogs and bloggers are still considered to be purely hobby and leisure media. That this is not the case, however, shows not only my colleague Jens Stratmann from rad-ab.com, but also my blog. My website, my magazine, my online work - whatever you call it, is my main job. It's my job. It is my passion. At Audi in Ingolstadt, however, one takes a different perspective for this form of new media. Blogs are equated with readers of “auto, motor und sport” and with “end customers”. Fascinating. But above all: terrifying. Because end customers rarely take on the role of multiplier in the online media, as a magazine with information content and as a source of long-term Google archives. They are bloggers, modern media people.
Only in Ingolstadt at Audi, the level of public relations has so few stairs that the old publishing houses sit on the base, including the dying regional papers and on the last level - level zero, the base, where the bloggers sit together with the end customer on one level.
And as a result, it leads to grotesque situations where bloggers act as fillers at "customer events". There have already been several examples of this approach in the past and for another event in September bloggers are equated with the readers of the “ams”.
Which also leads to point 2:
The appreciation of my work. I no longer count the hours that I am out and about to keep appointments. I don't count the hours in front of the PC that I spend looking through, processing and publishing photo material. Also my work as an advertiser for my own blog, networker for new contacts and maintaining old contacts, moderator in front of the camera, online copywriter, opinion maker with a range in the range of “Auto Bild Schweiz”, question-answerer in the blog, dialogue senior editor, news-viewing media person.
I do not count the hours because I love what I do and because I do not want to do anything else. But I think I deserve a little respect. And among them is also that sitting on the company side conversation partners who can make decisions, may and want. That one gives me contact persons who can answer questions promptly. That my work is rewarded and I do not mean that I pay for press work.
And yes, I damn well want to have the same framework conditions on the side of the manufacturers as my (partly also by me) valued motor press colleagues from the last decades of “motor journalism”. Because I do - at least - the same job. The net reach of my blog is comparable to the print edition of AutoBild Switzerland and in addition to the driving reports at the end of a test, I produce without a budget: Videos, photo galleries, live the social media thought and stand in the Dialogue with the interested readers of my articles. I stand by my opinion, my reports and my work.
Other manufacturers and importers prove to me that I don't overshoot the mark with my expectation of receiving respect for my work - only in Ingolstadt is it difficult.
I would be an isolated case. If I were the only blogger upset about the nature of the collaboration, I would say, "Yes, it's up to me." - “Yes Habegger, your work sucks” - just look for something else. Become a pebble cleaner in the Desert Gobi or similar.
By the way:
In Munich at BMW they are even worse in the discipline of “blogger relations”, but I don't get upset about that anymore. But I have to be upset about Audi. Not just because I used to be a real Audi fan and stayed loyal to the brand for a long time, no - especially because they tried. They started with the A3 presentation - but somehow everything has only been half-hearted since then. And with half the heart, nobody survives long.
One more “request” to my blogging colleagues at the end:
If you already meet a manufacturer / importer, who takes you seriously, even offers you a test car and grants you the same conditions as compared to the established colleagues: Then deliver too, Produces something! Create something. Say your opinion. Do not become too snobby artists who think the world would just revolve around them and the manufacturers may be happy to be in touch with you!
So you harm me too and I find that even more SUCKING - than this half-hearted approach at Audi!