The Chevrolet Volt electric/hybrid car has won numerous awards, including the coveted Car of the Year (COTY) at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
CommCore was privileged to work with the Chevy team on messaging and media training throughout the development of the vehicle up through the launch. The Volt was an effort that pre-dated the GM bankruptcy and with a lot of hard work and planning, made it through to the finish line.
A key component of the marketing and communications plan was to place the car in many cities, office parks, universities and at public events, and let journalists, electric vehicle enthusiasts, regulators and lawmakers, and everyday drivers experience the vehicle. Chevy recognized first and foremost that the car was the star because of the sheet metal and the unique electric motor first, gas engine second combination. In addition, Chevy knew that training the engineers and designers would be critical in explaining the technology and answering questions – from the driver’s vs. the engineer’s point of view.
CommCore was of course thrilled to receive an email from the Chevy team: “The training you provided our engineers helped ‘release their passion for this vehicle’ in a way that was both recognized and appreciated by the media.”
I don’t share these kudos to brag, but to reinforce the point that so much of communications is how we communicate, not just what we say. Whether it’s a politician, a teacher, a business leader or an engineer, unleashing the “passion” of your words goes a long way to reaching the audience. The facts about the Volt are really quite extraordinary. And while GM and Chevrolet are working to improve their respective reputations among skeptics, communicating facts and information in an enthusiastic way has an additive effect.
One of our mantras is that there are three overlapping factors that make you more persuasive: It starts with the message. Then there’s the focus of the message on the audience, followed by the third component, you the communicator. And it’s often the communicator’s passion that ultimately connects with the audience. When a GM doubter learns about the Volt from an engineer who is passionate about his or her work, it sinks in. If the FDA advisory committee members hear the appropriate energy and enthusiasm from clinical investigators – in addition to the data – they are more likely to think favorably about the drug or device. It’s not a matter of form over substance, it’s both.
We’re always looking for examples of when passionate communications makes a difference. What can you share?