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Talking Our Customers’ Language – Mazda Canada & StoryStream

Mazda has a core strategy to be truly customer-led. And to do that, they need to give their fans, followers and car owners a way to contribute to the brand. It’s why Mazda Canada has been testing and exploring how User Generated Content (UGC) – harnessed through StoryStream – can help its customers not just to be passengers but to actively help drive the brand.

Global and Local

In the past, automotive retailers would create their own websites and use some defaults on product information and a configurator. But today, these brands want to create a more unified experience.

For Mazda, that global positioning is defined and differentiated for a premium market. All content should support and align with that strategy plus engage and relate to customers at the local level. “Tailoring can be hard, and it’s why UGC is so powerful,” says Simon Power of StoryStream.

Real, Relevant and Ready

“UGC with StoryStream has been great. It’s kind of served as a content place order for me.” comments Tobi Sogbesan, Sr. Social Media Specialist at Mazda Canada.

When Canada put their hand up to trial StoryStream, they already knew that they needed to solve the general lack of ‘Canadian’ content and reliance on Mazda USA plus Mazda Motor Europe for assets.

He notes the upcoming release of the Mazda MX-30 and Connected Vehicle where they have used the US and Europe assets for their social announcements and landing page. “There have been times where the vehicle is on the ground, and we haven’t seen it. We introduced the 100th-anniversary models and relied on dealership photos on social for additional content,” he comments.

Using more UGC through StoryStream’s content curation tool offers a way to capture content with more immediacy when a vehicle first lands. “That content lives on our social channels, not on our website. So, we need to be there talking in real-time to our customer,” he says.

Mazda Canada use StoryStream to deliver engaging customer photos on their website

A Connecting Conversation

And, when talking to an audience in Canada, you need to talk the right language. Mazda Canada has both French and English language websites. Although there is cross-over content between the two, it is nuanced for each. “When integrating our social media channels on our website, we had some difficultly with the English showing up on the French, and vice versa. We needed to differentiate between those two languages,” he says.

Simon Power observes that this is both possible and scaleable with StoryStream. “When StoryStream drops in, it creates real opportunities to get close to the customer, in any language, and for the most relevant products,” he says.

Hands Off, Hands-On Solution

Tobi has already used some UGC strategies to respond to the global shift towards a more ‘lifestyle’ and ‘real-life’ social media approach. It was well-received, with customer engagement higher every time UGC content got used.

But, the process was time-consuming. “It was a very manual process. I DM’d customers directly to ask for permission to use their photos or would rely on unsolicited pictures people sent in of their cars later use,” he comments.

StoryStream’s AI-powered content curation tool now does that work for him. The result is a central bank of ready to go, quality UGC images, with tracking and rights-managed. “StoryStream has streamlined that process,” he says.

And customers are enjoying having their content shared. StoryStream is getting 80% approval. “People are often delighted to have their content shared by the brand, often showing excitement or leaving thankful sentiments in the comments,” he states.

StoryStream can also capture editorial reviews and articles. In automotive this can have real impact. When working with his public relations team on the launch of the MX-30 Garage page recently, he could use StoryStream carousels and feature that earned media quickly. “It was new to Canada, and as news stories came in, we could change that into content on the site,” he adds.

The Whole Experience

StoryStream AI can combine all paid, owned and earned content in a blend of content that can filter back into the social channels and be featured on its carousels and galleries embedded in the website. It mirrors global brand strategy whilst delivering a Canadian customer-led experience.

Automotive websites are often the first landing point for many buyers as they explore and research a new car purchase. With StoryStream this can now be a highly engaging customer journey. “We can now feature social, YouTube and editorial reviews on our website. Rather than people having to go and do their own general research, they’re able to watch those videos and read those reviews without leaving our site,” says Tobi.

StoryStream works with many premium automotive brands like Porsche, Mercedes, Land Rover, Audi – and knows this leads to success. “We’re achieving 25% of customers opening content when they engage with the StoryStream galleries websites. Dwell times are considerably up too. That’s important – a quarter of your audience is now stopping and taking time to be there,” Simon Power adds.

Rights approved UGC is used to boost organic social media engagement

Measuring Success

It’s early days for this project, but the signs are good, and Mazda Canada are poised to continue with this pilot, creating a template for how other Mazda markets can replicate its success. He anticipates increased customer engagement and appreciates the speed and seamless nature of generating, organizing and publishing content. “Our social calendar development is a lot easier. UGC fills any content gaps we would normally have,”says Tobi.

The next steps will be to connect more directly with the customer via the website by providing a content hub that will get curated into a long-page gallery. Customers will be encouraged to submit and upload pictures, videos and messages and showcase them with their vehicles. It should build customer advocacy and keep content flowing.  “We can now keep track of everything as well as potential customers stories that might come in,” he adds.

Tobi comments that UGC is only going to grow. He’s observed that people are getting tired of generic brochure images and UGC can help to differentiate and show real-life situations. And he remarks that a lot more brands are utilising UGC in social ads. Customers are creating content to talk about what interests them.  For brands it presents both a challenge and an opportunity. “This is going to continue,” he says.

StoryStream is working towards that. “Later this year, we’re introducing AI data analytics to help identify what is engaging audiences in detail to give scaled insights on what type of content to source,” says Simon Power.

The more customers share, the more brands can understand and engage with their customers for a better, more relatable brand experience. “The whole point is to have content that is relevant to the audience that is seeing it,” says Tobi.

With StoryStream more Mazda fans, followers and car owners can now help drive that.

Success Metrics

  • 128 rights approved user-generated content items in 3 months
  • 84% UGC approval rate
  • +23% increase in website dwell times
  • -31% decrease in page bounce rate
  • +45% increase in likes on UGC vs Brand content

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