Top GM marketing exec Bob Lutz on effective communication

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

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When I visited General Motors world headquarters on Monday, a highlight was meeting Bob Lutz, GM vice chairman and the top marketing and communications executive in the company.


Lutz has been writing on the GM FastLane blog since 2004, making him one of the first senior executive bloggers. I filmed my conversation where we discuss how he uses the blog to communicate directly to journalists, how social media and offline marketing has changed in the five years since FastLane blog launched, how online research influences product development and advice to senior executives on communications and it’s importance to business.

The video is 12 minutes. Below are some times if you want to skip to a particular part of the video.

Filmed with my Flip video camera and edited on iMovie.
Direct link to the video here.

My favorite (lightly edited) quote: "Very few CEOs understand that there is nothing more important than communication... The more you engage people by answering emails, getting on blogs, getting on Twitter, and posting stuff on YouTube, the more we make ourselves real and credible and accessible and look like human beings who are trying to a good job rather than a bunch of amorphous corporate types… A CEO who says 'my job is to look at numbers and run this company from the inside' doesn’t fully understand what a CEO’s role is."

:00 – 1:50 On being one of the first executive bloggers back in 2004 and how he used the blog to communicate directly to journalists.

1:50 - 3:00 How social media and offline marketing has changed in the five years since FastLane blog launched.

3:00 - 5:30 On how bloggers and people on Twitter influenced the decision to cancel the Buick plug-in hybrid SUV only a few days after announcing the new vehicle.

5:30 – 7:00 How online research at GM influences product development.

7:00 – 12:00 Bob Lutz provides advice to senior executives on what online marketing and social media and it’s importance to business.

In case you missed it, here is my video interview with Fritz Henderson, CEO of General Motors. We discuss what helps to sell cars, including "new marketing" (blogs, Twitter, online video, etc.) as well as the more traditional television commercials plus the importance of word of mouth.

Watch for additional blog posts Including video interviews with the GM social media team later in the week.