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Monday, July 11, 2011

Looking Into the Share of Voice of Volt and LEAF



This blog has followed a lot of the marketing efforts of two very compelling vehicles from the past several years: The Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF. Both cars are currently taking charge (pun intended) in the battle for green bragging rights with consumers and now Nissan has thrown a new punch at its Chevy competitor.

The new ads feature life with gasoline fueled appliances. The ads look into the continued dependence of gasoline engines as an old technology that is far behind the times, of course most of Nissan’s own portfolio of vehicles are hence old technology, but this is about green bragging rights and Nissan showcasing its competitive advantage.

Chevy has ensconced its Volt as a fighter of “range anxiety.” Range anxiety is the uneasy feeling that one’s all-electric vehicle may run out of charge before reaching the owner’s destination. Chevy has a backup gas engine to avoid such moments of concern, of course that’s pretty expensive backup plan but thankfully both the Volt and LEAF gain from current $7,500 government incentives to offset costs.

I wanted to take a look at how performance for both of these vehicles is doing online and worked with some great people from MutualMind here in Dallas who ran some social media analytics against the two cars for the week of May 29 - June 4, just to get a peek at what is going on in the social conversation.


IMG 1: Brand Hits refer to the Nissan LEAF, Competitor Hits to the Chevy Volt



It’s interesting to see they are both neck and neck as far as coverage, mentions of the two vehicles are with the Nissan LEAF having a slight edge, but that may be due mostly to the new ad campaign that is gaining some visibility internationally since it is creatively similar to a Renault ad running in Europe.





Sentiment is where the data gets a bit more interesting. Negative sentiment for the Volt is almost two times higher than it is for the LEAF, but that’s only half of the story. Positive sentiment is 34% higher with Volt than LEAF. What's this tell us? At least in social media conversation, Volt is a more polarizing vehicle meaning people are either defending it or criticizing it.

There are some rumors circulating around GM doing an all-electric Volt (GM has denied this.) It’s highly doubtful GM would use the same vehicle name (or even the same brand Chevy) to compete more directly with Nissan’s LEAF and Ford’s coming Focus EV. Like the hybrid market, the electric-vehicle (EV) market is sure to get very competitive and not be as simple as evaluating two primary competitors.

For now though, it is interesting watching these two solutions from two big brands battle for the hearts and minds of the green crowd as we move into the Post-Prius green vehicle movement.

Later this week I'll be sharing some of my personal thoughts on the Chevy Volt after driving one several days.

Thanks to Babar Bhatti from MutualMind for providing me with some great data. For more information, please contact:






Company: Mutual Mind
Website: http://www.mutualmind.com/

MutualMind is a social media management and intelligence platform that enables businesses to monitor as well as promote brands on social networks while providing actionable analytics and insights to increase social media ROI.

MutualMind offers a platform that allows users to aggregate and analyze feedback and conversations regarding their products or services on all of the major social media platforms. While many alternatives on the market today are limited just to listening or publishing, MutualMind’s has taken its value proposition further through the ability for users to actively engage with and manage the various social media outlets.

The functionality of this platform can be used for a myriad of business applications including: measuring market receptivity to products or services, tracking consumer or political sentiment, reputation/crisis management, generating sales leads, benchmarking versus competitors, and customer relationship management to name a few.


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3 comments:

Ben Kunz said...

Nice analysis.

For years I've considered the Chevy Volt an intriguing provocation in the electric car space ... first with the campaign touting the concept car, far away from execution, and then with the actual car that lost a lot of the concept design edge. Even the tagline, "It's more car than electric," seems designed to piss people off (why would an electric car diss its competitive differentiation?).Polarization seems a good thing, though, and is required to break out of the clutter. In the brand ladder in our heads, Chevy's Volt has grabbed a top rung, in my mind just below Prius. The Volt seems a lot like the new Beetle when that car was launched, designed to get new buyers on the lot to check out the curiosity, even if they end up buying something else (exactly what I did 10 years ago, considering the Beetle and ending up in a VW Passat). Maybe the target market for the Volt isn't young people who want a hip electric car, but the entire universe of Americans who need to wake up and remember that Chevy is an actual brand. Provocation would fit that bill.

Christopher Baccus said...

I agree with "polarization is a good thing." It creates differentiation and pride for those who love it; though, plenty of fodder for those who dislike it too, but at least it's taking a position which is usually something most vehicles never do.

Regarding bringing people into the showroom. Chevy/GM has made it no secret that they intend to use the Volt this way and is part of why the built the Chevy Cruze Eco edition as a lower cost alternative to those who might want a Volt but can't afford it. Definitely some smart product thinking there.

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