Chevy Volt Social Media Site Falls Short of Electrifying

I grew up in a family where "buying American" was expected. My parents both had American cars for as long as I can remember. My uncles were "gear heads" and dismissed foreign cars when Hondas and Toyotas were popular and made more economic sense. Friends in high school rebuilt classic cars like '57 Chevys and '67 Nova's. And, even though my first car was a '67 VW Fastback (dad has a soft spot for classic VWs), 2 years later I got a Ford Explorer.

Like so many others, I'm REALLY pulling for GM. That's probably why I was so bummed to see the new Chevy VoltAge social site.

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To be honest, I didn't even know the Volt existed (shame on me, I suppose) until I came across this article by Karl Burkhart. In it, Burkhart lists a number of reasons why he's doubtful the social network nor the car will enjoy similar success of others before it's time: technology, credibility, looks, and price.

I, on the other hand, really feel Chevy missed an opportunity (or 10) with the Chevy Voltage site. I guess I expected to see something reflective of GM's reinvention. Instead, I got something that resembled a lemon.

It started when I first landed on the site. I was expecting a community, but it didn't feel like one. What exactly am I supposed to do when I arrive? I believe the goal is for visitors to create an account (join the community) and engage in dialogue? I didn't feel compelled, so I poked around. Maybe that's enough?

  • The blogs read more like a news section. No commenting allowed? Where's the fun in that? Readers should be encouraged to comment. If not, why call it a blog? Just get rid of it.
  • I checked out the Photos. Is it me, or there a better way to present and organize images? I hate the fact that you only get six images per page. There are so many more cool ways to serve up and share photos.
  • Though the Video section is also cumbersome to navigate, the "Building the Volt Prototypes" video series is worth checking out.

I'm not a designer nor an information architect, but VoltAge falls short of reinvention. Anyone familar with online communities can see that. As Josh noted, "That site is built in tables and looks seriously lame. It sucks because the car seems rad."

I'm sure Chevy's marketing team is watching, but they must be slightly envious of Lyle Dennis' site. He's optimized for search, has higher engagement levels, and is clearly passionate about the Volt. He gets it. He's actually built a community of Volt enthusiasts.

The Future might be electrifying,  but the VoltAge social site is anything but.

 

Jen Krupey

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Posted in Article Category: #Strategy
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