Steven Wade is the no 1, hard core Saab fan in the world. Therefor its interesting to see what car he will buy now when Saab is not available. Read his post: Saab owners changing brands? I believe many Saab fans will increase there passion for the brand (but only in historically level). The fan community have to connect more to find car parts, older cars have more parts than new models. In other words to be an successful Saab fan you have to be social (or else you will not find part to your Saab).
This is a milestone not only for SAAB, but for the whole relationship between corporations and consumers. In August I bloged the following: Make Steven Wade a part of SAAB top management team. Now the dream is becoming real:
Wade gained worldwide recognition as founder and editor-in-chief of the website SaabsUnited. Through his website, Wade played a pivotal role in rallying support around the globe for the Saab brand during negotiations for its sale by General Motors. In reaching out to Saab enthusiasts in this unique way, Wade gained invaluable insights in how to communicate with customers through social media, something that Saab Automobile will leverage to the fullest extent with Steven on the team. Saabsunited.com
Finally they now have the opportunity to build not only cars in world-class but also a tribe that is connected to their brand from the inside (checkout: Inside.saab.com) I hope they will not only use Steven Wade for marketing but also for building both the cars and the corporate DNA from ground zero! Or else they will risk that the whole fan-tribe movement might become a false lipstick (a risk but I think Steve’s passion for the brand will spread on the inside in more fields than marketing).
In December I bloged about a new SAAB car model in the price-range of 50.000 Euro, it did engage a lot of discussion in the SAAB community if that was possible or not. It all started to spread with the legendary SAAB blog who wrote about the idea (every car buyer would be part owner of the brand):
The Saabs United Award is one of the best SAAB-news I have heard for a long time. It sounds like the top management now are start to recognize their true costumer tribe leader chief Steven Wade.
It is an good start but I don’t think it is enough – they need to change their DNA as a corporation (let fans drive the SAAB brand and not only buy solutions that they not are involved in). Why not invite Steven Wade to be a part of the top management team?
The Saabs United Trophy consists of a model of Saab’s first car, Ursaab, mounted on a plinth together with an unlikely partner – a boomerang. This was presented to Jonsson by Wade when protracted discussions for the sale of Saab were successfully concluded. “It is people like Steven and many thousands of Saab fans around the world who really deserve such an award,” said Jonsson. “In a way, you could say I am returning it, which seems quite appropriate.
Finally: “Spyker Cars finalizes the purchase of Saab Automobile,” Saab-web.com.
In this deal I think Victor Muller has shown to be an excellent tribe leader. Listen to this quotes from the video below:
The main thing we need to change: We need to give our costumers the clear message, that SAAB’s will be SAAB’s again. The company has lost it’s DNA over the past years and that has cost its costumers to turn its back on it….We are not looking for new costumers, were just looking for getting our own costumers back.
In this video do the corporate leaders thanks their fans. One of them is Steven Wade, Saabsunited.com how did fly al the way from Australia to attend at this tribe meeting. Here is his own emotional words:
Last night I went to a big celebration dinner at the Grand Hotel here in Stockholm. There were about 50 people present in one of the most beautiful dining rooms I’ve ever seen. It was totally surreal, like watching a scene in a very ornate movie with suited people, frescoed walls and complete with a snowfallen city backdrop.
Dutch television did show this interview (28 January).
I don’t understand what they say but it is great to see SAAB survive and fun that they are playing ABBA music in the background.
Saving SAAB has a lot to do with fans as Steven Wade, Saabsunited.com. The new owner Victor Muller do understand what inspires SAAB fans.
Long live SAAB
It is great news! Now they have to find a way to drive the brand to new markets.
The SAAB story is now making an U-turn and are hitting back at GM headquarter, as in the video below by Ryan Emge, editor of Saabhistory.com.
One of the fans in this video are saying “I think SAAB dissever a chance…..” and she left out a senates for YOU to fill in… can ad to survive.
The best movement has a connections to David and Goliath, so is SAAB and GM. With todays Internet structure it is easy to connect fans with each other as movement platforms as Saabsunited.com. Cars is dots that connects themselves if the owners have a common goal. If it was helicopters they could be connected in one place at the time now they have to find landmarks to manifest their movement to like the GM headquarter.
Tweed Coat Set Turns Out for Saab in Detroit. Wsj.com
This song written by an SAAB named David Blumburg is good for spreading the tribe feeling.
By the way Saabhistory.com is a good think but Saabfuture.com is not taken and “SAABs future” that is what is missing in the picture.
Thanks to Jack Yan for sending some of the best SAAB links above.
It is fascinating to get feedback from the No 1 SAAB fan in the world, Steven Wade (swade). He is running the fan-page and are more dedicated to SAAB than any living GM CEO. The comment on Steven’s post is full of passion for the brand. Fans are in the comments extend the idea (ore drive it fare out in the landscape called “future car models”).
Since GM didn’t manage to sell SAAB, they announced that they will shut down the legendary SAAB brand last Friday:
G.M. would still be willing to consider selling Saab if a new buyer were to emerge. If that does not occur, the process of winding down Saab will begin in January… “I can’t rule it out, but the clock starts now.” John F. Smith, a General Motors executive vice president Nytimes.com
In other words SAAB is now on the death-row. GM is not an charity organization. Until now buyers have only offered them words, here is my idea for how to get potential 10 billion Euros. In other words, numbers so good that it would be criminal to say no.
SAAB has the most dedicated automobile consumers in the world. Still GM only manage to sell 93,000 SAAB cars last year. Too few brands have something unique left. Users of SAAB understand this better than GM management.
Here is my solution: start selling one of the SAAB cars customized into a special edition. Sell it for a higher price, lets say 50.000 Euros. Give buyers half of the money back after 2 years if they in that time have managed to sell 10 cars to others.
By buying one of the unique SAAB cars the buyer automatically becomes an owner of SAAB. Each bought car makes the buyer a part-owner of the car, that will make fans go from being ambassadors to Kings and Queens (everyone will recognize this special edition of SAAB and see what they stand for – a hero and owner of the SAAB brand). Include a free tripe to the SAAB fabric in Trollhättan for every partner that owns a SAAB car. Give each car a unique number, so more fans can expand the fantribe by using social media (connect every car with an user story, ore an Twitter account on wheels). Let these part-owners become future salespeople of SAAB cars. Connect the cars with Google Maps and GPS, give the owners better commissions on the sales if they park and drive them in popular places. Give every employee and suppliers the same deal (at least 10.000 people are directly or indirectly involved in the making of SAAB cars today).
Numbers: Sell 200.000 cars before they are made to consumers, employes etc. 200.000 x 50.000 Euros = 10 Billion Euros. 10 billion Euros will make a difference.
What is loyalty? Is it inside ore outside an corporation? When employes does not believe in their leaders they feel more loyal to the fan community outside the corporation. Saabsunited.com is an fantribe that get news stuff long before media. Here is how they point out their fans vs. insidersrelation:
Are you an insider with a confidential tip-off? Djup Strupe (it’s Swedish for ‘deep throat’) is the name given to the collected group of people who have inside knowledge of the company and don’t mind passing a little of it on for responsible use by a passionate and true-hearted website. Your anonymity is guaranteed.
In hard economic times it is easy to get insiders to spread secret information to fans how believe in their future (a leadership that fires employes are not trusted, but fans are emotional more connected). What is loyalty? It is not something that can be measured ore achieve by paying employes salary.
Instead leaders could creating an tribe of believers inside and outside the corporation, loyalty has an foundation to stand on in good and bad times.