VW's social enlightenment

Leo Rayman


Volkswagen put social media at the heart of its launch of the Tiguan compact SUV, which influenced fundamental organisational change.

Working in social media provides a good sense of what the American Goldrush must have been like – people piling into frontier towns with very little idea of exactly what they were doing, but a burning desire to make a buck doing it. Now that anyone can publish their ideas, it can be hard to spot the snake-oil salesmen from the bona fide practitioners. Some revel in the complexity, as a means of frightening clients into handing over their money.

Actually, we believe that social media is very simple to understand and easy to use. Most of us use it every day, with very little conscious effort required. The hard part is turning the theory into reality and executing it really well.

In this article, I want to tell you the story of how an experiment in social media marketing was a major contributing factor to an organisational change programme to put social insight at the heart of a business. I'm not claiming we did it 100% right, but we certainly learned a lot.