LONDON/NEW YORK: Honda, the auto brand, has built a social activation strategy based on three pillars in order to reach US millennials.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Alicia Jones, head of social media at American Honda Motor Co, outlines why it is "essential to create content that is inherently shareable" and how the brand taps into its existing audience to spread #HondaLove as well as "developing dynamic creative experiences early and often".

An example of the latter was the launch of a Honda Civic Snapchat filter which was viewed more than fifty million times in just twenty-four hours.

"We invest in what data shows is most effective, while developing content that breaks through in new and innovative ways," Jones says.

And such strategies help accomplish a wide range of objectives, from upper-funnel goals like awareness and brand affinity to lower-funnel metrics like purchase intent and dealer visits.

After data, Honda's second pillar is its work with social influencers, who are considered according to a number of factors, not just their audience size.

"We assess influencers based on their relevance to the initiative, their alignment with the brand principles, their engagement with fans (which is a key indicator of quality), and the profile of their audiences," Jones explains.

So, tens of thousands of views via a millennial automotive technology influencer discussing Honda's innovative engineering was "far more than brands often see on such product-heavy content".

The third pillar is timeliness and "using a tailwind of buzzworthy moments to amplify a brand message".

But, "Rather than perpetually chasing timeliness as the ultimate goal, we strive for relevance and discovering opportunities to add value in the right moments", says Jones, who reports that many of these are based around tie-ins to recurring holidays.

"There's no perfect formula for earning guaranteed engagement from Millennials," she says, "but we have seen notable spikes when we thoughtfully align our messaging with relevant cultural moments."

The value of social-optimised content for auto brands, she adds, is evident from PriceWaterhouseCoopers' research, which has found that that 38% of car buyers consult social media when purchasing a car and that 15% of social leads lead to test drives.

Data sourced from Admap