When reputation's at stake, kill 'em with candor

June 11, 2012

After 75 years as the leading oil and air filter manufacturer, FRAM didn’t expect the “reputation creep” that came with the rise of social media.

Their wake-up call came in the form of posts on automotive forums and major auto blogs – consumers and industry influencers alike were now using the online pages of social media to voice their opinions and concerns about the product and the brand. While much of the chatter was positive and informative, myths and misperceptions began to take root. Increasingly, posts began questioning quality and efficacy of the brand’s core products.

So if you’re FRAM, what do you do to turn the reputational tide? You work hand in hand with your Richards Partners team to host a blogger junket for key online influencers – the first-ever peek behind the curtain at FRAM’s Proving Grounds testing facility – with the goal being to set the record straight, to debunk the myths, and to open the door for transparent dialogue.

You invite seven of the loudest yet most reasonable voices in the automotive filter space to attend a lab tour and hands-on filter demonstration with direct access to FRAM’s chief engineer, followed by a bold viewing of FRAM product-related “myth” video clips collected on YouTube, and a discussion of tough questions and answers.

You surprise them with transparency and candor. As one blogger said: “Wow, I didn’t expect FRAM to be this direct.”

Even better were the multipage, myth-busting posts that made their way to some of the most influential blogs in the industry – eyeballs of well over 150,000 on each site. Our favorite headline: “Eating crow about FRAM.”