New Nissan Social-Media Chief All Revved Up

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Erich Marx is a 20-year veteran of Nissan, so he doesn’t have to “learn” the brand. And as Nissan’s director of marketing communications, he was involved in the company’s initial social-media efforts. Now, as Nissan’s first director of social media and interactive marketing, he gets a chance to make the automaker an industry trailblazer.

One thing Marx already knows is that he’d like to do more of what Nissan has been doing in its promotion with Sony involving the Gran Turismo 5 computer game. Nissan selected 16 of the best American “drivers” in the game and then took them to the UK to compete as real racers behind the wheels of actual Nissans. The brand also is filming a reality series (GT Academy) about the contestants that it will put online in September.[more]

“Nothing we’re doing with Gran Turismo has to do with our brand TV and print campaign,” Marx told brandchannel. “It’s just social. That’s a benchmark for what we want to do on a greater scale.”

And as for Nissan’s general involvement in producing its own brand content, Marx said, “I just want what we do to make sense. It’s got to have a connective thread, a logical link to what we stand for as a brand. People aren’t going to come to NissanUSA.com or our Facebook page for content regarding food.”

In his new job, Marx is enthused about the fact that his mandate is to enhance not only Nissan’s social-media chops but also to improve and deepen the brand’s web site, partly by “adding social aspects to it,” he said. “We might put owner reviews of our vehicles on NissanUSA.com, for instance,” Marx suggested.

Marx also likes the fact that the entire auto industry is in a period of robust experimentation with social media. “It’s a bit like the wild West,” he said. “People say, ‘Hey, let’s try this.’ At the same time, there’s not a lot of strategy to what I’m seeing so far. Everybody is still trying to figure out what they have to do.”

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