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US B2B brand John Deere taps "chatterbox" customers to boost brand awareness

US B2B brand John Deere taps "chatterbox" customers to boost brand awareness

Background

John Deere, the machinery manufacturer with revenues of £16bn, has a global market base providing machines for the huge farming and construction industries. Ahead of their 175th anniversary in 2012 John Deere has built a global strategy shaping and building the John Deere of the future.

In March 2011 John Deere wanted to emphasise the appreciation it has for their customer base and demonstrate the importance placed on "listening to their customers", whilst also demonstrating the innovative work that they do in the machinery sector. They launched an integrated digital and traditional campaign with the help of agency Gyro.


Strategy

To truly engage their customers and demonstrate appreciation of their loyal consumer base, John Deere and Gyro came up with a campaign to celebrate the voices of those who operate John Deere machines.

The idea is focused around an online and offline ‘Chatterbox’, a service that gives consumers the chance to air their views on the machines they use and suggest improvements to John Deere directly. Supporting the creative for this global strategy will be an extensive advertising and media campaign rolled out in stages across the US, then Pan-Asia and then Europe.

 

Implementation

The first stage of the campaign was to grow and develop the concept of John Deere "listening to, and celebrating" their customers views. This began with the "Chatterbox", a mobile production studio that ‘ambushed’ construction sites to record the experiences and views of John Deere operators. These recordings would be used later as collateral for the launch at ConExpo, a leading global trade show for the construction industry held in the US. To support this, a micro-site was launched that had a four-fold purpose:

  • Provide a dedicated platform for the industry to suggest peer-rated, innovative improvements for John Deere machinery
  • Aggregate all social media chatter onto one website, providing an easy to find resource on discussions about John Deere
  • Airing a teaser video for the official launch of the ‘Chatterbox’ at ConExpo to drive interest around the project
  • Keeping track of the ‘Chatterbox’ and its travel across the US

This activity culminated at ConExpo 2011 in March this year, where the "Chatterbox" was officially unveiled to the industry as a whole. Many consumers who had already recorded their views took part in the launch event, presenting their own recordings and explaining why they used John Deere.

Following this launch, the advertising and press campaign began, further communicating the ‘Chatterbox’ campaign ‘listening’ message. Full page adverts positioning ordinary John Deere users as the experts were placed in key trade titles. These adverts explained how John Deere users are often consulted in the development of products – a key part of the celebration of ‘worker’s voices’. Regular news announcements further backed this up, containing quotes not from CEOs or Directors but machinery operators who had been involved with consultation processes

Results

The success of this campaign has been seen most on John Deere’s digital presence. Their online activities received millions of impressions, with their Facebook community growing past the 500,000 mark. The micro-site saw 150,000 hits during the launch of the campaign, and continues to be a forum for all things John Deere.

Hundreds of customers have already taken part in the "Chatterbox" initiative, with all of the videos produced being uploaded onto the micro-site for the community to see.

These results show that John Deere’s reputation as a company that takes its customers seriously, and strives to improve its products, has grown tremendously in the past year, placing them as the leader in the construction machinery sector.
 

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