Automotive Social Media Summit 2013
Hosted by Thought Leadership Summit

hotel pict

June 19, 2013

The Ritz-Carlton,

Marina del Rey, CA


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Sponsored by:

Digital Air Strike

Dealer Rater


Exclusive Media Partner:

Dealer Marketing Magazine



Agenda - June 19, 2013


7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Registration & Breakfast



tlsummits8:00 AM
Jon Munzel
Founder & President
Thought Leadership Summits



Digtial Air Strike8:15 AM

Opening Remarks from the Chair
Mark Rikess 
Digital Air Strike




Digtial Air Strike8:30 AM

Keynote Presentation

Casey Hurbis

Head of Brand Communications
Fiat NA


The Role of Social in the Brand Storyscape

Story is the key ingredient for connecting brands and consumers - stories are patterns that help us make sense of the world and these patterns are wired into our brains.  This is more important now than ever as the consumers’ world evolves, communication paths explode, and digital experiences become pervasive.  We are learning to move beyond thinking in story lines, and are now leveraging story systems to connect to consumers on their terms.  Think about it like this – we’ve moved beyond creating ads to creating worlds.  We’ve moved beyond simply telling the consumer our brand story in a compelling way to figuring out ways to have our products or services become part of the consumers’ story.

We call this Storyscaping.  In Storyscaping, we identify an Organizing Idea to govern the entire communications and experience landscape in which the brand and consumer can create a "shared story".  Social plays a crucial enabling role in these powerful brand-consumer ecosystems. 

Casey Hurbis, Head of FIAT Brand Communications, will take us through the Storyscape for the hugely successful launch of the FIAT Brand - specifically the role social media played in bringing the brand to life.  In addition, Casey will discuss how a strong brand Storyscape empowers social media to create brand stories on par with - or stronger than - other traditional branding channels.




Digtial Air Strike9:15 AM
Alexi Venneri 
Co-Founder & COO
Digital Air Strike

Spring 2013 Social Media and Review Site Study Results Revealed

Back by popular demand, the 3rd Automotive Social Media Trend Study is packed with even more actionable findings!  Conference delegates will be some of the first to see the results, including an analysis of dealer ratings and findings on how recent car buyers are actually using social media and review sites in their dealership selection process.  Learn if average liker and follower counts are increasing, find out which review sites get the highest use by car buyers, and see if your brand is featured as a success story.  Be one of the first to see how top brands are getting results from social media and learn how your company can leverage the top best practices.




10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Networking Break



10:30 AM

Mark Aikman

Social Media Lead

Mercedes-Benz USA


When Global Brands Go Local - Mercedes-Benz’s Approach to Social Media from Stuttgart to Springfield

Automotive brands have always tried to align their marketing to the three "traditional" tiers of Automotive advertising.  Those tiers have aligned to: awareness, consideration and purchase.  Find out what happens when social media causes brands to rethink our relationship to that traditional purchase funnel.

Mark’s presentation will provide an insider's look at how Mercedes-Benz USA approaches social media from top priorities to best practices.  He’ll examine MBUSA's successes and lessons learned in adapting global messages to national and local scales.  Additionally Mark will focus on how dealers should leverage the power of social media locally to increase customer loyalty.




11:15 AM

Alan Krutsch

Director - Marketing

Apple Auto Group



How to Implement a Successful Facebook Strategy in Automotive Retail

Facebook is arguably one of the two or three most important social media platforms for dealers.  With all the talk about “engagement metrics”, “social signals”, and other new marketing lingo how does a dealer or dealer group execute a successful Facebook plan?  Alan’s presentation will explain how to develop a Facebook strategy and implement the tactics required to be successful and achieve real ROI.  He’ll answer questions such as:

  • What comes first - fans or content?
  • Is it best to create fans organically, through contests, or with advertising?
  • What is the best type of content?
  • How do you measure success?

Alan will help you understand how to build an authentic fan base quickly, create and curate great content, use Facebook advertising to amplify your message, and utilize the custom audience feature.  Alan will close by providing examples with ROI metrics.




Noon – 1:00 PM
Networking Lunch


Digtial Air Strike1:00 PM

Special Joint Presentation
Heather MacKinnon

Vice President - National Accounts






Mark Pauze

Senior Product Marketing Manager – Analytics and Consulting

Proof is in the Numbers - Reviews Drive Business

With 84% of Americans acknowledging that online evaluations have an influence on their decision to purchase a product/service, an online reputation management strategy is no longer simply a “nice to have” for today’s successful dealerships – it’s a necessity.  The ideal is an online reputation that enhances the public’s opinion of your dealership and its employees.  This perception converts to sales. 

What’s your offense for online reviews?  Are they helping your dealership drive sales?  New quantifiable data shows that dealerships’ online reviews and associated star ratings do just that – drive new vehicle sales and increase share of brand sales.

In this presentation, Heather will share results from a recent DealerRater-Polk study that demonstrates the direct correlation between dealership online star ratings and dealer vehicle sales.  Study results also compare the sales performance of DealerRater Certified Dealers to the general market as well as to non-certified dealers.  Heather will then present dealer case studies that explore the fundamentals of building and maintaining an online reputation that enhances auto consumers’ interest in doing business with your dealership and its employees.  Finally, Heather will review proven strategies for adopting a strong offense for online reviews (both at the dealership and employee level) resulting in selling more cars across the Web and in the showroom.




1:45 PM

Bob Shuman


Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram



The Challenges & Benefits of a Successful Reputation Management Strategy

The reputation of a dealership has always been important.  The advent of the Internet (and more recently websites dedicated to dealership reviews) has made reputation management critical to the success of every automotive retailer.  In fact, your online reputation is a sustainable advantage that can help differentiate your dealership from the competition.

Bob Shuman started his career practicing law – another business where reputation is critical.  So when he made the transition into automotive retail, nurturing and protecting the dealership’s reputation was a natural priority for Bob.  In his presentation, Bob will discuss the challenges he experienced understanding online reviews and developing a reputation management strategy.  He’ll explain how he evaluated the online review options and selected a primary provider.  Bob will describe the process of gaining employee buy-in and building a base of reviews.  He’ll also present his approach to negative reviews and how they can turned into a positive.  Finally, Bob will demonstrate how Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is able to leverage their top rated status – they were recently recognized by DealerRater as the overall 2013 Dealer of the Year - in the highly competitive Detroit Metro market.




2:30 PM

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

Professor & Director - Social Media Executive Education

UCLA Anderson School of Management


Presentation:  TBA




3:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Networking Break



Digtial Air Strike3:45 PM

Pawan Murthy

General Manager - Online Business
BMW Financial Services


Social Navigation - How Social Media Takes Physical Form and Rewards Loyalty

Social media campaigns often strive to reach a large audience with a generic message.  To be truly effective, social media needs to be hyper-local - such as empowering a user in a Dayton, OH suburb to discover a more scenic drive to work.  How does an automotive finance company keep customers loyal to their brand?  BMW Financial Services hopes to create a paradigm shift for effective social media campaigns: the participation and “cohesion” of a community is more powerful than the sheer size.  Instead of striving for a high number of “likes” or “users”, BMW Financial Services focuses more on creating a quality experience to a smaller, more active core group of fanatics.

Pawan’s presentation will discuss the power of social navigation and how small yet cohesive social communities are more effective at influencing customer behavior, rewarding loyalty, and driving repeat sales.  He’ll review The Ultimate Drive – an industry first social navigation platform for smartphones and Facebook.  The Ultimate Drive app allows users to discover, share, and rate the best roads to drive (based on scenery, traffic, “twistiness”), and quickly became the #1 Navigation app on iTunes.  Pawan will review how BMW Financial Services was able to leverage their app user community and drive repeat BMW sales to originating dealers.  Pawan will also explain how his team is expanding The Ultimate Drive to Facebook to let BMW dealers provide more engaging content to their customers.

Finally, Pawan will share powerful insights gained from his experience in social media and mobile tech so that others can utilize social media, apps, and gamification in their brand experience.




4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Panel Discussion:


Social ROI – Qualitative & Quantitative Benefits


The Social Media Summit will close with a panel discussion featuring thought leaders from both the OEM and Dealer communities. The discussion will focus on the ROI delivered by Social 2.0 – both the qualitative benefits that the innovators and visionaries believed in as an act of faith, and the quantitative benefits that pragmatists required before making significant investments. Areas of commonality and divergence between OEM and Dealer will be the basis for a spirited discussion, providing a last opportunity for all delegates to engage the panelists and one another, leaving the Summit with newly gained insights on successful social media strategies in the automotive industry.



Digtial Air StrikeErica Sietsma

Director - Strategic Relationships
Digital Air Strike




Panel Members:


Digtial Air StrikeShari Kourilsky

General Manager - Digital, CRM, & Social Marketing
Mazda NA






Erich Marx

Director - Website & Social Media Marketing

Nissan NA





Ben Lovie
Director of Marketing
OpenRoad Auto Group




Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

Professor & Director - Social Media Executive Education

UCLA Anderson School of Management





Digtial Air Strike5:30 PM
Closing Remarks from the Chair
Mark Rikess 
Digital Air Strike




5:35 PM – 7:00 PM
Cocktail Reception



7:00 PM

Summit Closes



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