When it comes to working with social media influencers and content creators, it’s not just about who you work with, and their associated audience and reach, it’s increasingly about how you work with them and the type of content you create collaboratively if you are to deliver real results for your brand. At Stellantis, the home of Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Citroën, we’re continually evolving not just our content creator partnerships, but also our working methods and methodologies. Because here in the Middle East, we’re in a region that has some of the highest levels of engagement and impact – dare I say influence? – anywhere on the planet.
Take our partnership with legendary UAE automotive content creator Ali Hamoudi (@uaesupersport). Of course, we do automotive media and influencer test drives across our brand portfolio for any new product launch as a hygiene factor. But we’ve extended our partnership with Ali for the Jeep brand, with content – including the Grand Cherokee unboxing and the launch of the all-new Grand Wagoneer, the most luxurious offering ever in the Jeep line up – that has created the highest levels of reach and engagement for any Jeep social campaign in history. Yep, you read right, that’s any campaign, anywhere in the world, ever. If that doesn’t show you the impact of the region’s content creators – and Ali of course, I’m not sure what else can.
With a portfolio as diverse and broad as Stellantis’, it’s imperative to create points of difference not just between each brand, but also between different vehicles in the line-up of each brand. Someone looking to buy an electric light commercial vehicle for example is, in all likelihood, not the same customer considering a family SUV, and their social media feeds – who they follow and are influenced by – will also differ. That’s why, while we continue to strengthen our relationships with automotive specialists, we are increasingly looking beyond this sector and into lifestyle and niche interest influencers who align with brand values and associations across our portfolio and product line-ups, and with the values and passions of the audiences we want to reach.
This was what drove the thinking behind Peugeot’s recent ‘Power of Allure’ campaign, developed with independent creative advertising agency, Science and Sunshine. We partnered with four regional tastemakers – Saud AlTurki, Chndy, Ajwa Al Joudi and Raha Moharrak – and paired each of them with an alluring Peugeot vehicle which reflects their individual aesthetics and lifestyles, essentially aligning product qualities and attributes with the qualities and attributes of our ambassadors.
Rather than asking them to leverage their own channels, we instead asked them to star in our own brand film which has now amassed more than 2 million views as part of an active, cross-platform campaign which positions Peugeot as a brand that listens to people in the region and adapts to fit their needs. Creating strong associations with brand ambassadors with cultural resonance, style, and allure (who also happen to be influential on social media) was essential to the success of this campaign. This campaign also indicates how closely our marketing and communications teams work together – with no one discipline owning influencer partnerships, but instead collaboratively integrating and amplifying social media partnerships to benefit the business and brands.
Another avenue that we’re increasingly exploring is the integration of our own brand storytellers into our creative social content, either as central characters in our portfolio narrative, or as hosts and interviewers of content creators and influential individuals – whether that’s on social media or in other aspects of life and business. Our ‘Drive By’ video series for Jeep Grand Cherokee is a perfect example of this in action, showcasing conversations around specific themes, like design and style, between our Stellantis team and experts in their respective fields.
We’re also lucky – or lucky by design – in that our brands inspire passionate communities. Take Jeep and Dodge for instance, which each have their own active clubs of enthusiasts in markets across the region developing their own user generated content (UGC). Their commitment to our cars is contagious, and it’s clear that any endorsement is driven by passion rather than profit. These communities are our advocates, our fans, our followers, and increasingly our content creators and content stars. From interviewing club presidents for our Instagram page and LinkedIn feeds, to reposting their own, supercharged social content, this is authentic, locally created, money-can’t-buy advocacy that resonates with everyone who engages with it.
And this is where we see our future for partnerships with content creators. Not a one-off all-or-nothing partnership with a macro-influencer, but instead a diverse and considered mix of macro and micro, sector specialists and generalists, and the ever-growing impact of our own storytellers, UGC and independent communities who believe in, and have bought into, our brands.
Reham El Didi is Head of Corporate Communications at Stellantis Middle East