A company Web log devoted to the Honda Insight is responding to consumer questions and comments about the redesigned hybrid car. Honda says that dialogue will help it train dealership salespeople about the Insight when it arrives in showrooms this month.
"The blog helps us formulate the messages we need to communicate," said Sage Marie, a spokesman for American Honda Motor Co. "It tells us what we need to focus on."
The interactive blog, called Latest Insight, is at autonews.com/hondablog.
It is the first blog Honda has created for a vehicle, Marie said. Part of the blog's role, he said, is to "set the record straight" in consumer comparisons of the Insight and Toyota Prius.
Some critics have complained the two hybrids look too much alike. In a blog post, the company says the Insight's teardrop shape is "uniquely Honda," first appearing more than 20 years ago on the Honda CRX.
Honda's advertising agency, RPA, of Santa Monica, Calif., helped develop the blog. J Barbush, the agency's associate creative director, said the blog is designed to field readers' questions and opinions. "It's not push messaging," Barbush told Automotive News. "This is a communication tool to allow people to talk back."
The blog includes photos, video, interviews with Honda executives and consumer observations. It has created online buzz about the Insight, Barbush said.
Sylvia Marino, executive director of community operations at Edmunds.com, said the blog can be an effective marketing tool if it avoids a "one-way blast" of information.
"It makes the consumer feel like they have genuine information they can use to make decisions," Marino said. "It's building a relationship with the brand and with the product."