Honda apparently still sees itself as an innovative automaker – or at least wants to be seen that way again. Arguably, Honda used to be quite innovative. In recent years, however, the Japanese automaker has been derided for abandoning its outside the box thinking in order to garner a wider customer base.
Honda is now trying to recapture its former identity by surrounding its designers with global innovators from all corners of the marketplace. Honda has recently launched a program called “HondaInnovatorSeries” where customers will be able to live tweet chat with various consumer product inventors as well as Honda designers and engineers with the hash tag #HondaInnovator.
Honda kicked off the social media program with a live chat with the squirrel suit guy yesterday. Tomorrow, they’re following that with Henry Thorne, inventor of the high-tech baby stroller called the Origami Stroller. Other chats will include the minds behind the “Lifesaving Wetsuit,” the “Waterfall Swing,” and the “Laser Keyboard.” Popped into the middle of the lineup is the chat about the “new” Civic.
While this program isn’t completely original, it’s definitely marking a new way forward for automakers. Rather than relying on the dealership sales force to fumble customer inquiries, Honda is opening the floor to the folks behind the vehicles, hopefully getting the correct answers into the hands of those who ask them.
If we’re completely honest, we find this program a bit silly. It’s clear Honda wanted to host a live chat with engineers but feared – as other automakers have shown – that the public just won’t show up. Cleverly, they’ve sandwiched other potentially interesting speakers around its staff. Will the social media stunt work? We’ll have to wait and see.
If you’d like to learn more, or participate in the tweet chat, visit hondainnovator.com to see a full schedule lineup and program description.