Things develop. But mostly different than you think. On the 9. February 2011 went our first article about 300 new biogas Saab 9-3 online. So our anniversary was already on Saturday, but we do not want to be petty. In the first month, Saabblog.net then had incredible 3004 readers, but still zero comments.
Look back. Actually, the blog should have gone online shortly after the Saab Festival 2010 in Trollhättan. At the time, I was traveling in Sweden with my friend Marco, and in view of the constantly negative Saab press in Germany, we wanted to make a difference. A small, private blog with Saab stories and tests from a Saab driver's point of view should be launched and strengthen the brand in Germany.
Due to very private and very dramatic events, the birth was delayed until February of the following year. In 24 months 2.3 million readers came, 1.590 articles were written and visitors left 8.284 comments. For our Charity project, which started later, we have since collected more than 6000,00 € in donations.
Saab partners have been advertising on the blog for over a year now, and the money goes directly to the Medical Clinic 5 at the University Hospital Erlangen and supports the work there. Unfortunately, we lost two sponsors in the last months, but that's the good news, we're talking to new supporters, so the donation stream will not dry up. After 24 months, it's time to take a closer look at a few things. Let's take control and ask ourselves four questions:
Control 1: missed target?
Somehow, after two years, the question arises whether the blog did not achieve its goal after all. Actually we wanted to support Saab Automobile AB. These no longer exist, and new cars are no longer built. The original purpose of the work disappeared after dramatic months in December 2011 at the latest. The fact that we continued to write is thanks to the fact that Saab does indeed seem to have 7 lives. A lot is happening in Trollhättan at the moment and the chance of resuming production doesn't seem bad.
Control 2: Does Saab blogging make fun?
Saab is a very special, slightly crazy thing. Articles like "Saab cult: We're crazy about Saab“You can only write about the brand from Sweden. Terms such as “Saab Spirit” or “Saabisch” are only available from this brand. Or has anyone ever written something about “Toyota cult” or “Audi spirit”? No? Sure, because that would somehow miss the core of the respective brand.
There are only a few car brands that are so emotionally occupied and about which you can write with passion. This includes an Italian brand (yes I drove an Alfa GTV times) or the British make. An 71 MGB enriched our fleet over 10 years, and it's one of the few cars you should never have sold. And then there is another French brand that is currently in serious trouble. The with the double angle, of which we had several models in the company and private vehicle fleet.
Saab, however, the product from the sub-cooled Scandinavia, is the most interesting of all brands, and the drama-rich history speaks for itself. One is Saab fan or not. And if it is, then really with heart and soul.
Control 3: Saab = Community?
The traditional Saab partners make you feel like you are in your own family. Always welcome, always in good hands. A special feature of the Saab brand that nobody can really explain. In the last 24 months, the blog has become part of this family. What I initially thought was a slightly exaggerated story from the marketing department is reality.
Almost every day, Mark and I receive emails from strangers, but Saab-driving people. The mails are usually very, very long. Often, the entire automotive life is reported. It's about Saab and only about Saab. These narratives and these people are not rare. And while I read the mails and then answer them, I wonder how the brand has managed not to use their potential and fan loyalty. But I will never understand some things.
Control 4: How far to the limit?
As nice as the contact within the community is, everything has at least two sides. On a normal Saab day, the blog receives more than a dozen emails. Sometimes it's about Saab events, I forward these emails to Mark. Mostly, however, advice is asked. It's about buying a new, used Saab, it's about opinions about one or the other Saab partner. Or it is about spare parts that are not available. Sometimes technical advice or direct contact with Saab Parts is also asked. Friendly Saab partners often help me with a lot of patience when I can't answer questions myself, and Eschborn is always ready to listen.
Even so, we are approaching the limit and the blog is crossing a limit. The auto industry invests - it's no secret - a lot of money in the area of "social media". A well-known brand from southern Germany invests millions in its activities, and the other manufacturers do the same with similar amounts. The Saab blog world is a pure fan event, which of course has its limits. The week that the blog devours would be enough for a full-time job. But Mark and I are well covered in terms of work, and a solution to the time issue is not in sight.
We have discussed the problem again and again in recent weeks, without finding a correct solution. One thing is certain, we want to answer all mail in the future in a timely manner and keep the readers well informed. Either you do it right or not at all. That's our opinion. If the day comes when this is no longer possible, we pull the plug. That is a logical consequence without any sentimentality.
But the cult brand from Sweden seems to have their 7 life. Maybe the blog has so many lives too. You never know. In this sense: Happy Birthday Saabblog.net!