What’s the Daimler blog got to do with our temperature?

Sometimes you have encounters that inspire you not just once, but again and again. And differently each time. I occasionally wonder what the reason is. Here’s a modest example:

Around five years ago, I was asked to give a presentation to the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) on the Social Media Guidelines at Krones. The other speakers included Uwe Knaus from Daimler, who talked about the Daimler blog. We chatted a bit, and it quickly became apparent that we liked each other. He’s a “nice guy”, this Uwe. Back in Neutraubling, I noticed that my interest in the Daimler brand had risen significantly. I read the blog, kept myself up to date with the company’s news, and its cars, of course. I’ve always been interested in machines; after all, it’s more or less part of my job description. So it’s only logical that I’m interested in technology as a private person as well. And thanks to the encounter with Uwe Knaus not least in vehicles from Daimler as well. And then, when finally it was time to buy a new car, I opted for a Mercedes Benz. And I’m still driving it.

Yesterday I read another excellent article in the Daimler blog, found it inspiring, and shared it on my Facebook page. And suddenly I realised: he’s done it again! Uwe Knaus has once more inspired me, directly or indirectly. All my friends know that mostly I only share news about my favourite football club or Krones AG. Ok, perhaps sometimes a photo of my son, or social media rankings. So what is it, then, that is impelling me to share another company’s blog and to buy its cars? And that’s not all, you know! The Daimler blog was also, you see, a major role model for the Krones blog – here, too, they had an impact, Uwe Knaus and his inspiring effect on me.

Uwe Knaus is self-evidently a smart guy, but how can he exert such a lasting influence on my own behaviour? Since I shared the post on Facebook, this question had been nagging at me. Until over dinner with my family I finally realised: there has to be some sort of X Factor involved. That is this factor that’s impossible to quantify. This becomes more readily comprehensible when it’s exemplified by marketing: after all, you get frequent questions about the ROI of marketing work. The status today is that it’s also relatively difficult for companies to determine the precise ROI of printed advertising or social media. There it is, the X Factor. And this factor also operates in the case of brand ambassadors like Uwe Knaus. The dealer I bought my car from will not be able to determine who ultimately tipped the balance in my purchasing decision. No one (except through this blog posting) is ever going to find out that it was Uwe Knaus. But it’s highly unlikely that this will ever show up in any statistics at Daimler AG. So now who can say how many people Uwe Knaus alone has influenced when they came to buy a car? Who can now say how many people are persuaded to buy a particular car or appliance by brand ambassadors?

Price, service and quality will always play a role too, of course, but they are reinforced and tempered by the invisible X Factor. The brand ambassador factor, the print factor, the social factor or whatever you want to call it.

When drawing up our Krones social media performance indicators, we didn’t attach too much importance to this factor at first, but after I had a bit of a think about it yesterday, we decided to incorporate the X Factor as well. It demands inclusion. Performance indicators with the X Factor.

And so we come full circle. Uwe Knaus has done it again: he has once more inspired me. I don’t know if this is the final time that directly or indirectly he’s given me an idea, but I simply wanted to tell you about it. And to provide some feedback. Uwe, you do this all the time. And perhaps the Daimler company will also incorporate this in its figures. And call it the Schmidt Factor, or something like that. Just as a modest suggestion for an apposite appellation.

Have you any nice ideas on what to call the X Factor?