Volvo Cars of North America commissioned the Gronstedt Group (where I was Communication Director at the time) to custom develop an online learning simulation to teach its network of automotive retailers across the U.S. and Canada how to develop effective local media and community relations. The program was conceived as a hands-on learning application that retailers could immediately begin using to engage key reporters, editors and community stakeholders in the cultivation of both the Volvo and local retailer brands.
Almost 400 managers at Volvo’s 350 retailers have taken the course to date. In a survey, 90% of them thought this form of online training was “effective” to “very effective” compared with other training methods. The program has helped make “Volvo Drive for Life Days” the largest ever community relations event in the company’s U.S. history, generating more than 100 million media impressions.