*Delivering strong and confident consumer impressions is an essential part of General Motors plan to regain consumer trust since it emerge from its government backed Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009. A key executive charged with executing that strategy is Jocelyn K. Allen. As the Director of Regional, Grassroots, and Diversity Communications, Allen is responsible for the communications strategy for GM’s US regional offices and national diversity outreach to media and other constituents. It is a job that she executes with complete aplomb and commitment on behalf of the world’s largest automaker. Robertson Treatment recently spoke to the extremely busy, but always gracious and insightful executive for the second part of our POWER SERIES.
Robertson Treatment: So tell us about your job and the various duties it involves?
Jocelyn Allen: Essentially my job is three separate, but interrelated positions. GM has five regional offices around the country and each of those offices has communication staffs that handle media relations within those regions who support GM media directives and support the executives in those offices. All of those teams report up to me. On the grassroots side, I oversee the implementation of the work that we do in the community where we concentrate really get involve working on a local level to expose them to our product. The diversity piece of my job is really to focus externally on four markets: African American, Latino, Asian and LGBT. In every case, our goal is to win back support from consumers.
RT: What’s the most effective way to reach your audience?
JA: I still believe very strongly in face to face engagement. My team spends a lot of time working directly in communities across the country. It’s important for us to be on the front line – from the Rotary Club to the Chamber of Commerce, connecting and identifying with our audience. We also like to create opportunities where people can get behind the wheel of our vehicles, (especially in some of our diversity markets), so that they can experience what it’s like to ride and drive our product.
The social media atmosphere is another area of communications that we are placing a priority on. GM is very invested in understanding how our various markets want to be communicated too, which very often breaks down to the nuances of culture and lifestyle. Social media allows us to really listen to our customers, so it’s an important platform for us that we are pursuing aggressively.
RT: GM has experienced some distressing times as of late, but how does the future look for the company?
JA: If we never forget what we’ve been through and vow to never repeat the things that got us to that place, then we will be great. If you look at our product, it is some of the best product that we have ever produced. A big part of my job is to get people into our cars so that they can experience the amazing quality that GM delivers today. Our cars are very distinctive and represent powerful brands that stand on their own. As long as we remained focused on what our consumers are telling us and stay in front of that, we will change the perceptions and images about our brand and be all right.
RT: What advice would you give others wishing to follow your path?
JA: I mentor both internally and externally for the company. I am also one of our lead recruiters for the communications function here, which involves speaking to a lot of students and new professionals. For those who wish to enter PR, it’s important to understand that this is a contact sport. You are a company spoke person and an ambassador for the brand your represent, so you must know how to dig deep and stay motivated. It’s also important to stay open to new opportunities and experiences, learn quickly on your feet and remember to surround yourself with people who have strengths that you don’t have. You need to bring your “A” game to the job every day and know that what you don’t know, you can learn.
RT: The Automotive industry is one of the few industries where women are well represented among its executive ranks.
JA: Yes, that’s certainly been true for me at GM. I’ve had 7 amazing positions within this company and when I look around there are even more things here that really interest me. There are a number of different things that I would like to pursue where I think I could bring some passion and expertise. The great thing about my experience at GM has been working for people who have my best interest at heart and who have provided me opportunities where I can develop my skills to go to the next level. I love what I now do for the company and very proud of the fact that there is not an area of GM’s U.S. operation that my team doesn’t touch in some way.
An executive who has been personally inspiring for me is Alicia Bollard Davis who is the highest ranking African American executive in our company. She has come up through GM and the auto industry, which shows me that with hard work, you can do anything. There are no limits to what a woman can achieve in this business. – Gil Robertson IV
AUOTOMOTIVE SPIN: 2013 SIERRA DENALI
It’s rare to find a ride that meets your expectations in nearly every category, but the new GMC Sierra Denali gets really close. Offering the looks, style and driving experience to satisfy even the most demanding driver this ride is ready to give its competition a serious run for their money.
Wow Factor: Armed with a sportier new exterior design and improved power enhancements, the new Sierra Denali strikes just the right balance for in-city and highway driving. .
Ride: The latest edition of the Sierra Denali is outfitted with a Vortec, 6.2L, V8 engine that gives it the maximum power to handle a variety of road conditions. The ride was smooth and very responsive and the gas mileage was on point for a vehicle in its class averaging about 12 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.
Comfort: With superior design and high quality materials, the Sierra Denali’s interior can compete with the best vehicles in its class. I appreciated its great leg space and also superior driver controls, which are easy and accessible. In addition to its rear space, the Sierra Denali’s interior cabin offers ample space to handle most daily loads and it’s exterior cabin can more than handle anything else you need to load and transport.
Spin Control: With a great price, fuel economy and solid performance, GMC’s Sierra Denali has all the goods to compete within its class. I predict this ride will appeal to drivers across many demos that has appeal to many potential customers.