Major brands have been quick to leverage the popularity of the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo to do everything from hold sweepstakes to live-stream events, but recently the British ultra-luxury automaker Bentley turned to Weibo for a novel purpose: to pick consumers' brains. On track to see China surpass its long-time largest market, the US, this year in terms of sales, Bentley is working to tailor its EXP 9 F SUV concept -- recently seen at the Beijing Auto Show -- to the tastes of what the automaker sees as the vehicle's expected top export destination.
Owing perhaps to a tepid public response to the SUV at the Geneva Auto Show, and the attention paid by Chinese car-lovers to Lamborghini's URUS SUV in Beijing, Bentley recently launched an "EXPLab" app on Weibo to gauge what the Chinese public thinks of the EXP 9 F and what they'd like to see changed. This follows Bentley's EXPLab Facebook page, which attracted responses from more than 100 countries this March.
Questions asked in the Weibo app include everything from overall impressions (ranging from "bad" to "extremely good") to what they think of the interior and exterior, seating arrangements, preferred engine size, and the conditions under which they would use the EXP 9 F. After respondents finish answering all 13 questions, they're taken to a "thank you" page, which encourages them to share a message stating they took part in EXPLab on their Weibo page. The page also includes links to download wallpapers and see additional photos of the SUV.
While it's not the most exciting survey we've ever seen, Bentley deserves points for not turning only to Facebook or Twitter in its digital efforts while leaving out fans (and potential buyers) in its most important new market.