Globally, 62% of people trust corporations less than they did last year; for the U.S., it’s 77%. That means that almost everything companies say about themselves is automatically suspect. Who do people trust, then? Third party experts People like themselves Therein lies the opportunity.
The other challenge we face is the lack of attention that seems rampant currently. DVRs are jeopardizing 30 second spots. Customers are bombarded with over 3,000 messages a day. In a 140-character world, how will your messages break through the clutter?
To many people outside of the Detroit bubble, or who have not owned or considered owning a Ford, the Blue Oval lacks personality. And in 2006, Ford was on the ropes, seen by many as the weakest of the U.S. automakers. Alan Mulally was hired as CEO from Boeing, Bill Ford assumed the Executive Chairman title. Leadership was rounded out in terms of strategy, operations and vision. My impressions of Ford when approached in 2008: remarkable leadership, product lineup in 2009 and 2010 that would take the world by storm, and intelligent, talented and passionate people. In summary, not the typical Detroit company that people assumed it to be.
Henry Ford was a tinkerer, an inventor, an innovator, and an environmentalist. He was interested in bringing his technology to as many people as possible – transportation for millions – and improving the world. And his spirit of innovation still lives on in Ford today. In its earliest days, there was a face associated with Ford. In recent years, not so much. And that’s a central part of our social media story here.
Bill Ford, Jr. wanted to ensure his family’s company had strong leadership – real leadership, committed to making hard choices. Alan Mulally joined the company as CEO in September 2006 – an outsider at the helm of Ford. Ford is clearly in a different place – we’ve got a strong plan that we’ve been executing on independently for more than two years, and it’s being demonstrated daily in the great products we’re bringing forward.
In order to get there, we needed a plan. And that plan manifested itself in One Ford One Ford : One Team. One Plan. One Goal. The plan: Aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix Accelerate development of new products our customers want and value Finance our plan and improve our balance sheet Work together effectively as one team
Great products abound – the all new 2010 Ford Taurus, the Ford Flex, the 2011 Ford Fiesta, the Electric Focus, and the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, to name a few. Overall, Ford has the freshest lineup in the industry. And more importantly, we’ve advanced our quality – no one surpasses Ford in initial quality, and we’ve got the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the automotive industry. 70% of our vehicles are recommended buys in publications consumers trust most.
The technology central to great products – innovations for all: SYNC Ford Work Solutions EcoBoost Innovation is a renewal or alteration of the status quo; it’s not necessarily a BIG idea – it’s about tweaks to what we know, in ways that allow it to become adaptable for millions. That’s how true innovation is born.
It starts with vision – a lofty goal that causes us to reach for more. Bill Ford, Jr. carries on the vision of his great-grandfather and pushes the company to be more than just a business – we’re
We subscribe to the Woody Allen philosophy of social media: “90% of social media is just showing up.” We also believe in the Yogi Berra corollary: “It’s the other half that’s hard.” You get points for simply having a presence in social media. But it’s more than just registering an account – it’s about participating and making sure you’re an active member of the community. Our presence counts in unexpected places: CES Urban Mobility Project Green Roof Warriors in Pink
And what do we do that makes people sit up and pay attention? We listen. We respond. We demonstrate that we’re different.
They want to be able to speak to people directly at the company, or with someone who represents the company in some fashion. In short, they want to ensure they’ve been heard. This is vastly different for the direct marketer who’s used to replies in the form of BREs, click throughs or data filled out in forms. This is in some cases real-time.
They want to understand the process and be communicated to regularly, to ensure they’re being treated fairly.
Straight, honest answers – no spin You can’t outsource authenticity.
Ford’s social media strategy is consistent with and supportive of our overall business goals and communications strategy. It’s crafted in such a way that it can withstand the changes of the marketing and communications industry but it can also be flexible enough to adapt to various regions, departments and audiences. It is what defines all of our social media activities at the company.
So, what does value look like?
Our Digital Snippets, crafted in conjunction with the Social Media Group, are a collection of consumer-friendly press releases on a Wordpress platform. Supported with Creative Commons licensed Flickr images and completely shareable and embeddable YouTube videos, these Social Media Press Releases are all available via RSS feeds. The message: we’ve set our content free. http://ford.digitalsnippets.com
We’ve established a presence on a variety of social platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, Upcoming, Scribd – knowing that in many cases, it’s up to us to connect with the consumers on their turf. We can’t expect them to automatically come to us. “ If you build it, they will come” isn’t necessarily the universal mantra any longer.
Currently, 10 corporate Twitter accounts – and growing. Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Asia Pacific & Africa also have accounts.
In late 2008, Alan Mulally became the first automotive CEO to take questions on Twitter. We continued the practice and even captured the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaaKNcovfdQ The message: we have an affable, approachable, and brilliant CEO who is willing to take the time to converse with fans & customers and whose personality shines through.
We also put other leadership to the test. Group VP of Sustainable Energy & Safety Engineering Sue Cischke and General Counsel David Leitch take to the keyboard at the Summer of Taurus events held in 100 cities across the country earlier in 2009. They took questions and engaged with consumers. We’re planning a follow up to those who missed the events or who couldn’t follow along the first time, with a wrap-up video, Powerpoint and other content that allows people to view on demand.
The Ford Story – our social media hub at http://thefordstory.com Combination of Ford-generated and third party content, with access to all of our social presence. And we’ve just incorporated Your Stories – a section where individuals can submit stories about how Ford inspired them or touched their lives in some way.
We partnered with Filmaka in advance of the 2010 Mustang reveal, encouraging the public to create their own videos; the 20 finalists were invited to the L.A. Auto Show, where we revealed the new Mustang and announced the winner of the film competition. The winner, “Fathers Day,” can be seen here. http://www.fordvehicles.com/the2010mustang/?id=/stories/films/film04
The Mustang Configurator gives people a chance to personalize their experience and share it out on their own platforms.
“ You Speak Green” Facebook app encourages participation around our sustainability message. http:// apps.facebook.com/ford-fusion
We allow people to see what each other are saying and how they rank.
Comedian Mark Malkoff decided that he wanted to go on a month-long journey to collect the keys to 100 cities. We’ve given him a Ford Fusion Hybrid to make the journey and we’re following his progress on The Ford Story. http://www.markmalkoff.com/keystothecity
We gave a Ford Flex to Plaid, “the greatest agency in all the land,” for their tour of middle America, from Detroit to New Orleans, in which they highlighted the coolest brands, agencies and individuals. http://www.plaidnation.com
When Jaime Case and Chris Hodges were planning their wedding, they eschewed the traditional large gathering, and instead chose to visit friends and family all over the country, getting marriage advice from them. We gave them a Ford Fusion to make this trip of a lifetime a truly memorable one. http://www.weddingroadtrip.com
The Fiesta Movement – http://www.fiestamovement.com. 100 Euro-spec cars, 100 people, 6 months, unfiltered content, product feedback prior to U.S. launch
Real-time updates from real people driving our cars – 100% authentic, not edited/censored/filtered in any way. In addition to buzz, the feedback that our engineers are getting allows them to improve the North American version before it event comes to market . http://fiestamovement.com
As of September 30, 2009, the Fiesta Movement generated: 4.3 million YouTube views 540,000 Flickr views 3 million Twitter impressions 50,000 handrasiers, 97% of which don’t currently drive Fords 38% awareness – equal to the level of newly introduced vehicles that have been in the market for 2 years. All for a vehicle that isn’t even here yet.
Lots of additional proof points available at: http:// twitter.com/scottmonty#/favorites?user = ScottMonty
It was our goal to be the #1 social automotive brand within three years. We achieved it in 6 months. Now, the goal is to be the world’s leading social brand. Period. It will happen through leadership. This is not about technology; it’s about culture change and leading an organization. We have the senior support. Our CEO, CMO and even our General Counsel are rooting for us and want to get involved.
Social Radar Index by Infegy, reported on by AdAge: http:// adage.com/article?article_id =139386
Marc Girolimetti was a skeptic. And a 15 year VW/Audi driver. He started following Ford’s social media activities and an amazing thing happened. Read his story at http://blog.actslike.com
Rolling out social media to other teams, cross-training staff, creating an army of digital ambassadors. Even at 1% participation, that’s 2,000 people that can represent Ford effectively online. Connecting with our enthusiasts Creating a catch-all for requests for sponsorships, vehicle use, social media projects, etc. And listen so we know how to improve.
Ford Social Media Strategy Scott Monty
PUTTING THE “CAR” IN KARMA Scott Monty ( @ ScottMonty ) Global Digital Communications Ford Motor Company ( @Ford )
We have a fundamental challenge: Q: Thinking about everything you have read, seen, or heard about business in the last year, in general, do you trust corporations a lot less, a little less, the same, a little more, or a lot more than you did at the same time last year? Source: Edelman Trust Barometer, 2009
“ Be like a headland of rock on which the waves break incessantly; but it stands fast and around it the seething of the waters sink to resist.” -Marcus Aurelius
Fiesta Movement stats: 540,000 4.3 million 3 million 50,000 38% 97%
What’s next? <ul><li>Cross-training staff </li></ul><ul><li>Rolling it into other functions </li></ul><ul><li>Going for the 1% </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting with enthusiasts </li></ul><ul><li>Update FordProposals.com </li></ul><ul><li>Listening to our community for suggestions </li></ul>