Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ford integrates Marketing online with American Idol Part II

Lead by Ford Autmotive's Group VP-Global Marketing Jim Farley, Ford is moving from interuption marketing to conversation marketing.  Jim Farley is making major pushes towards social media and experiential marketing.  A quarter of Ford's new ad spend is with Digital Media. The efforts have helped boost consideration and positive buzz for Ford and its spiffier new models with improved vehicle quality.

According to a report by auto research website Edmunds.com, Ford Motor Co. has become the second-biggest automaker in the U.S. behind General Motors. With this, Ford has overtaken Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) in the wake of Toyota's damaging parade of recalls. 

Now that Ford has leaped ahead of Toyota, how do they continue to build on this momentum.  Bottom line, they are building relationships and listening.  Ford started with the Fiesta movement and have been a long sponsoring partner of American Idol whos demographics are a perfect target for Ford's new initiatives.  In a recent interview with Brian Solis with Jim Farley the question was asked, "Was there an a-ha moment for you when you realized the power of social media"?  Jim responded by saying, "a-ha for me was scion.  I learned that for a brand that people dont know or trust, the company must rely on others to tell the story.  People dont trust big companies, they do trust their friends... as far as the c-suite, either they get it or they dont. Thankfully we do!"

So how much does Ford get it-lets take a look. 
  • Ford home page is links to their social media sites.
  • Home page also has stories with share capabilities and videos.
  • The home page includes links to micosites including thefordstory.com with the tag line, Ford is different - Join the Conversation.
  • On the mico site thefordstory.com there is a link to Ford Social Networks that easily lays out the variety of social networks to join the conversation including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, Scribd, Delicious, Events and Reviews.  
  •  Ford dials it further with specific areas of conversation engagement by customer interest including Ford Latino, Ford racing ect.
Results, the Ford Fiesta movement campaign were sensational. Fiesta got 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for information about the car — virtually none from people who already had a Ford in the garage. Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales. The results came at a relatively small cost. The Fiesta Movement is reputed to have cost a small fraction of the typical national TV campaign.

Lessons from the campaign were eloquently described in an article from Grant McCracken (research affiliate at MIT and the author of Chief Culture Officer)

There is an awful lot of aimless experiment in the digital space these days. A lot of people who appear not to have a clue are selling digital marketing advice (This is so true- I will writing about this soon).   I think the Fiesta Movement gives us new clarity. It's a three-step process.
1. Engage culturally creative consumers to create content.

2. Encourage them to distribute this content on social networks and digital markets in the form of a digital currency.

3. Craft this is a way that it rebounds to the credit of the brand, turning digital currency (and narrative meaning) into a value for the brand.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ford integrates Marketing online with American Idol Part I

Ford Motor Company instantly received my attention during American Idol with their commercial featuring Top 12 contestants and the new Ford Fiesta. I usually cringe during the opening segments on American Idol when the contestants perform together in a musical interpretation of different songs that were once cool then cut to a commercial that is like a scene out of a truly corny family movie with the actors vying to see who can do the biggest fake smile. But, this time was different.

I am truly excited about automotive industry and what innovations are on the horizon.

Quick history refresher: the Automotive industry became complacent governed by "the good ole boys mentality" with an outdated business and marketing model. Ford has been leading the charge with the newly minted Automotive gates by having Scott Monty on Twitter and becoming more transparent as a corporation.

Back to the Ford commercial. So, the American Idol commercials are like running your nails on a chalk board with a 1960’s Mickey Mouse ClubHouse theme. Don’t get me wrong, this commercial had that vibe but the content was different. It first garnered my attention but announcing the new Ford Fiesta,which I wanted to seem then took a step further by showing the contestants supposedly painting on the cars. The commercial promoted the Ford Fiesta give away contest and the different designs by the contestants (some where really cool).

A recent article in Market Daily talked with Connie Fontaine, manager, Ford brand content and alliances, who shared that Ford's goal is not to get as much TV screen time as possible, but rather to drive consideration with Web-based elements so that the brand isn't too obtrusive during the actual show. She further explained that, “we thought it was important to seed the idea with a very strong online integration as well, we want everything we do on air to feel relevant, credible and organic.”

See, I told you, they are listening to the seismic-shift in Marketing, from interruption marketing to inclusion marketing.

Part II of this piece will further the discussion of Ford’s inclusion marketing program by moving online.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mobile Event program that serves a Community

The Long Beach Breathmobile is the newest in the Breathmobile fleet; 10 others are on the road in Southern California. The organization’s mobile clinics diagnose and treat children regardless of insurance status. Medication may also come free.

The California chapter of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation launched the project at USC in 1995 in an attempt to better control asthma in underserved areas. If patients couldn't always get care, the thinking went, then specialists would take the care to them. Since then, the program has expanded within California as well as into Alabama, Arizona and Maryland.

The Breathmobiles park at public schools and public health clinics, but the service is open to any child, regardless of where he or she attends school or the family's insurance status. The Breathmobiles, really RV Winnebagos, are staffed by physicians, nurses and patient care workers. They offer physical exams, allergy skin testing and lung-capacity testing.

At WCN Group, we offer vehicles of all types and custom shapes. Our team will assist with discovering the right vehicle for your mobile experiential marketing program. Call today to discuss your needs.