Ford: “Supporting Positive Online Word of Mouth” — Live from BlogWell

4:20 — Andy Sernovitz introduces Scott Monty, Ford’s Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager.

See the slideshow at http://slideshare.net/scottmonty

4:21 — Scott: Ford has a 95% recognition rate globally.

4:22 — Scott: We are in a very tumultuous time. Scott explains how when he first came to Ford, all he thought of the company was the logo. To him, there was no humanity behind it. To him, there was no aspiration behind the brand.

4:24 — Scott explains what drove him to join Ford. After originally turning down the opportunity, he finally joined after being impressed by the leadership, by the product lineup, and by the intelligence of the company’s employees — from top to bottom.

4:25 — Scott: Ford Motor Company is 106 years old. It’s an iconic brand. And for many years, it was associated with just one man. Today, not so much. It’s lost its visionary, per se, but we’re working to get that back.

4:25 — Scott shares his commonalities of all great companies: Great products and great leaders.

4:26 — Scott: If you have crappy service, crappy products, it’s going to show in social media. Social media only amplifies what you already have.

4:27 — Scott explains how social media is becoming a “lightning rod” for their vision of “One Ford.”

4:28 — Scott: 90% of social media is just showing up. It’s the other half that’s hard.

4:29 — Scott describes how Ford has been very fortunate because there’s been a spotlight on the brand and the industry, and how it’s given the company opportunities to jump in conversations.

4:30 — Scott shares the story of their PR crisis when Ford enthusiasts were upset at stories of how some brand enthusiasts were being sued by Ford — and how Scott and his team diffused the crisis by being transparent throughout the process and by engaging their community on where they were at with the issue through the process.

4:32 — Scott: The tools will change. The norms are different. I can’t give you a Facebook strategy for the world, because the world doesn’t use Facebook. Scott shares Ford’s guiding strategy behind social media regardless of the forum or country: To humanize the brand.

4:33 — Through their new online portals, Scott explains how the brand is seeing tons of downloads, comments, etc. As Scott says, Ford has “set their content free.”

4:35 — Ford uses multiple Twitter accounts to share relevant information with different audiences.

4:36 — Scott shares a YouTube video of Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, joining him in a brief live-Tweeting Q&A.

4:38 — Scott: The reason I share that is because I couldn’t share that on Twitter. He’s the real deal.

4:39 — Scott shows off WeddingRoadTrip.com — where Ford put a married couple behind the wheel of a Ford Fusion to drive across America to see all the people they would have invited to their wedding.

4:40 — Scott describes the Fiesta Movement where Ford put a bunch of “agents” behind the wheel of new Fiestas and let them share their unfiltered comments about the brand and the product.

4:41 — Scott explains how today, Ford has become one of the top 10 social brands overall (not just among the top automotive brands).

4:43 — What’s next for Ford:

1. Cross-training staff

2. Rolling it into other functions

3. Going for the 1%

4. Connecting with enthusiasts

5. Update FordProposals.com

6. Do a better job of listening to the community’s suggestions

Slideshow available now at http://slideshare.net/scottmonty

Q&A

Q: How did you get Alan engaged?

A: Alan’s the kind of guy that takes an active role in these things, and I don’t work too far from him. Alan is a big champion. Our CMO is a big champion. I’ve got a meeting tomorrow, at his invitation, to meet with our chief counsel who is a big enthusiast as well and wants to get involved. It would not be possible to do this at this level if we did not have senior support.

Q: How are your vendors involved in all this?

A: We use our agencies for strategic support. They’re often the ones doing the heavy-lifting, etc. They’re finding the bloggers, finding the conversations, etc. But when it comes to the actual engagement, that has to come from Ford.

Q: What have you done that hasn’t gone all that well?

A: The thing with social media is, it’s experiment after experiment. If something doesn’t go that well, we can change it quickly. We’re lucky we haven’t had too many things go wrong. One thing that I would have loved to do better, earlier in the year we were doing live web streams with subject matter experts. We had maybe 40 or 50 people that viewed each one, and realized it probably wasn’t worth it.

Q: Knowing the dealer structure at Ford, how are you handling how franchises engage in social media?

A: It’s similar to McDonald’s in that we don’t own our dealerships, but we depend on each other to survive. I always cringe when I see a dealer using Twitter as a classified ads section. I reach out to them and try and help them, but that’s not sustainable. We’re doing educational pilots to train these folks.

Q: How do you define success with your social media? You’re accountable to the head-honcho at Ford. What kind of questions are being asked of you?

A: Well, brand awareness is one thing. Perception and intent to buy is another. We’re not measuring social media on sales. I don’t think there’s a 1-to-1 correlation. We are completely aligned with our overall business goals and our communications strategies. We know that during a certain time period, we need to be talking about our fuel economy and technology, we know that that’s where our social media efforts need to be tied to. We also look at how we trend against the competition. We look at what’s affecting the news cycle and different anecdotal data that tells us what conversations are going on.

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Comments

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