Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

3 Ways 110-Year-Old Ford Continues to Engage Digitally

Ford is the world’s 5th largest automobile manufacturer, and has 110 years of history behind it.

It is evident that the brand has adapted to the changing rules of marketing, and has successfully maintained its competitive edge.

Let us find out how Ford engages digitally to stay on top of its game.

1. Influencers as Brand Ambassadors — 2009 “Fiesta Movement”

In 2009, to generate hype and publicity for the launch of the Ford Fiesta, Ford introduced the “Fiesta Movement” campaign a year before the official product launch.

As part of the campaign, Ford recruited 100 social media influencers to drive the Ford Fiesta for 6 months, paying for their gas fees and car insurance.

These social media influencers were chosen for their geographic and demographic profile, in particular because they aligned with the general demographic of a typified Ford Fiesta consumer.

In return, the influencers had to share their experiences driving the Ford Fiesta on Youtube and the dedicated website fiestamovement.com.

Scott Monty, global head of social media for Ford said about the campaign, “All we required of the ‘Fiesta agents’ was to make one video per month, but the bragging rights and inventiveness of this group translated into broad awareness and interest in the new vehicle.”

The campaign achieved huge success on social media, generating more than more than 7 million Youtube views and 40 million Twitter impressions..

What was most impressive about the campaign’s success was that it generated 10 times the conversion rate of registrations to purchases versus traditional media campaigns.

Word-of-mouth tip: The influencer movement has been a central feature of social media marketing these days. Influencers have huge followings from mass audiences who respect their values and product choices. Influencers themselves are also always thinking of new initiatives and innovative ways to create new content, to keep their audiences engaged. Recruiting influencers to market a product is thus one of the most effective WOM strategies of today.

2. Strong Customer Engagement — Ford Social

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Ford Social is a website dedicated to customers, where they can find all the latest news, stories and updates about Ford’s award-winning cars and commercial vehicles.

The Ford Social website also allows customers to win exclusive invites to industry events, submit memorable stories of experiences with a Ford automobile, and also to submit suggestions for new vehicle features.
As Monty said, “Engagement matters. Take time to appreciate and celebrate your friends.”

Word-of-mouth tip: When it comes to the automobile industry, brand visibility and engagement are crucial in cultivating brand loyalty. By taking the effort to create a platform for seamless customer engagement, Ford has cultivated strong brand loyalty with its customers.

3. Facebook – 2011 The Ford Explorer Reveal

In 2011, Ford took the bold move of launching its new Ford Explorer on Facebook instead of at an auto show, as it had done for the past 50 years.

This was the first time an automobile manufacturer had taken such a move.

According to Jeff Bullas, #1 Global “Digital Marketing Influencer” of 2016, the campaign “combined the synergy of paid and earned media to produce a multiplier effect that could not have been provided by a traditional auto show launch.
As part of the campaign, a series of videos were played to mimic an auto show experience and car revealing, but other highlights too were added, such as interviews with the Ford CEO.

The campaign was virally successful. 75,000 fans logged on the day of the virtual auto show, and it was the number 1 Twitter trend on that day.

As a testament to these impressive social media marketing efforts, the Ford Explorer went on to win the title of “North American Truck Of The Year.

Word-of-mouth tip: Ford made a bold and pioneering move to switch from the use of a traditional auto show to a meticulously planned online Facebook reveal. Facebook has been and continues to be one of the most effective ways of generating digital buzz about something worth talking about.

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Read next: How Mercedes established itself as global luxury car brand

Andrea Lee

Andrea is an undergraduate majoring in international relations and East Asian politics. She enjoys a good run in the city.

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