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 Ford of Europe Chairman and CEO Reflects on the Importance of the Go Further Brand Promise

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BRENTWOOD, England – @Ford Online recently chatted with Ford of Europe Chairman and CEO Stephen Odell regarding his thoughts on the company's Go Further global brand promise. Below is an excerpt from that conversation.

Q. What has the reaction been to the global brand promise for your team?
A. With the help of the senior team in the U.S. and the global marketing team, we took our leadership team through it and the response was very, very positive.  There were initially some concerns that it was open-ended.  We asked "Go Further…what does that mean?" because you can put anything you like after that. 

But the more we discussed it the more people were actually engaged by it and motivated by the fact that it is open-ended.  Also, it’s not mechanical.  I don’t mean to be rude about anybody else’s line but ‘the ultimate driving machine’ is mechanical. It’s about product only. 

Go Further is not just about product.  It’s about everything around the product. It’s about the people that design, develop and deliver the product as well.  So it’s about us collectively.  I think in the end, everybody was very energized by it. 

Q. What does the new brand promise represent to you personally and how does it reflect how you and your teams have been working?
A. I do think it’s a commitment to each other.  I think it’s a commitment to suppliers, to dealers and to people that we interface with.  It’s a commitment to the customer. 

Because once you’ve said Go Further, you own that forever.  It’s a never-ending commitment.  It’s not as if you’ve delivered something and that’s the end of it.  From a customer’s perspective, I think the customer would see it as not just the product they have today – or they’ve considered today because not everyone will buy a Ford ¬– but it’s the product that they think Ford will design and deliver to them in the future, the after-sales experience and in fact the whole experience with Ford now as well as in the future.  So for me, it’s all-encompassing.  And it reflects who we have been as a company for a while. It has always been about the people.  It’s always been about the way the people interact internationally as well as within their own regions and departments. And I think it encapsulates exactly who we are and also who we need to be in the future. 

Q. Can you give us some global examples of how the brand promise will be put into action to deliver the One Ford plan?
A. You will see Go Further start to roll out in launches in Europe during the first part of this year. It’s not just a tagline.  If it’s a tagline then we’ve done something wrong and we will have wasted a fantastic opportunity. 

We need to think about how we interact with each other, with other people that we interface with as well as customers. From a marketing perspective, you will start to see it launch and roll out as we launch products coming out around the world. 

Europe is the first region to launch it.  But again, it’s not just a tagline.  We have to take it beyond that.  We have to Go Further than that.  It has to be who we are and who we want to be. 

Q. How do you feel Go Further distinguishes Ford from the competition?
A. As both a promise and as a line, a great deal.  I think it does distinguish us, but it will only distinguish us if we deliver on the promise. Go Further is a big commitment now  and in the future.

We’re going to keep moving ourselves forward as a business, and that puts the emphasis on us to deliver ¬– on us to work together – that’s why One Ford is a key facilitator of that. 

I think it’s a fantastic opportunity, but of course it will make us a little nervous because we’ve got to fill in the gaps.  But to me that’s why Go Further is so compelling. 

Q. In what ways do you feel Go Further contributes to Ford’s transformation and what changes do you see ahead in how your team will work?
A. Well a line itself, it doesn’t transform the company.  What transforms the company is the way that people act together. The One Ford approach has definitely changed the way that the company operates. Not only is it One Ford globally, because we’ve had the opportunity to do that, but now we’re reaching for it. 

It’s the way that people operate together with respect for each other – listening and getting input.  It’s okay to tell people that things aren’t perfect because that’s the only way that you can move to develop a better plan. 
So for me, Go Further, if you like, accelerates that thought process and that interaction that will help us deliver on the One Ford plan and really deliver on profitable growth for all. 

Q. Anything you’d like to add on the global brand promise?
A. To Go Further is up to us.  We now have to fill in the details. I think we’ve gone a lot further than we’ve ever gone before, which is why we survived the crisis. Now we want to thrive in the future.  And operating together and working together under One Ford and going further is a key attribute to delivering profitable growth for all. 



2/9/2012 12:00 AM