COLOGNE, Germany – Late last month, @Ford Online sat down with Ford of Europe Vice President of Marketing Sales and Service Roelant de Waard to discuss the company's Go Further global brand promise and what it means to the European region. Below is an excerpt from that interview.
Q. What does the new brand promise Go Further represent to you and in what ways does it reflect how you and your teams have been working day to day?
A. We’ve been working primarily on how to make Go Further real. What it meant is for us to look at all of our actions, our launches, even our dealer experience. To say, what does go further mean? For a launch of a vehicle, for a dealer visit, for online presence as well.
Examples of Go Further we already have are embodied in our product. Our C-cars, the new Focus is a fantastic vehicle with technology that none of our competitors have, including active safety stop and the lane departure warning system. We looked at…"How do we take the brand beyond the product?"
For example in our communications, as we’re trying to have advertising that connects with customers to give an emotional appeal to the kind of company Ford really is and not just existing as an online brochure.
And then lastly, we looked to the dealer experience. Dealers have vehicles. They are parked there, shiny, with well-trained sales people. But today, our retail experience has to go beyond that. And you only have to look at some of the leading brands today to understand this.
Q. How do you feel that Go Further distinguishes Ford from the competition?
A. To me, Go Further is distinguished by three key elements. The ingenuity, the attainability and people serving people. And that is so important to give context to the claim and say what direction in which we want to go further. And that’s exactly what we did. We defined the three elements and I think, especially the people serving people, is the one that distinguishes us from the competition.
An example of people serving people which easily comes to mind is our dealer experience. And what we’ve seen is that dealers have to get much more engaged with customers, not only in the show room but also online. One of the things that we’re going to do is allow customers to interact with us in three different ways. Online, with a call center or in the dealershipin the way we know it from the past.
Q. In what ways do you feel that Go Further contributes to Ford’s transformation and what changes do you see ahead in how teams will work?
A. The way I think Go Further is going to help the transformation of Ford is the claim itself. Because you can’t say Go Further and then not consistently make it come to life in the real world.
Q. How important is the timing of the launch of the new global brand promise Go Further?
A. The timing of Go Further is just right because we started first with One Ford to become a global company and then we decided to have global products. But to really be a global brand you have to stand for one thing globally and that’s what Go Further does as well.
A key objective for our global brand promise is favorable opinion that helps customers translate the Ford brand into something that is meaningful to them. We know that favorable opinion is the metric that tells you whether we did a good job.
A key metric we expect the global brand promise to influence is favorable opinion. Favorable opinion will tell us whether we achieved our goal of upgrading the Ford brand with customers thinking about us differently.