DEARBORN - @Ford Online recently sat down with Ford President of The Americas Mark Fields to discuss the company’s Go Further global brand promise, its impact on the team and how it differentiates Ford from its competitors. Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. How do you describe Go Further to your team?
A. Very simply it’s how we do business right now as well as the way that we conduct ourselves. It’s a natural extension of articulating what we’re all about as a company. It’s why our employees work so hard, and why our dealers tell us our field personnel are there to assist more than any of our competitors. It’s a way of articulating the way we work now – articulating it to ourselves, but also to the outside world.
Q. What does the Go Further brand promise mean to you personally? How do you define it for yourself?
A. I define it for myself as always putting in the extra effort, whether it’s for our team members, our customers, our dealers or the communities in which we live and work. For me, it’s an affirmation and a way to articulate what I feel about working for Ford my whole career.
And these days when I say I work for Ford I get a positive reaction like, “Good for you.” For me, that’s further motivation to know as a company we go further and people recognize that.
Q. Can you give examples of how your team has already gone further?
A. There are so many examples. Go Further is about what we’re already doing as a company. Recently, there was a story about an employee who had a tragic situation, four or five children, lost his wife at a very young age. He came to us asked if we could get him closer to where his family was so that he could help support taking care of the children and allow him to continue to work. And in a normal process that would take up to five months. We did it in a week. That is where the HR system worked and responded in true fashion along with the Marketing and Sales community. That’s an example of going further.
Additionally, our dealers are great partners. They give us great feedback and every dealer that I speak with always mentions something about our field personnel’s extra efforts. They work late at night. They work on the weekends. They support them when they have questions or, God forbid, there is a tragedy or a natural disaster. They’re there for them. And they always say our field personnel always do more than those of our competitors.
Additionally, we support the Barrett Jackson auctions each January. It’s a great community of car lovers, including our customers. We always have a presence there with our Ford and Lincoln products. We get volunteers, including Ford retirees who want to come and work the stand, talking to customers as they come through about our products. And they do it not because we ask them to. They do it because it’s a passion for them and they feel it’s a duty. They’re representing this great company that’s provided them with a careers and provided a good pension, which allows them to enjoy a good retirement. I love talking to them because out of the goodness of their hearts they’re coming to these events and working for us.
And one of the biggest Go Further actions for the entire company are the Accelerated Action Days where we have the Ford Volunteer community go out– not just here in the U.S., but across the globe – to spend a day working and supporting their local charities and great causes.
There are so many examples that it would take hours to share them all. And that’s the wonderful thing about Go Further. It’s about what we already do and how we already act as a company.
Q. How do you think the Go Further brand promise distinguishes Ford from its competitors?
A. I think it makes a big statement. To me, we’re a company with a heritage, which means we have a history, but we also have a future. And I think Go Further really cuts to the core of what Henry Ford deemed his passion when he started the Ford Motor Company. It was about going further at that time. From creating the Model T to putting America on wheels and pricing in a way that would democratize this technology or this product for millions of folks. The $5 a day wage, which was very controversial and innovative was another approach of going further at that time. I think again for us, it cuts to the core of what we stand for as a company. It’s not something that we’re just making up right now and saying “Gee how will it do in the marketplace and how can we differentiate ourselves from today going forward.” It’s how we’ve differentiated ourselves for almost 109 years how we will differentiate ourselves for the next 109 years.
Q. In what ways do you feel Go Further contributes to the transformation plan at Ford?
A. I think it’s such a great complement to our One Ford strategy, where now we are truly working together as one team, leveraging our skilled people across the globe. It is the first time I know in my career where we’re actually making 1 and 1 equal 2 in terms of all the great people, all the great global technologies that we’re using to create our One Ford products. And I think Go Further again turbocharges the One Ford plan. Now’s the time to go further and move it to the next stage. The time to really take advantage of that scale and see the benefits to the company, to our customers and to the communities where we work.