DEARBORN - Recently, @Ford Online had the opportunity to check in with Ford Group Vice President of Global Marketing Sales and Service Jim Farley to get an update on Ford’s progress with the Go Further global brand promise, including how Go Further is being received externally as well as how it’s expected to evolve in the future.
Below is an excerpt from that discussion. Click here to watch the complete interview.
Q. How do you explain Go Further?
A. Because most employees think of the company in terms of its written and visual history – Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Cortinas, Henry Ford, the Ford family, the One Ford plan, Alan Mulally, the leadership team – that’s how people have traditionally thought about Ford.
Go Further is a much more powerful idea that frankly makes us different as a company. We just go a little deeper, we’re a little bit more creative and we are committed to each other in a more fundamental way than other companies.
The ideas of serving each other, innovation for millions – those ideas mixed together really make us different as a company.
Q. Can you share how the global brand promise brings brand and reputation together?
A. Traditionally, people think the PR and Communications world as being the builder of reputation – being very separate from pricing, market share and the revenue side of the day-to-day business. Today, consumers don’t really see a big difference. They want to buy from a company that has great products and has a high favorable opinion around those products. But they also want to buy from a company they respect – one that’s making a difference in people’s lives and building a better world. Go Further is certainly an idea that captures both.
The really big idea behind Go Further is it’s a documentation of our unique culture at Ford. It’s not inventing something new. Maybe the term is new and the words are new. But what we’re capturing – the spirit of what we’re capturing – is more than 100 years old.
Q. Can you provide an update on how Go Further is coming to life externally?
A. I think to be successful, the idea of Go Further and capturing what makes us different as a company has to get resonance inside the company first.
Whether it’s “Just do it” of Nike or any of the other world-class companies that have a really strong unique culture like Ford does, the resonance with the employees is needed first.
We’ve spent a lot of time making sure employees connect with each other around Go Further. I think the most important thing was we needed to explain what it meant, how our culture is different.
Externally, we’re just starting the process. We launched a brand campaign around our whole new product lineup in the U.S. about a month ago.
Now with the new Ford Escape, Fusion and C-MAX you’re going to see Go Further become more of a public face for the company.
We started in Europe in the first quarter and now we’re launching a lot of new products – B-MAX, 1.0-liter on the Focus – and those products you’re going to see Go Further become a big part of the storytelling.
And in South America with the launch of the new EcoSport, you also are going to see Go Further in the third and fourth quarter become a big part of the external messaging.
Asia is at a different speed. Some countries are already far along with the external messaging of Go Further. Others, like China, will be waiting until some new products roll out later this year or next year.
So the whole globe is on different paces, but the common theme is that everyone is using new products, the new global One Ford products, as a chance to explain that this is the manifestation of Go Further.
Q. How are you seeing Go Further embraced around the world?
A. We’re making a lot of progress. The first step is certainly for employees to really absorb and internalize this idea of what makes us different as a company and what it means to them in their job. And I think that’s really what we should try and accomplish the remainder of the year is to look inside before we look outside.
But certainly, different business, different functions are all working at different speeds with different challenges. I’m seeing Go Further really captured within functions and business units, especially the idea of what’s new in our business, what’s growing, what’s differentiating us – whether it’s Manufacturing, Purchasing, HR, IT and of course Sales and Marketing. Additionally, I’m seeing Go Further in the actions of Ford’s different business units. Whether it’s the external challenges that Ford of Europe is facing, the issues Ford of South America is confronting or the tremendous growth we’re seeing in Asia and even here in North America. Go Further seems flexible enough to fit into all of these opportunities.
Q. What are next steps in the evolution of the Go Further global brand promise?
A. I’m a very practical person, and so I think the next step is really simple. We learned from the Pulse survey that a lot of our internal stakeholders – our employees especially – have learned what Go Further is, what it’s about and how it will help our business. But it wasn’t everyone.
So the most important thing right now is for all of us on the Ford team to reflect on what Go Further means in our jobs and – how that challenge, that opportunity, however you want to verbalize it – how that applies to us.
As the Ford team, we need to internalize and really understand the meaning of Go Further so that we can explain what makes Ford different than all of our competitors. I think that’s the first step.
From there, we’ll see. But I believe that’s the most important first step we still have to make. Although we have made great progress, we’re not there yet.
For the third and fourth quarters of this year, it would be a great accomplishment if every employee, every dealer, every team member really understood what Go Further meant in the context of their own life and be able to explain it to their friends and the people they care about. then we’ll have made a lot of progress.
From there I can imagine all the other things that are going to happen in 2013 with all the great products we have to launch.
Go Further will start to capture the DNA of the company and how we’re unique as we launch all these global products that are different from a Volkswagen, a Hyundai, a Toyota or any of the other world-class competitors in our industry.