DEARBORN - Last year Ford introduced Go Further, a global brand promise designed to embody the company’s commitment to its customers throughout the world.
Go Further is a reflection of the Ford culture and it is what differentiates the Blue Oval from other automakers. It expresses how the company goes further to deliver a strong business, great products and a better world.
“The Go Further global brand promise brings a unification of what it means to work at Ford. If you bleed blue then you don’t have to be told to go further. You just do it,” said Elena Ford, vice president, Global Dealer and Consumer Experience. “I think it’s because there’s meaning behind the Blue Oval. It’s a symbol of success and of family – not just the Ford family but the greater Ford family of employees, dealers and suppliers – and we’re all in it together.”
Employee awareness and understanding of the global brand promise has been increasing over time since the concept was launched. The global Employee Engagement Survey conducted in the spring of last year showed that 79 percent of employees were aware of the Go Further brand promise and 60 percent could explain it to someone else. And when the global Pulse Survey was conducted six months later in the fall of 2012 those figures increased significantly to 85 and 74 percent respectively.
While progress is being made, Jim Farley, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales & Service, says it’s important to keep the momentum going.
“We need to make it personal,” he said. “We all have choices at work about what we can spend our time with and where we can add value. Think about what really gets you motivated and excited to come to work each day, and make sure you are putting yourself in that zone more often.”
In addition to personalizing the Go Further brand promise, Farley says it’s important to continue practicing the One Ford behaviors.
“We need to continue to perfect our working together,” he said. “It could be the ultimate competitive advantage.”
Ford added, “I’d like to see employees make it personal and if you’re going to make it personal you have to live it. Bring it to life in a genuine way.”
Farley says making Go Further a personal pride point is a key part of Ford’s next step forward as a company.
“We’re going from being a great company to becoming an iconic company again, and that move will really be about our unique distinctive culture,” he said. “When you look at companies that have been iconic like Nike or Apple it often comes down to their base culture.”
Go Further: People Serving People, Ingenuity and Attainability
At the heart of Go Further are three basic tenets: people serving people; ingenuity and attainability.
Most employees are familiar with the idea of people serving people. It is the human dimension of the company and it refers to the higher purpose Ford has to serve mankind.
“At Ford, we go further because we serve each other – and that’s service to the local community, our dealers, ourselves as employees and our customers,” said Farley.
According to Ford, ingenuity means finding a better way to execute a project or plan, and attainability means making those innovations available to as many people as possible. At Ford, the two often go hand in hand.
“We get really cool ingenious ideas and we make them available to all. We serve the customer by making things affordable,” she said. “And if you look back, that’s what Henry Ford did. He always strived to make things affordable for working people.”
Farley cites SYNC as an example.
“We were first to market with SYNC, and it is a great example of innovative technology,” he said. “Most companies would have priced it at $1,000 and at that price point maybe 10 percent of our customers would have paid for it. But that wasn’t Ford’s approach. We priced it at $300 and now it’s in 60 to 70 percent of our cars.”
Ford says the greatest ideas come from all over the world.
“We have really ingenious ideas not just from the Sci Labs but from developing markets like China, India and Brazil,” she said, citing how Ford of Brazil recently pre-launched the Fusion by recreating one of the greatest rivalries in the history of Formula 1, with former world champions Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet racing a pair of Fusions.
“It was totally impressive,” she said.
Going Further with Global Marketing and Advertising
It’s no coincidence that the introduction of the Go Further global brand promise coincided with the launch of global products, such as the Focus, Fiesta, Fusion/Mondeo and Escape/Kuga. Those products have created a clear, consistent identity for Ford in the global marketplace and now allow the company to speak to consumers with a single voice.
“All of our global products have the same DNA,” said Farley. “With every new vehicle we launch we ask ourselves in Marketing how does this product deliver on the brand promise. How is it innovative? How does it serve our customers?
“I think it’s giving us a filter for all the marketing to go through so that there’s going to be consistency,” he continued. “Even if you go around the world, even if they are different vehicles it will feel like one brand, one company that’s betting on innovation and human relationships and betting on affordability. I think that’s how it has helped us to have a more consistent message.”
Speaking to consumers throughout the world in a single, unified voice is critical in today’s digital age, says Ford.
“The world is completely interconnected with all the social media and internet connectivity that we have today. This is one world and not separate regions anymore,” she said. “So it’s very important in my eyes to keep the One Ford – One Team One Plan One Goal – promise.
“If you drive a vehicle in this market it may be tuned a little bit for rougher roads or more dynamic if it’s in Europe, but at the end of the day a Fiesta is a Fiesta and a Focus is a Focus,” she continued. “It’s one brand. It’s Ford. And that’s what you’re buying: the trust of the Ford brand.”
Dealers Play Critical Role in Delivering Global Brand Promise
According to Ford, dealers play an important role in delivering the global brand promise to customers.
“Dealers are the face of Ford, so Go Further has to be engrained in them as well,” she said.
Ford says there are dealers around the world who are doing a great job and others that can improve.
“Globally, we need to build the dealers’ competencies to make them realize that going further doesn’t mean anything more than putting a smile on your face, a bounce in your step and treating customers the way you want to be treated,” she said.
For some dealers, going further means taking a close look at the people on their management teams, says Ford.
“I think that’s what the Consumer Experience Movement has taught dealers in the U.S.,” she said. “It’s not just about you as the dealer. It’s about how your team is perceived because at the end of the day you’re only as good as your team.”