Ford Motor Company engages audiences on a new level, utilizing social media to reach consumers where they are
The following article is featured in the Fall 2013 edition of CCN. We hope you enjoy this preview of the upcoming edition. Be sure to check back next week for another sneak peek at the fall issue.
Ford Motor Company’s savvy, consumer-friendly marketing techniques, such as the “Fiesta Movement,” are proof points of the importance of engaging audiences in experiences rather than simply telling them to go out and buy something. Consumers want to interact and enjoy their products through rich narratives and experiences that complement and make their lives better.
John Lusk’s compelling story, “Never Underestimate the Power of Word of Mouth” (WOM), as seen in the spring 2013 issue of CCN, showcases how several industries are using WOM to market their products to consumers. The story highlights the importance of growing and adapting to extend a company’s reach to new and potential audiences in a non-traditional way.
The socially savvy 2009 Fiesta Movement campaign is a great example of what Lusk wrote about in his article. Social Media Week* in 2009 kicked off the Fiesta Movement campaign, which was designed to help launch the 2011 Ford Fiesta in the United States. This campaign created interaction between the vehicle and its target customer. It allowed them to use their intelligence and creativity through social engagement to change the way they saw the car.
Without spending money on incremental media, the Fiesta Movement successfully established the nameplate in the United States in less than one year. This included successful outreach on several platforms including:
o More than 50,000 pieces of original content
o Nearly 6.5 million YouTube views of films
o More than 750,000 views of Flickr photos
o More than 40 million impressions on Twitter
o More than 300 million media impressions
Ford plans to exceed its previous Fiesta campaign next year with the Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix. This will be the first time Ford has ever used a campaign that is entirely user-generated. Everything people see, hear and read about the new 2014 Ford Fiesta will come straight from the people who are using the new car. They will be recording, posting and sharing their Fiesta stories from beginning to end—their experiences are the campaign. There will be no official corporate launch of the vehicle.
The recorded experiences from the Agents could be used for a print ad in a popular magazine. They could also be used for a 30-second spot during a popular TV show. They might even be used as a video introduction as people walk into a music festival. It will span paid, owned, earned and experimental media.
Platforms like American Idol, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and all the summer X Games will be used in Mission videos for the Fiesta Movement program. Their stars will act as advocates for the Ford Fiesta, helping to extend the reach and build a holistic story for consumers. It’s a completely new way to reach people— especially millennials, who are more connected and interested in sharing their stories than any previous generation. And the Ford Fiesta attracts more millennials than any other Ford vehicle, demonstrating the importance of telling its story in a completely new way.
The Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix incorporates the 2014 Ford Fiesta’s best features from miles per gallon to personality to performance and connectivity. The vehicle’s qualities are brought to life through influencers, their friends and their followers. In addition, the engagement piece from Ford offers potential consumers and enthusiasts alike the opportunity to engage in human conversations with the brand. This allows them to build rapport with the Agents who are serving as brand ambassadors for the nameplate.
As with many marketing campaigns, return on investment(ROI) is used to sell products. Calculating ROI becomes difficult as factors such as WOM and social marketing media do not give concrete results.
Where do consumers seeking products or services normally go first? Do they turn to a television or radio ad? Do they visit each brand’s website? The answer is most likely none of those — especially for purchases that are likely to carry a large price tag. The average consumer will turn to family and friends for recommendations or testimonials, or they will turn to social media to view the opinions of a larger mass of people.
The choices a consumer has to sift through are enormous. WOM is very effective in helping a consumer make a purchase. So the next time you’re contemplating a new purchase, stop and ask yourself: was it due to a personal testimony or brand messaging?
*Social Media Week is a leading media platform and worldwide event with local presence and global reach across five continents, including Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. The mission is to capture, curate and share the most meaningful ideas, trends and best practices with regard to technology and social media’s impact on business, society and culture. For more information, visit www.socialmediaweek.org.
— Van Nguyen is a socially engaged explorer who has a passion for social networks and strategy. She specializes in customer service and engagement and has consulted Fortune 100 companies on their customer service programs. She is currently the account director at Ogilvy & Mather Public Relations and can be reached at 313-615-2856 or @SocialMeSavvy.
To learn more about the participants in the Fiesta Movement, and the adventures they have embarked on, please visit www.FiestaMovement.com.