Ford finds “The One”

October 7th, 2010

Guest blog from BC Intern, Jarred:

Farley has new plan for Ford!

Nowadays, putting together advertising campaigns can be as complex as spending millions of dollars shooting action packed scenes for commercials or as simple as posting 140 characters in a tweet on Twitter. While taking either direction can lead to success, there’s one key point companies must remember: marketing campaigns should always remain consistent across the communications channels.

Why, you ask? Because consumers prefer to buy products that they understand, recognize and trust.  For us marketers, this means that consumers are drawn to products that are branded well, with uniform messaging.  So what’s the bottom line? Every single company should have one strategy and one goal.

Nobody knows this better than Ford’s new head global marketing, James Farley, who helped Ford realize that when it comes to branding, less is more. Farley has done away with Ford’s 28 separate ad campaign strategy (yes, that’s right: 28) by paring it down to a far smaller number: just one. Thanks to Farley, Ford is now marketing its brand around a single global strategy named “One Ford”. The CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally, says “Farley understands what too few marketers do not: that it is critical to maintain messaging consistency over time to rebuild confidence and trust in the Ford brand.”We couldn’t agree more.

Some marketers believe that using a variety of advertising campaigns increases a company’s chances of attracting a broader consumer base.  These marketers follow the assumption that if a consumer doesn’t relate to one of a product’s campaigns, they’ll connect to another.  While this may be somewhat true, it’s not smart to put this logic into practice.  Using multiple campaigns simultaneously causes the company, in this case Ford, to lose part of its identity.  In Ford’s case, having 28 separate campaigns based on location diluted Ford’s image and according to Farley, was unnecessary. Now, he claims “there will be far fewer- just enough to address crucial cultural differences” in relation to changes in the ad campaign.

The strategy appears to be paying off. Ford’s market share has risen from 12.8 to 14.1 since the campaign launched and they are now solidly in the black for the first time in 9 years But you don’t have to be a global car company for these takeaways to ring true. As the communications industry splinters into an ever-growing number of channels (TV, radio, print, Web, email, social media, etc.), it’s important to take this message to heart and keep your company’s voice consistent across all channels.

Posted Under: Advertising, Point of View Marketing
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