I just read a BrandWeek article called Ford Asks Employees, Dealers to Spread Ad Message that talks about Ford’s new campaign called “Drive one” which includes a push for employees and dealers to spread the word. Jim Farley group vp-marketing and communications for Ford explains it this way:
The whole idea behind this campaign is not fancy ads. It’s talking to the customer, who talks to a friend. It’s the only chance we have to break the apathy.
My take: As I talked about in my previous post about John Hancock, advertising alone can’t dramatically change a company’s positioning. It takes a shift in how you interact with customers. That means you need to get employees involved (and for car makers, it means dealers as well). So this approach makes absolute sense. Yet, something is wrong.
The fact that Ford is making such a big deal out of this approach means that it’s an unusual occurance. So the car maker does NOT regularly engage employees and dealers in its advertising efforts. That’s a problem. Employees and the entire front line need to be developed into ambassadors for any campaign. And if they can’t promote it, then that’s probably a good sign that the campaign is not a good one.
When I interviewed the CMO for JetBlue several years ago, she told me that she spent half of her time communicating the brand message internally. Sounds like a good benchmark.
The bottom line: CMOs need to become CMMOs, Chief Marketing And Motivational Officers.