Ford Motor Company – Trend Conference (Day 1)

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It’s about 1:19AM as I’m starting to write this. I just recovered from an evening of presentations by the Chief Operating Officer of Ford, Mark Fields. Like the major celebrity Mark is, he took various pictures with everyone and greeted everyone with a warm and welcoming demeanor that most anyone could acclimate to. Aside from the hors d’oeuvres and the selections of beverages, I had not expected there would be a presentation this evening. I expected dinner, networking, and onward. But in a move that hearkens to Ford’s approach with trying to change their approach to the motor vehicle market, they allowed the audience to settle and offer some words of thought and inspiration.

FordTrendConf_02Mark Fields brought on two guests to share the stage with him, Clayton Christensen, who is a Professor at Harvard Business School, followed by Kenneth Cole, popular fashion designer. The point of bringing on these two individuals is to elaborate on “Innovation”. Given that this word was a key in past Consumer Electronic Expo (CES) shows, it’s a bit weird to see it again as though there were no other words to promote a product. But what’s wonderful about this night was that we have Academia (Christensen) and Fashion (Cole) acting as the two sides of the professional perspective when it comes to Ford’s approach. It’s not merely about “Innovation” as is the key word being promoted, it’s about function.

FordTrendConf_03Christensen points out, “Tradition of marketing is wrong. Instead of focusing on the customer, focus on what the customer is trying to do.” The better we understand the job, the better off we’ll be. And it’s true, even when marketing with video games, the consumer as a person is the one being marketed toward, rather than what the consumer can do within the time engaged. It’s a mixed bag of what kind of marketing is approached, but Christensen calls it out.

FordTrendConf_04Cole, having started his business decades ago with the sale of 40,000 women’s shoes thanks to his ingenuity, reminds us that “Brand is king”. The brand survives by delivering on the dream in which it was established, and Kenneth Cole did not hold back on using Ford’s past failures as a part of one of his early jokes.

FordTrendConf_05Ultimately, aside of the new unveiling of the Ford Edge 2015, there is a modesty which both guest speakers were allowed that puts Ford Motor Company in check. There is no dodging the failures and the stereotypes people have of Ford. But with the feedback of car enthusiasts today, there is a marked understanding that Ford is getting better and we will see how the consumer accepts this invigoration of the brand. The Ford Edge in particular is said to be rebuilt from the ground up, so even if the name is dedicated to the Edge line, it should yield more utility.

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Jaynesis Ong
Jaynesis Ong 162 posts

He is currently a graphics designer by trade, illustrator for indie games, fashionisto, film production assistant, socialite, sampler of fine music, and taster of various new MMO games. JB likes destructive walks on the beach, visceral plot points, maniacal villains, and collapsing galactic empires.