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Ford’s Jim Farley on the importance of putting your brand in the hands of customers

During Blogworld Expo in Los Angeles, I was given the opportunity to interview Jim Farley, Ford’s Group Vice President, Global Marketing, Sales and Service live on stage. The discussion was focused on a powerful theme, putting your brand in the hands of customers. Certainly for any business, large and small, the idea of empowering customers to shape and steer your brand can be perceived as both frightening and dangerous. But here, Farley brings a refreshing perspective on why businesses, including Ford, need to engage customers in a more human and genuine manner. He looks beyond marketing to bring executives, employees and customers together in building a stronger brand, more relevant products and services, and investing in meaningful relationships to ultimately create a remarkable business…a business that matters beyond its goods.

“My responsibility is to teach the organization something they’re not willing to learn. If I get fired because of it or if I don’t fit, I should not have been there any way. We live in a new paradigm…with a new opportunity.” – Jim Farley

I think you’ll enjoy this video. Please take a moment to watch and share…

Season Two:

S2E1: How Mercedes Benz Successfully Uses Social Media to Engage
S2E2: Technorati’s Richard Jalichandra on the State and Future of Social Media
S2E3: Guy Kawasaki on the Art of Enchantment
S2E4: Adly CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh on the Social Era of Celebrity Endorsements
S2E5: Filmmaker and Webby Awards Founder Tiffany Shlain
S2E6: Jim Louderback, Revision3 CEO on the Future of Broadcast and Web Television – Part 1 of 2
S2E7: Jim Louderback, Revision3 CEO on the Future of Broadcast and Web Television – Part 2 of 2
S2E8: Marcel LeBrun of Salesforce Radian6 on the Future of Social Media Monitoring
S2E9: Our Digital Society in the Next 30 Years: An Interview with John Battelle
S2E10: How Social Customer Service is Changing the Culture at Comcast
S2E11: Dunkin’ Donuts Uses Social Media to Improve Customer Relationships and Experiences
S2E12: USA Today’s Jon Swartz on Disruptive Technology’s Impact on Business and Culture

Season One on YouTube

Now on iTunes!

Photo Credit: Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

19 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Ford’s Jim Farley on the importance of putting your brand in the hands of customers”

  1. Kjell says:

    Hello Brian,

    I was at this presentation and enjoyed it immensely. What I enjoyed more was watching the Tweeter stream on my iPad as Jim told stories of his career, family and of course how he (Ford) believes in the power of social media. 

    What he was able to accomplish in terms of putting a human face on the Ford brand was miraculous. Jim actually practiced what he was preaching by putting Ford in the hands of those present and allowing them form and share their opinion. It show up in real time while sitting in the audience and it was seen in the electronic world. Remarkable.

    Great job – and thanks so much for the copy of your wonderful book.

    My best,


  2. Anonymous says:

    Brian – great interview. Both of your perspectives resonate with what I know to be the power of social media. And I come away from this interview with a really interesting and powerful disconnect, which is that yes, in surveys executives and marketers indicate the importance of social media. But in practice it’s not happening – at least not widespread. And it’s because while some people may get it, it requires an executive champion to really take hold and reflect the DNA of the company, and there are very few of those executive champions (statistically speaking). We need to continue to hammer the point, accelerate the momentum, and demonstrate the value. An interview like this supports the cause.

  3. Tim Letscher says:

    DNA change. Fun stuff. I love the comment at the very end that we’re never going to go backwards. Truth.

  4. Brandignity says:

     He really did bring Ford back from the dead!  This is a perfect example of the power of social media!

  5. Only problem is that “consumers” (ie. the people that buy the cars) are NOT Ford’s customers. Car dealers are. Consumer’s can’t buy cars from Ford. I was at the keynote also. 

    • Tim Letscher says:

      That’s partially true. Like the beer distributors that need to be catered to, the auto dealers do have pull with the manufacturers. If your argument held true, you wouldn’t see multi-million dollar consumer advertising attempting to sway the public.

    • Not necessarily. The advertising campaigns by any manufacturer are to support, encourage and increase consumer sales by dealers. By building brand value, the manufacturers can assist it’s dealers in selling more vehicles, which allows Ford to sell more vehicles to dealers. That’s why manufacturers advertise so extensively.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Jim Farley’s stage presence has an honesty and transparent lack of an agenda, largely because the lack of polished delivery of comments.   Maybe more people should be so plain spoken and simple.

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