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.

Going Global by Going Local: Why localization improves engagement

Part 15 in an ongoing series that serves as the prequel to my new book, The End of Business as Usual

The world is becoming a much smaller place. But even with social media contributing to a globally connected society, businesses that continue to take a global approach to social content and engagement may be missing opportunities for greater resonance and relevance. While a global presence is necessary for any organization hoping to connect with customers around the world, placing reliance on one prevailing strategy is just the beginning. In any web strategy, including social and also mobile media, localization is king.

Is the Golden Age of tech blogging over?

My colleague Jeremiah Owyang sure ruffled some feathers with his post claiming that the Golden Age of tech blogging is over. Aside from being a mentor and a tireless analyst, he’s also a long-time blogger. His words over the years helped blaze the trail for blogging and ultimately the micromedia bonanza that he believes is contributing to the erosion of long-form social prose. In his article, he quotes good friends Loic Lemeur, Ben Metcalfe, Ben Parr, Francine Hardaway, Chris Heuer and Dave McClure. Their perspective is always interesting. And, his post also drew telling comments from some of the best known names in tech blogging including Pete Cashmore, founder of Mashable, Sarah Lacy, Marshall Kirkpatrick, and Dylan Tweney, executive editor at VentureBeat.

2012 Social Marketing & New Media Predictions

Awareness Networks released insights and prognosis from 34 business and marketing leaders as part of its 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions report. It’s written for marketing strategists, brand marketers and consults and those working in agencies. I think you’ll find it interesting to say the least and perhaps even prescriptive.

Here are a few of my thoughts…

On the evolution of social business:

The State of the Blogosphere 2011

Part 14 in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual…this series serves as the book’s prequel.

When you think about social media, what do you envision? Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Foursquare? If you’re like me, blogs would have made the top of the list. But how can blogs survive in a time when the attention of connected consumers is not only precious, it’s elusive. After all, people can read no more than 140 characters at a time right? With the surplus of networks and a river of social activity that washes away personal information levees, how can we be anything but distracted?

The State of Social Marketing 2012

The following report is brought to you by the Pivot Conference taking place in New York on October 15-16, 2012. You can download a full copy of the report for free by clicking here.

How to Make Customer Service Matter Again Part 2

Part 13 in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual…this series serves as the book’s prequel.

These days, customer service seems to be a contradiction of words and intentions. Year after year, customers are appealing for attention, efficiency and a communicated sense of being appreciated. After all, what is the value of customer acquisition if retention itself isn’t valued? Now with social networks becoming the preferred channel of communication among connected consumers, businesses are losing ground and faith. The reality is that customers will share their experiences whether positive or negative and they will influence the decisions of others. The question is, how are you changing your service model to shape and steer experiences that deliver value to customers and also back to your business?

The Force Behind Successful Brand Journalism

Guest post by Todd Blecher, Communications Director, The Boeing Company

Much wisdom did Yoda accumulate. But experience with social media I think not the Jedi had. Yoda’s insistence that we “do, or do not. There is no try,” to brand journalism does not apply.

When it comes to brand journalism the instruction should be “Try. There is no do or do not.” In fact, since April, 2010, when we transformed www.boeing.com into a brand journalism platform, we’ve been all about trying. We started with modest goals and walk-then-run approach that has been essential to sustainable success.

How to Make Customer Service Matter Again Part 1

Part 12 in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual…this series serves as the book’s prequel.

Over the years, customer service has been something of a paradox within the organization. The name itself inspires dedication to helping people. And while that is the intention of customer service professionals worldwide, customer service as a line item in business accounting has often placed it in the hands of outsourced organizations, under-qualified personnel, or in the hands of customers directly through self-service or automated technology. The mission of course is to improve profitability. It is what it is.

You can’t go back and create a new beginning, but you can begin to change the ending

Part 11 in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual…this series serves as the book’s prequel.

There are those who believe social media is the catalyst for a new genre of business and that it will ultimately change how companies engage with customers. Others believe that for the organization to truly matter, it must adopt a culture of customer and employee centricity. Then there are those who study the evolution of consumer behavior and market shifts to develop informed strategies for the business overall and in some cases, demonstrate the need for organizational transformation. To successfully compete for the future, you must unite these internal fronts and lead a concerted effort for meaningful change.

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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