Ford Fiesta Movement Case Study Harvard

Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2011 (Revised December 2012)

The Ford Fiesta

John Deighton and Leora Kornfeld

Executives at Ford wondered if social media could be the marketing solution for the launch of the youth-oriented 2010 Fiesta. But with social media came a ceding of control. Some at the company believed that if Ford was going to move beyond its conservative brand image for the launch of the new subcompact chances had to be taken. Others erred on the side of caution. Chantel Lenard, Ford's Group Marketing Manager for Global Small Car and Midsize Vehicles and Connie Fontaine, Manager of Brand Content and Alliances championed a new approach for the new vehicle and set into motion a comprehensive 6-month social media initiative targeting a younger, ethnically diverse, and urban-based market, called "The Fiesta Movement". In doing so, a large portion of the marketing campaign was handed over to 20 and 30-somethings across America, and Ford had to acclimate to a new way of doing marketing. To what extent should the company guide the activities and messages of their army of bloggers? The case is set two months into the Movement, as the team evaluates the metrics from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and their website, and wonder if they're doing everything they need to do in order to make the Fiesta a success with a new target market.

Keywords: Advertising Campaigns; Online Advertising; Leadership; Goals and Objectives; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Product Launch; Market Entry and Exit; Standards; Auto Industry;

Ford Fiesta Movement (FMM) : A Successful Digital Marketing Implementation

The Ford Motor Company (also known as Ford) is an American multinational automaker headquartered inDearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. Ford also owns Brazilian SUV manufacturer, Troller, and Australian performance car manufacturer FPV. In the past it has also produced tractors and automotive components. Ford owns a 2.1% stake in Mazda of Japan, an 8% stake in Aston Martin of the United Kingdom, and a 49% stake in Jiangling of China. It also has a number of joint-ventures, two in China (Changan Ford Mazdaand Ford Lio Ho), one in Thailand (AutoAlliance Thailand), one in Turkey (Ford Otosan), and one in Russia (Ford Sollers).

Objective:

Since Ford discontinued their subcompact cars manufacturing after Aspire in 1997 they want to enter in to the Subcompact car market through their new car FIESTA which is successful in European Contries. Fiesta will be launched 18 months from the time they planned for the Fiesta Movement Campaign ( FMM) . Since they are not in compact car market in US for some time they would like to know whether it will be acceptable by car lovers in US. Meanwhile they don’t want to invest huge amount for promotion but to reach and identify the right audience for their product. The primary objective is to convince the young American who is the first time new car buyer and also to generate interest for the sub compact and educate them on functional and psychological value in sub-compact car.

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Approach and Strategy:

Before launching “Ford Fiesta” they want the consumer to experience the car and learn the feedback from them. They planned to select 100 people whom they can offer Fiesta for 6 months to drive and experience. Over 4100 people were selected for the free drive out of which they have selected 100 people who are socially vibrant, unique and tell story with good networking and have more than 1000 followers in Social Media ( Facebook / Twitter.) Another interesting component of the campaign is Viral Marketing Campaign ( VMC) approach.

The 100 people whom they have selected will be called as “The Agents” and they were given a mission to complete in the exchange of using the car for Six months. Each month they will have a different mission like for example “ Face Off”  – find a celebrity look alike and ask him to enact or sing a song, “ Show us Around”-travel to every landmark in the town they are residing similarly there are more themes like “ entertainment” “Puppy Ball” Fast Food Nation” etc. Agents have to create a video on each theme they were assigned and write content on the same and make them completely engage in the social media to build up fiesta content featuring Fiesta every month. Ford has to take risk of doing this movement as there could be negative feedback from the Agents on their Product – Performance / Quality / Experience etc. The agent as asked to share the unedited and exact experience of their product.

The other component of the campaign is to give Test drive to more than 100000 people across 100 cities of United States & Canada with in a period of time and capitalize the buzz around fiesta they created.

Result Achieved:

The result was impressive after seeing the videos created by Agents in all the platforms like Videos on Youtube, content on Blog, tweet in Twitter and photographs in Flickr. The videos and photographs are linked to facebook and other social media ( Myspace / Linkedin etc)

  • 38% awareness by Gen Y about the product, without spending a dollar on traditional advertising ( Fords model “Fusion” doesn’t have that awareness after 2 years of being out in production and yet it has received hundreds of millions of dollars in traditional marketing spend)
  • 5 million engagements on social networks (people sharing and receiving)
  • 11k video posted, excluding the retweet there are 15000 tweets, 13000 photos and 11 million social networking impressions.
  • As the result of the campaign 50,000 people shown interest to buy Fiesta and 97% of them will be the first time owner of Ford car if they buy once its launched.
  • The Ford Fiesta Movement was so successful so that they have continued the same in 2012 and 2013.

Learnings:

“If your customers are there you need to be there too” he also went on to say “You need to listen.. See how they behave and act similarly”

You have to be present where the customers are instead calling them, social media will be the right place for any product / service provider.

Let our Customer talk about us : Instead of we creating content let the customer create the content and engage them by sharing the experience of your product in Social Media. Turn you customer into your Agent and let them be the brand ambassador for your product.

Image Credits: Ford Fiesta

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