November 9, 2009

How Ford does social media

Ford’s social media efforts from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Scott Monty & team take integrated approach rather than focus on short-term campaigns

JD LasicaMajor corporations have begun jumping into the social media pool. One of the biggest success stories this year has been the performance of Ford Motor Co. — they’re making big waves but aren’t splashing around, thanks to the integrated approach taken by Scott Monty, head of social media, who joined Ford only in the summer of 2008.

I caught up with Scott shortly after his keynote chat with the Wall Street Journal’s Kara Swisher at Blogworld Expo. Their BWE conversation was largely inaudible, so this 6-minute interview serves as a quick synopsis of what Ford is up to in the space.

“It’s a commitment. It’s about changing about the business model and embracing it day in and day out.”
— Scott Monty

“We don’t think of social media at Ford in terms of campaigns,” Scott says, “because it’s a commitment. It’s about changing about the business model and embracing it day in and day out.”

From top to bottom, Ford has infused the company with the Zeitgest of social media — employees feel a connection with their customers and a sense of having skin in the game. Social media helps put a human face on the company. “It serves to remind people there are real human beings working at Ford Motor Co. who are passionate about great products,” he says.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

Given Ford’s strong performance in recent months, including a $997 million third-quarter profit, several publications suggested that social media could be one of the key drivers of the company’s recent success. According to BusinessWeek, the automaker will spend 25% of their marketing budget on digital and social media this year.

Three weeks ago Ford won the Society for New Communications Research’s award for brand of the year for its “innovative use of social media to improve the way the company communicates with its stakeholders.” A couple of the notable social media programs Ford has launched include:

fiestmovementpicFiesta Movement: Ford has given 100 “socially vibrant” people on the Web a Ford Fiesta (including Sarah Austin of @pop17) for 6 months. The Fiesta is a European car that Ford will begin producing in the U.S. in 2010. The 100 “agents” get to do whatever they want — tweet, take photos or videos, blog — and Monty’s team aggregates the conversations on without editing it.

He adds: “At the end of 6 months they return the cars and we get real-time feedback from them that we’ve fed into our engineering team to make tweaks to the North American production version.” It’s a combination of crowdsourcing as well as digital buzz. “Ultimately what we’ve got is 50,000 hand-raisers who have seen the Fiesta online or in person who’ve said they want to know more about it when it comes out.” Fully 97 percent of those people do not currently drive Ford vehicles.

As a result, there’s already a 38 percent awareness of the Ford Fiesta in the marketplace, a phenomenal rate given that they haven’t spent a dollar in traditional advertising, Monty says. offers vieos, photos and articles about Ford, its employees and customers.

Monty also discusses why it’s important for corporations to get involved in social media if their customers are already talking about your brand, products or services


Interview with Ford CEO Alan Mulally (

Ford’s $1 Billion Q3 Profit: Does Social Media Deserve Credit? (Mediaite)

Ford’s Social Media Guru Scott Monty: “Social Media Is the Cocaine of the Communications Industry” (Kara Swisher at D)

Interview with Scott Monty (buzzcast)

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JD Lasica, founder of, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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2 thoughts on “How Ford does social media

  1. I think the Fiesta Movement was a great unique idea, but I'm afraid the excitement will have worn off by the time the car is released in the US