December 30, 2008
One of the principles that Web 2.0 affords us all is that, thanks to the ease of self-publishing, we can create content in pretty much any form we want. And if you don't know exactly how your customers like to consume information, I'd argue that you should make every version available.
This became pretty clear to me today, when we made an announcement at Ford that we're launching a new feature in the Lincoln MKS called Active Park Assist - which means you can parallel park hands-free. Sounds cool.
We launched a traditional press release along with a social media press release. There were mainstream online articles about it which got some pickup, including Engadget, the Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo. And the reaction was mostly people passing along the headlines on Twitter.
But it wasn't until we launched the video that we had that "a-ha" moment. People saw the technology in action and immediately understood what the text-based pieces and the image above were trying to convey.
In this case, we had a story that was more easily understood by observing how technology worked firsthand. When you couple an image-intensive story with an audience's need for quick information, video is a great solution.
So when it's time to make your own announcement, launch a campaign, or build awareness, you should ask yourself: what's the most effective way of telling your story?
December 22, 2008
A couple of weeks ago on the heels of Ford's appearance before some Congressional committees, I had to deal with a major firestorm online.
In short, the issue was that there was a Ford fansite called TheRangerStation.com that received a cease & desist letter from Ford, and the owner posted that Ford was asking for $5,000 and the URL to be turned over. It turns out there was much more to the story. The owner was selling counterfeit Ford goods, and together, we reached a reasonable solution to the situation.
Ron Ploof, a B-to-B social media consultant, has created a completely masterful case study of what happened here. I'll leave it to him to set it up, tell the story, and draw out the lessons, here in this Scribd document.
In the end, it's created a point of conversation for us internally (and externally, I might add). I've committed to creating a more fluid conversation between Ford's Communications area and Office of General Counsel, so we don't run into these surprise situations again. We'll still need to protect the brand and our licensees, but if we can work with enthusiast sites, we'll be in a much better place.
If there's one thing I'm not a fan of in the social web, it's the peer pressure surrounding memes. On the one hand, it's a forced post that I'd rather not write; then again, if I don't write it, I feel like I'm letting a friend down.
In this case, that friend was Aaron Strout, a social media and marketing colleague from back in Boston. Aaron has recently relocated to Austin (joining a number of other Boston illuminati) and is heading up marketing for Powered. And he told us seven things we may not know about him and challenged others.
So, here are the seven things you may not know about me (keep in mind I've done this a couple of times before). That means if you do your research, you'll know 23 things about me.
I worked as a writer for the Department of Veterans Affairs during the Clinton healthcare reform proposal era. The thought was that the VA would need to compete with the Johns Hopkins and Mass Generals of the world, so they needed their own reform project. Industry and government leaders met and our group wrote the plan. I also wrote for another project Meeting the Challenge: A Research Agenda for Health, Safety and Food for America. I later went on to become a speechwriter for the Director of Medical Research.
I was an altar boy for 10 years, serving under Father Ted, a very old-school priest. He was a no-nonsense guy and he expected things to be orderly. I kind of cringe every time I seen an altar server wearing sneakers at mass - Fr. Ted would have excommunicated them.
When I participate in karaoke, to disguise my inability to perform current hits, I typically choose older songs and impersonate the singers. My favorite - it's a tie betweetn "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" as a duet between Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias and "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
Before I joined Ford, I had only driven one American car - and a GM one at that. When I was in high school, I inherited a Vette. No, it's not what you're thinking. It was a Chevette.
If you told me that I could only have a single kind of candy for the rest of my life, it would be Peanut M&M's. And yes, I'm old enough to remember when light brown was a color of regular M&M's.
I won't be doing another one of these memes for at least another year.
December 16, 2008
I was at a preview event that Ford was holding for media prior to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), when in strolled our CEO, Alan Mulally. He was immediately swarmed by journalists, who formed the traditional scrum.
When they dispersed, I got his attention and asked if he wanted to take some questions on Twitter. "What's Twitter?" he asked. Fair question. When I explained it to him briefly (and what I had been doing on Twitter recently), he was all for it.
[I've said before and I'll say it again: Alan Mulally is a down-to-earth, affable and smart guy who's interested in new technology and passionate about Ford. I'm proud to be working for him.]
Here's a sampling of questions & answers from the exchange. Mind you, I was thumbing away on my Blackberry as Alan spoke.
December 15, 2008
I was honored to receive an email from Peter Kim couple of weeks ago, asking for my predictions for social media in 2009. Peter is a former analyst for Forrester Research and he's now part of a VC that's focusing on social computing.
The reason I was honored is not just because Peter is a smart guy whom I've always admired, but he included me in some pretty distinguished company. In the end, 14 of us responded and came up with some fairly interesting and bold takeaways for 2009.
"Although it is now cheaper to launch an initiative leveraging Web 2.0 technology - it requires qualified and passionate people to make them successful." - David Armano
"You may not always start the year as a leader, but you can certainly finish it that way." - Rohit Bhargava
"Intimacy touches emotion; emotion powers conversation." - Pete Blackshaw
"Doors are going to close all over the social web. Why? Because the money didn't come the way people thought it would." - Chris Brogan
"The tipping point has not only *not* been reached, but could still tilt *away* from Social Media." - Todd Defren
"There's a lot of fixing that needs to be done." - Jason Falls
"Dwindling budgets suddenly make low-cost social media look like the pretty girl at the ball." - Ann Handley
"We're going to develop a set of better metrics to help guide, direct and validate 'commitment'." - Joseph Jaffe
"The movement is rooted in a desire to have quality, not quantity, as people cocoon in the face of the economic crisis." - Charlene Li
At Ford, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital &
Multimedia Communications Manager. He is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company, from blogger
relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more, as social media is being integrated into many
facets of Ford business.
Prior to joining Ford, Scott served as Consigliere for crayon
and spent a number of years with PJA Advertising + Marketing, a
boutique BtoB agency specializing in health sciences & high tech.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about the intersection of
advertising, marketing and PR at ScottMonty.com and
also writes The Baker Street Blog and cohosts I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, two literary undertakings. Scott
has been featured in hundreds of news and business publications in print and on the web, in nearly dozens of books, and on a variety of
mainstream media, including NBC, NPR, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and
frequently speaks at industry events.
Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's
Graduate School of Management. He lives in the greater Detroit area with his wife and two young sons, golfs all too infrequently, and
has a hidden talent for voice over work.
Scott speaks on social media at events, seminars and conferences around the world. His topic generally focuses on corporate use of social media, becoming an online spokesperson, and specifically on the progress that Ford has made in the recent past. If you're interested in booking Scott to speak at your event, please click here to submit a speaking request for Ford-related purposes or email me at speaking [AT] this site's URL (if you know what I mean) to send a general email request.. Scott's bio and headshot can be found in the "About Scott" tab above.
I'm Scott. I'm the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company. This is my personal blog, where I share my perspectives on business, technology, communications, marketing and the vast changes in the industry that impact leadership. This blog contains my personal views. My bio is available here and my headshots can be found here.