Obviously, even the giants in the automotive industry are facing the most dreadful days. This is why the automakers are now finding new ways to alleviate their standing. For the Ford Motor Co., one of the most viable ways to boost brand image is employing 'walking advertisements.'
Ford is trying to step on Active Brakes Direct hiring to put a halt to the rush of losses and sales doldrums. Earlier, the automaker is asking every employee to become "a walking advertisement" when talking to others. This is to aid the company as it strives to boost its brand image and stem its market share slide in the United States. Last week, Ford's Executive Director of Global Automotive Communications Ray Day, delivered the message to employees in a webcast.
Mark Fields, the president of Ford's Americas group, reiterated this point in his weekly e-mail to managers Friday, asking them to urge each employee to talk up Ford with friends, family and any media that they may encounter.
"An improving reputation results to higher purchase consideration among our customers and, more importantly, more vehicle sales," Fields wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Detroit News. "Externally, each of us is a walking announcement for the company to the world around us. We need to take this role very seriously as we speak with our co-workers, our neighbors and everyone with whom we associate."
Fields called on employees to adopt "a more confident tone of voice – one that underscores we are a team that knows how to win and we have a plan that shows us how to win." In particular, he suggested Ford workers tout the new products coming from Dearborn.
Michael Bernacchi, the professor of marketing at the University of Detroit Mercy's College of Business Administration, intimated that positive word-of-mouth from employees is fine but far from the answer to Ford's issues. "Products and brands need to speak for themselves," he said.
It could be reckoned that the automaker has had some successful milestones with newer products like the Ford Edge and the Mercury Milan. But it continues to yield market share to its competitors. The automaker, which controlled 25 percent of the American market in 1995, only claims a 17.1 percent share at the present time. The ailing automaker is currently in the midst of a massive restructuring that aims to stop that share loss and return the company to profitability by 2009. Last year, Ford lost $ 12.7 billion.
Fields, in his memo, also urged managers to communicate regularly with their employees about the company's turnaround progress. He said supervisors should brief their staff at least once a week about the progress Ford is making with its "Way Forward" plan, as well as improvements their own departments have made towards meeting their objectives. In the said memo, Fields also stressed that the results of the latest survey are more encouraging.