By Michelle Edelman, President @NYCA
Many an ad agency and marketer have spent their research dollars trying to determine the factors that cause consumers to fall in love with auto brands. With US auto makers in real trouble, and consumers squirreling away their dollars, this insight is perhaps more valuable than ever.
That’s why it’s so interesting that last week, a study quoted in Business Week indicated that a single action caused survey respondents to increase their consideration of Ford by 33%. And the action had nothing to do with rebates, new car launches, or a new cool ad campaign.
Prior to the federal bailout, 41% of consumers had a positive perception of the Ford brand, but according to the survey, after Ford declined to take the loan it increased to 63%.
It appears that when a consumer buys a car, they are also buying the company that’s selling it. They want to know that the company will actually be around at the end of the service agreement. Logical.
But this move has brand implications for Ford. Ford is not immune from industry difficulties. But this decision holds a message to the marketplace that the Ford brand is about hard-working American values. That instead of accepting a government handout, Ford is imbued with the grit and grease that toughs out the tough times. In contrast with the banks, who took taxpayer money and proceeded to still spend some of it on golf events and bonuses, Ford is going to weather the storm by its own wits.
In this way, the brand has a measure of integrity and roll-up-the-sleeves workmanship that is analogous to its own core consumers, allowing them to relate and connect to The Ford Motor Company in a way that transcends its advertising. In this way, the company’s behavior has become the most important part of their media plan.