Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.
+1 212 318 2000
Europe, Middle East, & Africa
+44 20 7330 7500
+65 6212 1000
I opened my Wall Street Journal this morning (yes, I still do that) and there is a two-page ad spread with Bill Ford at a podium and his words on the page—“Innovation is our mission. The guiding compass of everything we do. Smarter, safer, more fuel efficient vehicles.”
OK. I like Ford. I drive the Ford Focus whenever I rent and when I need a smallish car. It’s zippy and fun to drive and handles well. I like the cross-over SUV Escape as well. I spent a month in Alaskan back-country driving around in it to do birding. These are both good products that speak well of the Ford brand. They work for Ford.
What doesn’t work for Ford are ads that sell the brand without the real product. That’s old-fashioned advertising that has less and less credibility. The current round of Ford ads—and I’ve seen Bill Ford speaking on innovation on TV as well—does the Ford brand a disservice. It’s not believable because Ford has lagged Toyota in car innovation for years and most people know it. The ad in the paper says “First SUV hybrid on the road today.”
Yep, it was the first but Ford had to license Toyota hybrid engine technology to do it. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it makes lots of sense to got outside your company for innovation. But going to Japan for hybrid technology proves my point. Ford spent many years making fat profits off of gas-guzzling SUVs that customers loved and not enough time investing in new technologies and innovation. Now it is getting hit by high gas prices and is striving to change the narrative of its company story. But you hurt your brand by promising customers something you can’t deliver. Toyota delivers a great product that defines the brand and spreads the message. Ford is spreading a message that lacks authenticity. Not good.
Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.