Posted by: David Kiley on April 23, 2009
Anyone who knows or has spent time with Ford CEO Alan Mulally knows that he finds it hard to leave his “Isn’t this neat?” persona. Mulally, who came to Ford from Boeing, wanted to be an astronaut when he was a kid, and that enthusiasm and Americana comes out of his pores when you spend any time with him.
The video shows him sitting with Ford’s chief Tweeter, Scott Monty, dictating his answers to questions submitted on Twitter.
I confess, I am still working out the benefits of Twitter. I am tweeting, and am collecting new followers every day. But so far, for me, it is a little like drinking eight glasses of water a day. I’m not sure what good it does me, but I know it can’t hurt. And there is research on both sides of the issue.
Corporations and their CEOs have struggled for a few years to know just how to take advantage of blogging and social media. Now, it’s Twitter.
While I like the cross-media tie here between Twitter and YouTube, I think what I want to see from CEOs using social media is more attention to delivering meaningful content rather than flat-out commercials.
The exchange here shows Mulally answering a question about what he thinks the best or most important Ford cars are. Clearly, he took it to mean Ford brands only. He rattles off all the Ford passenger cars in the U.S., plus the European Ka, which probably isn’t coming to the U.S. Asked about utility vehicles, here again Mulally rattles off all the Ford SUVs.
I hope this was just a “get your feet wet” chapter for CEO Mulally and Twitter, so he could see what it was about. Cuz, it ain’t exactly Frost-Nixon.
The recipe for this sort of thing should be a combination of real, substantive questions and answers, mixed in with a little light-heartedness.
Here is a CEO with a lot to say, and a lot to tell people who are looking at Ford vehicles and Ford Motor Co. anew. The press lately has been great for Ford. Its vehicles are being well-reviewed. Quality ratings are up. People are taking notice. Mulally is hailed as the only CEO in Detroit who knows what he is doing, while GM and Chrysler flirt with bankruptcy. Show it a bit more.
Let’s get some dynamism going here boys. It’s video. It’s Twitter. If people think you have something to say, they’ll go looking for you in the future. If they tune in, and see Mulally and Monty elbowing each other and giggling like two guys who cut school for the day…not so much.