Have a great idea? Ford wants to know
Ryan Beene is a reporter for Automotive News.
What do you want to see in the Ford lineup that's not there now? Ford wants to hear about it on social media and is thinking about ways to reward good ideas.
When it comes to marketing through social media, Ford is going out of its way to be different -- and not just by revealing the new Explorer on Facebook or asking a group of young drivers to blog about the new Fiesta.
Ford is using the online discussion with its customers to seek input on future products.
"We're looking for ways to insert some of these suggestions into the product cycle at the appropriate time so that we don't have to wait the full two or three years that it usually takes a product to get to market," says Scott Monty, Ford's social media boss.
Monty says Ford is funneling vehicle content ideas submitted to the "Your Ideas" section of thefordstory.com into product planning. It's an open call for ideas from its online friends.
As part of the process, Ford also is looking for ways to reward fans who interact with the automaker on social media.
That could mean anything from posting someone's story about a first Mustang on the Web site to maybe, someday, even setting up a lunch with global product boss Derrick Kuzak, Monty says.
Monty says the goal is to turn Ford into a "social business" that rewards its fans and gives them a chance to influence future product.
AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest auto retail group, will launch a redesigned blog in July.
The blog, called AutoNation Connect, will post market-specific content about what's happening at AutoNation stores, as well as car tips and stories about what AutoNation employees are doing in their communities.
You can reach Ryan Beene at email@example.com. -- Follow Ryan on