Big Three Bailout: Ford Buffs Its Brand

December 18, 2008
Every motivational speaker in the world knows the old chestnut about "crisis" and "opportunity" being the same word in Chinese. And although that isn't entirely true, one of the Big 3 is working hard to find the silver lining in all this mishegas: Ford.

Below deck, Ford's accounting and legal departments are surely scrambling to keep the ship upright, but in the bright, crisp air of day, its marketing and PR people are waging a different battle--one intended to polish the company's brand. In congressional panels and on the evening news, their reps keep saying:

"Oh, no, we're okay. We're just here to help our fellow American automakers by showing some solidarity. What is this 'money' stuff you keep talking about? We don't need any such thing."

Which could also be translated:

"Would you look at these two? Honestly, GM and Chrysler don't know what they're doing, the poor schmucks. Ordinarily, we'd love to see them tank, but since we're really nice guys and it's the holidays, we're asking you to give 'em a hand."

All that talk is intended to beef up the company's image. Like most branding campaigns, it's meant to change our perception of the company and our emotional response to it. So if all goes as planned, when we see the Ford logo in the future, we won't think "bloated" or "prideful" or any of the other Seven Dwarves; instead, we'll think "leadership" and "fiscally sound" and "ace design." Which should eventually translate into bigger sales and a stronger company, so we'll never have to go through this again. Right? -- Richard Read

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