There's no question that Ford has scored a huge marketing coup with its hip, fully wired Fiesta Movement. The campaign's camera-ready army of influencers tweeted and Facebooked and YouTubed the hot new compact to an astounding 60% brand recognition before it even appeared in showrooms. The Movement is one of the longest and biggest rollouts we've seen for any vehicle in recent memory, and Ford has just announced that it's going to continue the campaign, even after owners leave the lot.
It's all part of the "unpackaging" experience that begins the moment a customer arrives to pick up her Fiesta. Upon entering the showroom, the buyer is encouraged to mosey up to a kiosk and watch a short video about the Fiesta's features. When the car is ready to go, the dealer snaps a photo of the buyer with her new ride and uploads it to the Fiesta Community site.
Before driving off, the owner is also given a USB drive packed with info about the model. Plugged directly into the car, the drive provides a 19-minute audio overview of the Fiesta. Plugged into a home computer (but not, alas, an iPad), owners can download a Fiesta Community app that'll keep them in touch with Ford, their dealer, and their fellow Fiestonians (or whatever we're calling them). There's even a wiki -- regrettably dubbed the "Fiestapedia" -- and a place where buyers can "Photoshop" (their word) the background of the pic that was taken of them with their new Fiesta. No word on whether Ford has reached any sort of agreement with Adobe about that just yet.
The Fiesta's "unpackaging" process isn't entirely new territory. We've seen thoughtful hand-off programs before, but in Ford's defense, those have typically been associated with much higher-end rides, and none have integrated social media so fully. To see such an elaborate, well-conceived, open-ended program for such an inexpensive, mainstream, Car of the People says a lot about the Fiesta itself (or at least its target demographic), about Ford (and its hopes for this little ride), and the future of the auto industry.
Clearly, the "unpackaging" program is a great match for the Fiesta's primary consumer: the tech-savvy, Facebook-friendly, 20/30something. It's also a great move for Ford, which is putting the eco-friendly, fashion-forward, economical Fiesta front and center in its lineup. That will no doubt have an effect -- probably a positive one -- on Ford's ever-brightening brand image.
It's also remarkable that Ford is attempting to build a community around this particular ride. Sure, we see car and truck communities all the time: fan forums, brand-specific rallies, and so on. But those are limited mostly to hardcore enthusiasts, and Ford is clearly trying to grab much more mainstream buyers. That takes some serious guts, considering all that we've heard about Millennials and their general disregard for car culture. Essentially, Ford is trying to turn a product into a lifestyle, much as Apple has done with the iPod and the iPhone -- only Ford has gone a step further and made product-branded social media a part of the mix. Ford's marketing department deserves some very big ups.
We hate to sign off without offering at least a sliver of critique, but to do that, we'd really need to draw comparisons. And although handoff programs aren't new, the scope of this one puts it in a new category.
That said, we'd love to see a mobile app -- something we could carry on our smartphones that would have the same functionality of the Fiesta Community app for laptops. And of course, adding a bona fide owner's manual (a la the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee) would be swell. But then, we suppose Ford has to save something for down the road.
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Ford Fiesta 'Unwraps' Itself With Unique New Interactive Owner Delivery Experience
DEARBORN, Mich., June 24 /PRNewswire/ --
- The all-new Ford Fiesta is on its way to dealerships, and owners will receive an experience unlike any other when they take delivery of their new car
- A unique delivery experience for Fiesta owners includes a preloaded combination MP3 player and USB, which provide a one-of-a kind product “unpackaging” experience and an app that lets them stay connected with Ford and the Fiesta community
- Customer delivery is just one aspect of the Ford Retail Movement, a dealer-readiness initiative that focuses on preparing the sales force, attracting the customer and delivering the experience
When 2011 Ford Fiesta owners pick up their new car, they'll enjoy learning about it in a whole new way through the use of an interactive USB. Ford created the new delivery program for the Fiesta to make the initial owner experience as unique as the owners themselves, and is the first automaker to create such a program.
As part of the Ford Retail Movement, a dealer-readiness program, Ford has been working with targeted dealers, focusing on three key areas – preparing the sales force, engaging the customer, and creating a distinct new car delivery experience. The Fiesta delivery is designed to be particularly unique, since the approach is different than anything Ford has ever done before.
"Everything about the launch of the Fiesta has been different and the delivery experience is redefining how customers become acquainted with their new product," said Paul Anderson, Ford small car marketing manager. "The Fiesta movement started the engagement with consumers and the delivery process continues the dialogue. This makes owners a part of something special."
The Fiesta "unpackaging" experience is a new way for Ford and its dealers to interact with customers, and shows that Ford is trending towards a customer experience that does more than deliver a car – it brings the vehicle to life.
The experience kicks off with a short video featuring Fiesta Movement agents that is viewed on a kiosk located on the showroom floor. Following the video, consumers have their picture taken with their new ride, which is then uploaded to the Fiesta Community site.
On their way home, the owner plugs the preloaded USB into the Fiesta that "unwraps" the car and helps owners explore all the cool features in their new car, all in nineteen minutes of infotainment-type audio. Topics ranging from push button start, to the sound-deadening windshield glass are covered.
Once they get home, the USB goes into their home computer and downloads a Fiesta Community app, which is a place they can continue to engage with Ford, their dealer and other Fiesta enthusiasts. Features of the Fiesta Community app include:
- Fiestapedia: Serves as an online wiki, where owners can get tips from other owners and contribute their own ideas, with more than fifteen categories to choose from.
- Photoshop: Users can retrieve their photo taken when they received their car, and Photoshop in a background, with more than fifty to choose from. After the photo is completed, it can easily be shared through social media channels like Facebook.
- Online Community: Connects owners through collaboration with Fiesta Faction, an existing enthusiast club.
- Dealer Store: Ties owners in with their dealer, so they can check out their Facebook page or website, and keep up-to-date with events.
- Podcasts: Offers a dozen podcasts with greater detail about the features on Fiesta, such as safety and SYNC.
- Fiesta News: Provides updated news on the world of Fiesta
- Ford Connections: Makes it easy to connect with Ford, through www.fordvehicles.com, www.syncmyride.com and www.flmowner.com.
"The Fiesta Movement has taught us that consumers want to continue the dialogue with Ford Motor Company and other Fiesta owners," said Anderson. "Fiesta continues to push the boundaries of how we launch products and how we interact with our customers.
"The all-new Fiesta is on sale now and featuring an expressive design, class-leading technologies and best-in-class highway fuel economy of 40 mpg. Fiesta brings efficiency and convenience together in one package.