The article by Adam Grossman about Ford’s predicament (MW last week) was another example of a feature long on quotes and short on perceptive analysis and intelligent conclusions.
We all know Ford has a problem with its brand. To suggest that the company should “rediscover the art of innovation, both in terms of product and marketing” is naive and simplistic. Indeed, product innovation has led Ford into problems several times, notably with the Sierra in the Eighties. Meanwhile, Ford’s marketing seems to have sacrificed long-term brand value to short-term efficacy.
Ford needs to formulate a credible positioning and, over the long term, implement it through products, promotion and behaviour. The interesting discussion is around what that positioning should be, and other car manufacturers will also be looking for that elusive sweet spot. Vauxhall-Opel, Fiat, Renault, Peugeot et al must all face the plain truth that most people would prefer to drive a Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audi. There’s the problem: it’s a big one and it’s a branding issue. The badly needed innovation must be in the thinking.
Henrion Ludlow Schmidt