Angie Kozleski is global marketing and digital communications manager at Ford Motor Company. We met at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, when Ford sponsored my trip to Detroit for the event.
I invited Angie to Marketing Smarts to discuss Ford's use of digital channels for marketing and recruiting, as well as the company's commitment to influence marketing and blogger outreach as part of its brand strategy.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
To be effective globally, you have to think locally (03:00): "As a global team, we really work very closely together, and I think the most important thing is...making sure that everyone's talking with the same brand voice, but equally important is making sure that each region has the opportunity and the ability to build in local, regional, and cultural differences. For example, the way we may communicate certain things in the United States differs in terms of how they communicate and what it means culturally in China, for example. So while we really coordinate and work together on a global level, it's also giving some of that responsibility to the regions, which I think is extremely, extremely important.
"A really great example of that was last year, when we launched the new Mustang. Global launch, global reveal, yet each region had the opportunity to do some things differently to make sure that it fit within its own culture and region.... Here in the United States, the Mustang is an icon. It's an icon around the world, but it's really rich in history here in the US. In other regions, they had to do a little bit of additional establishment.... It wasn't something that we said, [such as] 'everyone has to launch the same way.' They each identify events, or venues or sports, like soccer in Europe, that fit within their audience, and tailor their programs to meet the needs of their consumers in those markets."
Recruiting talent involves an array of online and offline tools and tactics (07:20): "It's a competitive world out there, without question, and I think with the use of digital, online tools and social media, potential employees have access to so much information...than they ever did before. For us, it's really...making sure that we are sharing stories about the company, sharing stories about our technologies, about our products. Using our social channels, using LinkedIn—LinkedIn is very important for us as a recruiting tool—so that potential employees can see all of the great things that the company's doing and learn about it. First and foremost, we want them to want to be a part of the business. Then you start to go deeper into recruiting which happens on campus or in different ways, but that first touchpoint now is not picking up a newspaper and reading something about Ford in the newspaper. It's simply, for them, going to Twitter, going to Facebook...Instagram, starting to look at the different stories that we're telling out there and becoming interested in the company."
Reach out to influencers to help tell your brand story (10:14): "Everyone in their own right is an influencer in some shape or form, which I think it's really important that everyone remembers that. There's nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth, the conversation that you're having with friend, family member, neighbor, associate, whoever it may be. You're ultimately influencing their decision in one way or another.
"We recognize that we can't always be telling the story ourselves. We value the different audiences that the influencers reach out to, engage with, cover, or interact with, and not just in the United States, but globally, because we had digital influencers from all over the world with us [at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan]. We want them to be able to tell our stories to their audiences, whether it's through pictures, whether it's through words, whether it's through videos. Because we know that consumers turn to certain people to get their information, they become trusted sources, so it's really important for us that we have that open dialogue with the influencers, and [to] be very transparent in the information that we share with them."
Angie shared many more great insights, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by the MarketingProfs Professional Development Program.
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.