Becoming the Most Loved Auto Brand on Social Media

The Challenge

Ford has had to fight hard to maintain a positive brand perception of Australian consumers after local manufacturing was announced to cease in 2016. The brand also endevours to maintain relationships with key market groups, while growing a new, younger target market they’ve dubbed the “New Pioneers”. These challenges paired with a highly competitive market on social media and saturated digital landscape has created a barrier to positive reach and engagement for Ford on Social Media.

The Insight:

Engagement-based content and increased video production has become key to creating conversation on social media. Australian users are also becoming desensitised to advertising content due to a highly saturated social media landscape. It is becoming imperative for brands to expand their story-telling methods to command the attention of consumers and combat algorithm constraints. Furthermore, social media channels have evolved rapidly in 2016, with the launch of live content streaming and VR across major platforms providing new story-telling methods.

The Strategy

  • Innovate our content storytelling: Staying on the pulse of social media trends, leverage new social media features such as live streaming, 360 imagery/video on Facebook, Instagram Stories and new advertising methods. Invest in highly produced video content with paid strategies to target users and on-board new fans.
  • Give the fans what they want:: Improve customer care responses on social media and use social listening tools to influence content production on a weekly basis.
  • Tell our local stories: Leverage employees (and their children) as brand advocates to communicate local investment/R&D stories, humanise the brand and strengthen Ford’s brand persona.
  • Onboard unexpected influencers: Partner with leading influencers across Asia Pacific and roll out an aggressive test drive program with influencers such as How to DAD, Nikki and Jamie, The Axis of Awesome, Nathan McCallum, Glam Adelaide, D’Marge, Isabelle Cornish and Blunty to launch/sustain products, reach new audiences, and shift brand perception.
  • Play where we can win: Leveraging fan-favourite products such as the Ford Ranger, Focus RS and Mustang to produce content that speaks to wider messaging and act as calling cards for other vehicles in their range.

The Result

Ford has been listed as the most loved auto brand on social media in Australia (2016) by NetBase

  • Ford was listed at number 18/50 of all brands, and number 1 in the auto category
  • Close competitor Toyota was listed at 26/50, and number 2 in the auto category
  • Luxury car brands BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari and Porche were all listed lower than Ford, with Holden not making the top 50 list at all

Vehicle sales are on the increase

  • As of November 2016, Ford had experienced 13 consecutive months of sales growth, their best streak since 1991
  • Sales of Ford Mustang and Ford Ranger have maintained number 1 sales positions in their respective categories throughout various months in 2016

Manufacturing closure conversations were neutrally skewed in October

  • 80% of conversations on social media were neutral on the Ford Australia Manufacturing topic
  • Positive conversations outweighed negative
  • Ford Australia content was trending on Facebook and Twitter during the manufacturing transition period