Companies using social media, be it twitter, Facebook or even blogs and interactive websites to generate buzz and public awareness is not a new phenomenon, as it all these capabilities have been, to some extent, already explored with commercial intent (specially by technological / trendy / young ones).
The real new stuff in this article by Fast Company about Ford’s social media usage (that you can read here) is the great insight it provides into one case of well planned and executed use of these new mediums to get a message across with a high degree of penetration and persuasion.
One particular case of an interesting approach to new forms of communication is the Fiesta Movement: a publicity stunt in which Ford put 100 of their new Fiesta’s in the hands of 100 influential people, with no ties to the company, but chosen instead as representative of the Fiesta’s buyer demographic. The appeal was simple, but so was the risk: they could tell their honest opinion, as they were not just people hired by the company to say the best about their product, but at the same time their words would receive a much greater trust from people than any commercial would.
At the same time the company assumed a communicative and assertive position on the social space, responding to costumers and letting them talk and share their experiences, sometimes even taking their testimonials and turn them into television ads – much truer to life and honest ads than those created by a publicity agency, because these were based on real experiences by real clients.
There’s one key idea that permeates all of Ford’s social media actions: a belief that it is the opinion of the client that matters, and that a client’s opinion is much more important and influencial to other potential clients than any advertisement.