If you are a friend of mine then you’ve probably received more than your fair share of cool free t-shirts. The latest recipient is my neighbor and good friend Dave. I recently gave him some Ford t-shirts because he has a classic ’56 Ford Pick-up truck.
Dave loves BBQ, canned beer, and Ford. He loves his truck so much he got a tattoo of the hood emblem, and I’m sure he will wear his Ford t-shirt with pride. So how did Ford get fans like Dave? How did they build that type of a culture?
July 23rd marks the date that Ford Motor Company sold its first car in 1903. As a leader in the auto world and a giant in American manufacturing, Ford provides a great example of how to differentiate your brand through innovation, and adapt in order to maintain relevance in an ever-changing marketplace.
To handle large-scale manufacturing, Ford created assembly lines. To attract quality workers, Ford increased wages and decreased hours. To accommodate the modern family after WWII they offered a full range of body styles, including station wagons. To compete with the world, they entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 60’s, and won it four times. To bring style and speed to the general public, Ford made the Mustang.
“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” – Lee Iacocca, developer of the Ford Mustang
And they continue to innovate. Ford is studying and improving “Fuel-Cell” technology, and has demonstrated a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine. Did you know that Ford makes a car that automatically parallel parks? Click here for demo.
What about you? What about your business? Are you willing to do things differently? Are you brave enough to take risks? Can you rebrand your image? Can you build a culture? It’s not easy. So, how do you innovate?
- Take actions that make you uncomfortable
- Get to know your customers and find out what they want
- Forget the term “crazy idea”
- Ask questions – ask tough questions
- Be willing to fail
- Keep trying!