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Nigel Wark: Engage customers as co-creators and marketers

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Nigel Wark: Engage customers as co-creators and marketers

The first speaker in the post-lunch session of the Pitch CMO Summit, Bangalore was Nigel Wark, Executive Director of Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford India. The topic revolved around ‘Exciting Indian consumers and ensuring brand relevance for them’. He began by emphasising that before success, brands should ensure that they’re honest with themselves and that they’re listening to customers.

He cited the instance of how Ford learnt a lot at the global level when itwas not so focused on the outside. “It made us realise that we have got to be in touch with customers and since time between understanding and execution is 3-5 years, we have to execute and deliver products for the future. It came from the humbling nature of being on the brink,” he said.

He spoke about delivering products that the target audience can relate to. This was done by Ford through ‘Sandeep’ for Figo and ‘Ajay’ for Fiesta, a personification of the brands that customers could identify with. “After the activation was carried out across four cities, the 60,000 mark was crossed in October. Recently, we also came out with celebrations when Figo crossed the 1 lakh sales mark across 1,000 towns in 20 states (Tier I, II, and II cities) over 100 days in 1,139 activity locations. During this activity, we have had over 82,000 footfalls and over 17,500 test drives.”

Real people were chosen for the TVCs rolled out as, according to Wark, “they work out as better talent and bring the benefits of the product to life’.

The auto brand took a two-pronged approach – experiential and digital with the Global Fiesta being among the first passenger vehicles in India to be launched through the digital medium. He emphasised on having consumers as co-creators, which is possible through new media. As part of the experiential marketing drive, Ford organised a ‘Swap your Drive’ activity for the Classic, Figo, and Endeavour ranges in Delhi, Mumbai and Ludhiana where four customers’ cars were swapped with one of Ford’s three ranges where their experiences of driving the Ford cars were turned into TVCs. The brand also came out with another activation - ‘Discover Smart Drive’ to engage consumers with Figo by choosing four couples through social media and got them to take a 30-day trip from Chandigarh to Chennai, to chronicle their experience with Figo. Wark signed off by saying, “If you are not engaging your consumers as co-creators and marketers for your brands, your competition will!”

While Jagran was the presenting sponsor of the Pitch CMO Summit 2011, in association with Zee Bangla, the other associate sponsors included Times Television Network and Open magazine.

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