I really find it fascinating and yet unbelievable when a large brand or company jumps into social media…and seems to kind of “not get it”.

How is this possible?  With millions of marketing dollars dedicated to huge in-house teams, and an additional large chunk of cash tossed at Marketing or PR agencies…shouldn’t somebody be coming up with mindblowing ideas?

Yes social media is a fantastic way for a brand to create a true connection with customers.  And yes, social media is a medium in which you can truly create a personality online.  But not every social media platform is a good idea for your brand.  Not every social media tool makes sense for your product.


Case And Point:

Today Ford announced that they’re producing lines of cars that Tweet.  Of course, this got my attention because I can see there actually being a sensible way to connect a car to your social networks. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that the Ford cars will do that.

According to Ford, they will produce a range of vehicles which can read motorist’s twitter messages to them as they drive down the street.  You can read the full article HERE.

Uhhhh, that’s it?  You’re tying a motor vehicle to my social networks and all it’s going to do is read me Tweets?  Rather than listen to a creepy robot voice, I’ll stick with my Sirius radio and read my own tweets…from my phone.

This is another case of a BIG brand getting into social media only because it’s popular, and not thinking about the value.  Ford will use this to say they’re saving lives from this “innovation” by keeping drivers less distracted.

To me, it’s just a missed opportunity where a tired brand could really make a splash.   This is actually a shame because Ford is doing good things in the social media space.  But I think they missed a real opportunity here.

Why not have a car that adds value to your social networks?

As @calebgardner suggested in an online conversation with me…


Now that would be some features.  Now we’re talking value!

How about these truly social innovations:

  • What if the car had a facebook app that tracked your trips?
  • What if the car could tweet your gas mileage so you can track how you’re doing
  • What if you received a coupon sent to your phone when you needed maintenance
  • What if your car sent a message on Twitter & Facebook when you have car trouble so your friends can help out
  • What if your car tweets you music selections based on your MP3′s you play

Or if you really want to get original:

Why not have your car come with it’s own profile that you customize.  Then your car sends Tweets to you about what radio station you’re listening to, the car facts, etc.  Then you truly give a connection and personality to your car.

There are many reasons for big companies and brands to jump into social media…but just signing up makes them seem uncreative and more like they’re trying to catch up.

If you’re going to play with social media…WOW us with some real value and truly innovative ideas.