By on January 25, 2017

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Ford Motor Co. has hired former Apple marketing guru Musa Tariq as part of its expanding need to make the case that it is a mobility company not simply an automaker. Taking the newly created position of vice president and chief brand officer, Tariq will help construct and differentiate the brand identify Ford is hoping to carefully curate for itself.

Cars were for your grandfather’s generation. We now have mobility solutions

“As we grow our business, we’re also expanding our focus on and investment in building and differentiating our iconic Ford brand, which is known, loved and trusted around the world,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO, in a statement.

“Our opportunity is to connect with even more consumers and stakeholders — some who never have done business with Ford before — through compelling and culturally relevant marketing and communications. Musa has led transformational work at some of the world’s most admired brands, and he is a leader known for challenging convention. We’re excited for him to bring his expertise, knowledge and passion to Ford.”

Most automotive companies have tossed around a roughly defined concept of mobility over the last few years. However, Ford took things a step further by developing a “Smart Mobility” arm to accelerate development on its connectivity, autonomous tech, extra vehicular devices, and car-sharing programs.

“Ford Smart Mobility and expanding into mobility services are significant growth opportunities,” said Fields

Expect to hear a lot more about mobility in slick and fastidiously drafted ways with the help from The Blue Oval’s fresh brand officer.

Before joining Ford, Tariq was Apple’s global marketing and communication director and the senior director of social media and community for Nike. He’ll report to Stephen Odell, Ford executive vice president, global marketing sales and service, and Ray Day, Ford group vice president, communications, starting on January 30th.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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37 Comments on “If You Miss the Old Ford, You’ll Really Hate Its Latest Hire...”

  • avatar

    Any bets on how long before the usual catch phrases are uttered on this thread? My money’s on 4.5 minutes.

  • avatar

    Good to see an OEM looking to get out in front of coming changes to the automotive industry rather than continuing to make buggy whips and sliding into irrelevance.

    People are going to complain about it, but people also complained about EFI and disc brakes.

    The Luddites were eventually left behind, and the technologies they opposed are ubiquitous. The same thing will happen here.

  • avatar

    Personally, I believe that anyone who describes himself as a “brand officer” and/or talks about “curating a brand”…

    Ought to be branded.

    With hot iron.

    Just design and build good cars that people want to buy. Please, please, please, shut up with all the additional MBA BS.

  • avatar

    Anyone who led both Apple & Nike’s marketing is obviously good at what they do.


  • avatar

    Smart thinking on Fords part.

    Here’s the reality on the ground ; between student loan debt,higher costs of living, and stagnant wage growth younger generations are predicted to have a lower standard of living then their parents .

    Which means being able to buy and trade in new cars regularly is not a practical financial reality for most of my generation and younger. Buying a brand new car when you’re saving for a house and paying off six figures of combined household student loan debt ain’t gonna happen, especially if you’ve got a kid or two.

    So the business model HAS to change. No more making millions of cars each year with the goal of buyers keeping and trading them every five years. More hybrids,more car sharing, and definitely more alternative ownership systems and lease options.

    Evolution-its what’s for dinner.

  • avatar

    The problem here is, car buyers are not Apple customers.

    In fact Apple fanboiZ tend not to own cars; and frequently don’t get driver’s licenses until their twenties. They have no interest in mobility – only in surfing. As in, the Web.

    Trying to use computer marketing to sell automobiles, is as foolhardy as trying to use auto-sales techniques to move computers. NOT. WORKING.

    • 0 avatar

      False, I’m an apple fanboy (in that I would never buy a non-apple computer, phone, or music player, not that I line up to buy the latest device or am even up to date whatsoever, I’m usually 2 iPhones behind the current one, and my iMac is from 2008), and also an enthusiast, and everyone I know who has apple-everything also loves cars.

      “Mobility” is the future. As much as you and I hate it. Just don’t live in a city and we should be able to avoid it for most of our lifetimes.

    • 0 avatar

      There are something like 100 million iPhones in use in America right now.

      “Apple customers” are literally everybody.

      Your statement is like saying that “bread eaters” are not car buyers.

      • 0 avatar

        Even buyers that overlap, that is, purchase both…do so for different reasons and with different parameters.

        And Apple is not, anymore, truly a “tech company.” It is a BRAND…a status identifier.

        Different products are purchased for different reasons, different expectations, different types of performance, mixed – or not – with social signalling.

        A car can be a trendy (very-expensive) social badge, but not a Ford. A Ford is plebeian. A Ford is the equivalent of Walmart Equate-brand jeans.

        An iPhone IS a badge. It’s also a toy. What it is not, is a durable good purchased for utility purposes.

        Ford should know this mistake, since their ex-CEO, Allan Mulally, made the same mistake, coming from Boeing. He compared the incredible complexity of Boeing jets to the relative-simplicity of Ford cars. What he missed was that passenger airliners are INDUSTRIAL goods, purchased by air-transport companies, and what they look for is safety, durability, support, and pleased passengers. What Ford buyers looked for, varied widely…everything from low price, to long life, to status-signalling, to motorsport thrills. No one car or even one brand can provide this.

        Apparently what Mark Fields is now up to, is to make the One Ford a high-status product. It ain’t gonna work.

    • 0 avatar

      Half! Everyone always forgets she said half the base is deplorable, and the other half is worth hearing out.

    • 0 avatar

      @JustPassinThru might have a point.

      Tech companies that copied the Apple Store usually benefitted — Microsoft, Tesla, Samsung. But JC Penny copied and failed — different market and a different demographic. Ford could pull it off if they find the right balance.

      • 0 avatar

        Car companies are tech companies. My car is a tech device. It’s a computer with seats that uses an electric motor to move around. Sort of a giant phone with a bigger lithium battery, seats, drive motor, and wheels.

  • avatar

    While it might be a bit pre-mature to hire a marketing person to push all this, I think the overall direction to become a “mobility” company makes total sense.

    Like it or not, self-driving cars (and related solutions) are the wave of the future. (Even if that future is going to take a few years.) While enthusiasts may continue to want to buy cars, most people just want to get from point A to point B at a whim, and if they can do that without buying an expensive something that sits idle 90%+ of the time? I think that’s a really compelling idea.

    Uber, et al, is a really neat idea, but they are limited by the fact that there is a certain upper limit to the number of people that can afford a relatively-decent car, but are also willing to work for ever-decreasing amounts of money driving it. (Uber’s really good for Uber, but once you take operating and capital costs into account, along with all the expenses that come from being an “independent contractor”, it makes for a really lousy paycheck.)

  • avatar

    I see referring to cars as “mobility solutions” like referring to garbage men as “sanitation engineers”. Stupid.

    • 0 avatar

      What’s stupid is failing to recognize that modern society is rapidly approaching a paradigm shift concerning personal transportation requirements.

      Debate the propriety of descriptive terms if you must, but Ford on the correct path.

    • 0 avatar

      Is a car not a potential solution for the problem of mobility? Are not garbage men tasked with engineering (that is, working out) solutions for sanitation?

    • 0 avatar

      They’re not talking about just cars. That’s the point.

      “Mobility solutions” is another way to say “transport people and things from here to there” which encompasses a lot more than just traditional car ownership.

  • avatar

    Mobility solutions? Hell I’m still trying to wrap my head around “alternative facts”. Sheeesh

  • avatar

    “Tariq was Apple’s global marketing and communication director and the senior director of social media and community for Nike”

    F*ck, I’m jealous. London School of Economics, too. I’m thinking he’s not as vacuous as Melody. Maybe there’s something demonstrably useful about this branding sh1t.

  • avatar

    Forget the old Ford, I want the old Apple back. The one with Computer in its name that made computers as its main product.

    • 0 avatar

      I feel for you.

      The trend is the opposite. Apple is selling a BRAND. Cadillac is selling a BRAND, with a car inconveniently attached.

      Ford wants some of this New Age action, too…I can’t imagine why, because fads go as fast as they come. Ford survived while Packard and Franklin and Cord, are all gone.

      This misstep may have Ford gone, too.

      • 0 avatar

        Cadillac is selling a brand? Which one?

        • 0 avatar

          You must have missed the Press Information Seminar…it coincided with Cadillac opening its Manhattan headquarters. Cadillac was no longer going to be the Standard of Automobile Excellence.

          It was going to be **A BRAND.**

          This, announced by all these girly-girl Brand Managers and Social Media Specialists.

    • 0 avatar

      Apple has one megaproduct and a few other side businesses.

      The one megaproduct is a computer. Just a small one with a simplified interface and limited access to the hardware.

      An iPhone 7 has more processing and graphics power than my 2009 13″ MacBook Pro.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s really sad.

        The 12 inch MacBook is a toy.

        The new MacBook Pro is a gimmicky joke.

        The iMac, MacBook Air, Mini, and Pro really need updates.

        But nope, let’s focus on our “innovative” (TAKING AWAY A FEATURE ISN’T INNOVATION!) phone instead!

        • 0 avatar

          The 12″ MacBook has more than enough horsepower to do everything I ever do with a laptop. I think the size and weight are excellent, especially with the high-res screen, and don’t see why people think it’s a toy. It is expensive, but such is Apple.

          The desktops do desperately need attention.

          The MacBook Air is just serving out the string until Apple can make the MacBook and/or new 13″ MBP cheaply enough to hit the Air’s price point. It won’t see another update.

  • avatar

    A masterstroke, and this is coming from an Android user. Apple’s marketing is second to none.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    There’s nothing like a corporate logo from 1924 to demonstrate that you’re on the cutting edge of technology.

  • avatar

    Fcuk that noise and give me my manuals.

  • avatar

    W. E. Demming would be proud, and Ford is spot on correct. Those businesses who are unable to figure out what business they are really in will die off soon. Reading some of the Luddite comments here are a real hoot!

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