Posts Tagged ‘Chrysler’

I LOVE FORD

November 18, 2009

Ok so although they’re not currently giving the attention my food and music fest deserves (Even though it was literally made for them), I’m really falling in love with Ford these days.  Through innovation, design, and in most cases, good marketing communications, the company has not only avoided the pitfalls of their two Detroit cousins GM and Chrysler, they just announced a third-quarter profit of nearly $1 billion ($997 million according to their press release).  So here are a few of the important lessons I’ve pulled out of Ford’s transformation.

1) Design and Innovation are key – Have you seen the new Ford Edge or Flex?  How about the Taurus?  The new Taurus is so well designed, so beautiful; you will be asking to drive one the next time you have a chance to rent it instead of asking for a Toyota.  And watch out for the new Fusion Hybrid, as it will be taking market share away from Toyota and Honda as consumers run out of reasons not to buy American. 

2) Separate yourself from the pack – With the exception of the “Cash for Clunkers” program, Ford steered away from advertising that speaks to the recessionary times as many of their competitors including Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year, Hyundai have.  They also didn’t take government bailout money which gave consumers confidence.

3) Have a good spokesperson – If you are going the way of celebrity endorser, pick one that fits your brand.  Mike Rowe fits Ford like a glove…even better than O.J.’s.  Mike is the perfect American “everyman”.  His shows such as “Dirty Jobs” have a need for vehicles like Ford Trucks.  Rowe started out just hawking for that division, but as may have seen from the new ads, he can sell anything with the Ford badge on it.

4) Expand your market – Look around your town and I bet you will notice more Ford’s than you have in the past.  It seems that those who might have purchased a more expensive “prestige” vehicle a few years ago are very happy with Ford’s new products, price points, and value.  Remember that value isn’t just about price.  Ford is delivering a better product at a competitive price point compared with others in the category. 

5) Legacy is important in down times – Consumers are looking to purchase from companies they believe they can trust.  If you have been around for 100-years (unless you are GM), one gets the feeling there is a reason for it.  Their years in business give you a comfort level.  Ford Motor Company has been known since its inception as an innovative, forward thinking company.  Henry Ford made cars affordable for every American, transformed modern-day production with the Model-T assembly line, and through the wood scraps from that factory, founded Kingsford Charcoal.  Where cam we find that kind of innovation in our business?  We have still yet to roll-out paperless ticketing!

6) Market the experience – You might be sick of hearing me say this, but our marketing sucks!  Check-out the new Axe body spray commercials.  You get what the product does for you…NOT how it smells, how much it costs, where it is available…nothing like that. Consumers purchase based on an emotional response.  How are they going to get emotional about hearing an artist’s new single they don’t know, followed by a bunch of quick information about sponsors, pre-sales, sales, locations, who is promoting the show…and of course the famous “call to action”.  It is a new world…for over 20-years now.  It is time we catch-up. 

Full disclosure, I haven’t owned a Ford vehicle for many years. It doesn’t stop me from sitting up to take notice at the great changes they have made…and how easy it would be for those of us in Live and Branded Live Entertainment to follow their lead.  

How about we each come up with 3-new innovations in 2010?

Speak with you soon…

Jim

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OPEN LETTER TO DETROIT

February 17, 2009

The top news story around the U.S. today was General Motors and Chrysler’s presentation of their turnaround plan, and the need for an additional $21.6 billion in federal loans.  Of course everyone knew the car companies were coming back to Capital Hill with their hand out.  The question is, are they really making the changes needed to be competitive? 

Based on the advertising the big three American auto companies have been running, change isn’t coming fast enough…even from Ford who hasn’t taken money yet.  Why would car companies talk about vehicles being sale priced but  then “exclude all hybrid models”?  These are the same vehicles they are supposed to be promoting!  Isn’t the idea to sell as many cars as possible?  Wouldn’t sale pricing the Ford Escape Hybrid make sense even if that model is selling well?  If you are Ford, don’t you want as many on the street as possible?

So here is the deal…The Agency Group Events & Entertainment (http://www.theagencygroupevents.com)  is producing “The Great American Food Festival” (working title) which brings together the best in classic American food and entertainment.   Hosted by Bobby Flay, guests will sample the best hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, barbecue, and ice cream in America, while being entertained by celebrity chefs and great musicians.  The event will feature the best food and music in America, all together in one place for the first time ever.  Our inaugural event takes place on Saturday, June 13th at the Shoreline Amphitheatre outside San Francisco.  We are offering “Presenting Sponsorship” to Detroit at NO CHARGE!  That’s right, American Auto can sponsor the event by just “promoting it as a place for consumers to see first-hand the changes they are making.” 

Once we knock June 13th out of the park, count on a full-blown tour in 2010.  Detroit, it is yours strictly on barter…NO SPONSORSHIP FEE!

For more information, please call me at (310) 385-2800.

Thanks and talk with you soon…

Jim

Drop Your Price Already…

November 8, 2008

Well I must start with another disclaimer.  You see my brother writes a blog very similar to the LiveWorks Newsletter and today, he talked about what’s covered below…and we post on the same site.  So here is a link to Joe’s stuff so you know there is no plagiarism on either of our parts. http://joelewi.wordpress.com/

For weeks we have been talking about embracing the recession and finding ways to use our Live Entertainment to pull consumers out of their funk.  We’ve covered customer service, partnerships versus sponsorships, using examples from political marketing to move an audience, and all the positive psychological and financial attributes of selling-out shows.  What our business needs to fix immediately is ticket prices.

Burlington, VT concert promoter Alex Crothers pointed to gas prices as having a much more noticeable effect on ticket sales than the stock market or bad news about the economy.  There has been story after story reported in the media about retailers perceived as bargain or discount merchants sales going up, while those catering to design and style sales are declining.  Case in point, Wal-Mart and Target.  Target is down, Wal-Mart is up.

Of course there is always the consumer that had the perception that if things cost a lot, they have to be worth it.  There is case after case study of events attendance actually going down as ticket prices fell year-to-year and the opposite happening if ticket prices rose.  That was not in a 2008 economy.  Now even luxury brands normally immune to market fluctuations are feeling the hurt.  In Forbes annual “Richest People in America” issue, even the boys from Google took it hard seeing  their “stock down 40%  since all-time heights last November.”  Why are we in the live business ignoring this trend?

It is time for all of us in live entertainment to knock-off the “pomp and circumstance” around what we do and see it as any other business would.  Yes our talents need to eat.  So do managers, agents, promoters, techs, stagehands, venue people, and everyone else associated.  But everyone needs to eat a little less to get a lot more.  The live and music businesses are special.  But I’m sick of hearing that what we sell is so different from what everyone else sells.  Selling is about emotional connections.  So the fact is, we have a leg-up on all the other entertainment distractions out there.

In the November 3rd Issue of Advertising Age there is a story about ranking brands based on “best bang for buck”.  Interesting stuff.  Consumers were asked to rate best ans worst by category based on “providing the best value for the dollar”.  For Domestic Airline, Southwest was best, United worst.  Carbonated beverages, Coke best, Red Bull worst.  Credit Cards, Visa good, Discover bad.  And no surprise here, in Financial services, Fidelity was ranked best while Goldman Sachs got a negative rating.  Another great group of stats from the article where the “Bottom 10 Brands”…brands with the lowest scores.  10) Starbucks, 9) BET, 8) Neiman Marcus, 7) 7-Eleven, 6) Perrier, 5) Abercrombie & Fitch, 4) AIG, 3) Red Bull, 2) Hummer, and # 1) MTV!!!! No live brands in the study.  Btw, Craftsman was the #1 brand for value.

Why is this all important to you?  Because if you are Live Nation, AEG, MSG, Feld, Momentum, GMR, or Chrysler, you are creating live brands of some kind.  Building value into everything you do defines your brand.  Ticketmater Entertainment will have a hard time getting over its old “TICKETMASTER” reputation.  Hiding the fees is not going to change anything.  The artists and shows will always have their names.  What we need to do is drop our prices and explain to consumers what they are getting for their money.

We do a bad job of marketing the experience of live.  Let’s take a look at that.  Volume will do more for our business than raising prices.  Lower your prices $2 on everything (tickets, merch, food, beverages, parking, venue charges need to go away all together, etc) and tell the consumer all the amazing things they will see, hear, feel, and do at your event, show, or attraction.

So drop your prices and watch as the money comes in.

Talk to you soon…

Jim