One of the things that upsets me the most in life is when someone makes a mistake then ignores it completely – like nothing’s happened – instead of standing up and take responsibility for his actions. While individuals may – sometimes – get away with it, I don’t think that companies, especially big ones like Ford Motors, should be spared off the hook.
It is as simple as this: You make a mistake, you offend people, you apologize.
After offending the whole ME blogsphere by stating that there isn’t enough bloggers to replicate their successful Ford’s Fiesta’s social media campaign in the US, and after the uproar of angry bloggers for the ignorant comment of Ford’s officials in the region, one would expect a damage-control in the form of a simple APOLOGY.
Instead, Ford ME managed to make things worse. Their PR agency contacted Dima Hamadeh, the writer of the Business 24/7 article in which she mentioned Ford official‘s comment about ME bloggers, and asked her about her source of information. Surprisingly enough – to them of course – the source is Ford themselves! That triggered a very valid question posted by Dima Hamadeh on Fake Plastic Souq blog :
Aren’t clients and their PR agencies supposed to be on the same page?
Not only that, but also Theo Benson, Ford’s ME marketing and product manager, shows up – also on Fake Plastic Souq blog -, corrects some information regarding the online auction (on a special edition of Ford Fiesta car they did at souq.com) and states that they haven’t undertake a full-fledged blogger outreach program. All of that without any explanation of why they haven’t undertake such a program and with complete disregard to the angry bloggers in the region – as if they still don’t exist in Ford’s ME horizon -.
Ford Motors USA, you need to step in! HSBC faced the same ordeal with their students’ interest fiasco. Eventually they had to reverse all of their decisions and apologize for their clients because they couldn’t face the consequences of their mistake which got hyped up by social media. There are already calls for @scottmonty (head of social media at Ford) on twitter to step in and help Ford ME:
I think Seth Godin was the one who said “one of the main differences between traditional marketing and word of mouth/viral marketing is that once you start it, you cannot end it when you wish. You have to wait for it to die out”. When it is bloggers who bad mouth you, you need to step up and try to correct that before serious damage affects the reputation of the company because it isn’t dying out any time soon.
If Ford did not tap the UAE Community Blog, they obviously did nothing. Claiming that there aren’t enough bloggers in the Middle East is almost like claiming that Ford makes good cars. Absurd!
I honestly don’t blame people for such comments. When a company fails to communicate adequate public relations, then it is natural for people to question the company’s efficiency, including their core products.
Ford Motors USA, move your behinds! Maybe it’s time to do some organizational changes at your Middle Eastern offices?
Ford ME, bloggers are demanding an apology, so just give it to them!