As many of you know, Ford is one of my clients. You may wonder what I do all day. And now you have your answer. I hang out outside Ford World Headquarters and pose on Ford vehicles. That's right, I'm a car model.
Tawny Kitaen would be jealous if my usually absurdly skinny calf didn't look like Tom Brady's for some odd reason in this photo. (Or not. But props to the Plaid Nation crew for snapping this beaut during their visit to Dearborn to pick up their sweet wrapped Ford Flex for their Plaid Nation 2009 Roadtrip.)
In all seriousness, one of the big social media programs I've been working on for Ford is an event that happened today in Chicago - the What Women Want Quality & Tech Event with BlogHer.com. We worked with BlogHer to bring 60 of their awesomest* bloggers to Chicago a day ahead of the big BlogHer Conference for an all day event at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant.
The day was jam packed - and the women got to rotate between a number of different hands on modules around Safety, Sustainability, Technology, and Manufacturing. Even though I helped organize the social media side of things and knew what was coming I was still impressed, as I was still seeing it all for the first time. Some highlights included:
- One on One Access to Ford Insiders: Various modules were lead by the actual movers and shakers at Ford - from Amy Marentic (North American Car and Crossover Planning Manager), to Sheryl Connely (Global Trends & Futuring Manager), to Carrie Majeski (Sustainability, and 25 year veteran of Ford - at right.) It was truly amazing to hear these kick ass women speak about their passion and transfer their excitement to others.
- Technology Demos: There were hands on demos set up for all Ford's latest and greatest smart technology - including MyKey, Active Park Assist, and Cross Traffic Alert. Check out this video below for a demo by one of Ford's steering engineers, along with blogger reactions.
- Tour of Chicgao Assembly Plant: After receiving eye protection, yellow safety vests, and a small head set so we could hear our tour guide we were walked around the 2 million + square foot Chicago Assembly Plant where Ford manufactures Lincoln MKS and the new 2010 Ford Taurus. If you ever have a chance to do something like this, jump. It was really amazing to see how a car is put together - a total marriage of technology, machines, and humans. Also, very impressed with the extent to which Ford goes to maintain quality. If there is even the smallest quality issue on the line they shut it down until it's resolved so that no other vehicles are impacted. Additionally, if you call your dealer with a complaint it takes less than 24 hours for that to travel back to the plant where your vehicle was manufactured. I'll spare you the hideous picture of me in the plant tour get up, and instead give you this rad picture of cars in the air...
- Test Drives: Getting the chance to test driving 2010 vehicles that haven't hit the road yet was also a big hit. Check out this great video of the BlogHer ladies test drive reactions:
- What Women Want Brainstorm: The day ended with break out brainstorms so that Ford could listen to what the bloggers learned from their readers and their day, and take the insights back with them to Dearborn. Be on the look out for our What Women Want Vehicle Check List - which will summarize a lot of this great conversation.
- #fordblogher: And finally, what would a blogger event be without a sweet hash tag and a constant stream of Twittering? As always seeing reactions, suggestions and questions in real time helped make the experience all the more interactive.
*I am aware this is not a word.