Technology! It's exciting! It's eye opening! It may be hurting your brand! Technology is moving at…modern-day computer speeds; it's getting faster with each passing moment. Yesterday, I wrote upon Apple's newest iPad and analyst forecasts of mobile devices killing the 'PC star.'
In Apple's case, advanced technology is modifying the brand, filling iPad revenue streams and drying paths stemming from PC sales. For the Ford Motor Company, technology may have lost it revenue as well as reversed the brand a few rungs on the ladder of reputation.
Two years ago, Ford began producing vehicles with the MyFord Touch system (developed with Microsoft). Great idea, Ford! Align your brand with a bastion of technology. Was the maneuver beneficial? Not presently. Ford's customer ratings plunged along with brand reputation. It's time to check under the hood, Ford.
Of course, MyFord Touch was an ostensible implementation of progress. A touch screen (where are our traditional buttons going?) replaces traditional knobs and buttons. Wise men say only fools rush in… From a New York Times article:
“I think they were too willing to rush something out because of the flashiness of it rather than the functionality,” said Michael Hiner, a former stock-car racing crew chief in Akron, Ohio, who bought Ford Edge Limited last year largely because he and his wife were intrigued by MyFord Touch.
Ford needed to rev up celebration of its nascent touch technology. A major upgrade attempts to resolve issues related to fickle systems (crashing and rebooting), slow touch screens, and questionably-keen voice recognition systems.
What I personally celebrate about Ford's endeavors to remedy the situation is their direct contact with customers. Upgrades are being sent to customers (the new software is installed via a USB flash drive in about an hour). Are you amongst the 300,000 Ford customers awaiting a flash-drive upgrade in the mail this week?
The horn was initially blown on MyFord Touch last week by Consumer Reports (Ford is now parked at 10th place on the 2012 Automaker Report Card). J.D. Power & Associates drove Ford further from its accolades; the former dropped the latter from 5 to 23 in its most recent quality survey.
Is your brand moving too fast? We hear about the mishaps of the big brands but I'm sure a lot more brands are frustrated regarding the insurgence of technology and the anxiety to produce bigger, better, and faster. Can your brand keep up? If not, when do you say when? When your consumers begin turning on you? Isn't it too late then (especially for a smaller brand)? Ford has a long-standing name and is likely to brook this reputation storm.
Citibank got itself into similar trouble with smartphone applications recently. Similarly, Citi is a big brand, likely to leverage its already standing reputation to move past the mishap. SMB owners, whether related to online platforms or offline technology, are you chasing tech toward a reputational cliff?
Anthony, does this relate to SEO? Yes, I think it does. WebiMax's Todd Bailey recently posted on Search Engine Guide about Google's numerous updates. Our search engine optimization industry warrants daily-to-hourly perusal in order to stay up-to-date with Panda updates (Kevin Gibbons), new SEO approaches, Google privacy changes, ( I could go on but it's likely I'm missing industry news as I type – I gotta go)…
There are a lot of smart minds out there; please contribute. It makes my post better.