|A Great American Brand Drives Home
By: Andrew Turner
It was a blue day at the Ford Motor Company in 2006 when the company had to put up its headquarters, factories, and other assets up as collateral to qualify for their $23-billion loan. Among those assets was the iconic Ford logo. On Tuesday Ford was blue again, not with despair, but rather basking in the gleam of regaining its former logo.
The whole struggle is a testament to a great American brand. Ford needed to receive an investment-grade rating from two rating agencies to get its assets back and on Tuesday it did just that (Moody’s upgraded them). We mostly talk of brands on an existential level; when brands are in their infancy and adolescence, they do not serve a tangible purpose. A brand’s maturity is established when the company can use their logo as collateral to get a loan. But what makes this a story of a brand’s triumph are the moral implications.
The reclamation of the blue oval was mostly a symbolic gesture that signaled the return of the Ford Motor Company. In a New York Times article, Ford’s Chairman William J. Ford stated, “We weren’t just pledging our assets, we were pledging our heritage.” The most important principle of branding is your employee’s ability to be brand evangelists. By regaining their heritage, Ford is telling all of its employees and loyal brand customers, “We made it.” While Ford never lost the right to use the symbol on its marketing and products, the reality was there that if they failed, the blue oval may be gone forever.
When brands are as big as Ford, logos are more than just words and shapes and colors. They are an extension of the workers, the heritage, the legacy. As someone who has no valuation or interest in the Ford Motor Company, it is still reassuring to a great American brand drive home.
is a marketing professional, copywriter, and graphic designer from Philadlephia. You can contact him here.
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