No Engagement without a Relevant Product

Yesterday I talked with a guy from the automobile industry. We agreed about Ford Sync being a great idea and the right step forward for the brand …

Steve Beck (in AdAge) supports the underlying basic idea: "Digital technologies have fundamentally changed the way consumers
interact with each other and, by the way, with brands. The role of
engaging brand stories has not gone away. However, to truly establish
loyalty and advocacy — the holy grail of marketing in the digital age
— our marketing and brand strategies need to go beyond telling great
stories. We have to make marketing focus on how products or services are
actually used, not on how we hope they are used. We have to make them
more useful by wrapping them in applications that increase their
usefulness to the consumer."

… but we also agreed that Sync will not help sales – if Ford does not supply a better product, a better product experience, some real product innovations and not just more power, some gimmicks, and gadgets, some social media stuff. And that is true for all the auto industry.

That is true for every brand and product (as Steve continues in AdAge): "The product or service has always been the most important part of a
marketing effort. No communication strategy can make a long-term success
out of a sub-standard product. Despite that, the product and the
marketing have long been seen as separate things. This doesn't work
anymore because the communications cornucopia makes it increasingly
difficult to get customers' attention. Today the product itself has
become the primary advertising channel — it convinces people based on
its utility to them."