What’s More Important Than Bold Claims? Oh Yeah, Big Actions.

2015-ford-mustang-front-Alan-MulallyShakespeare, through Richard III, once said: “Talkers are no good doers: be assured
We come to use our hands and not our tongues.” A modern translation runs more along the lines of “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.” My dad used to say: “Talk is cheap, show me…” he was the Rod Tidwell of his generation.

Did you know that Ford Motor Company is now 111 years old? Did you know that they still rank among the top auto manufacturers in the world? Did you know they have more than 3 million followers on Google+ and 2.3 million likes on Facebook? Did you know Ford has more than 180,000 employees worldwide? Did you know they are introducing 16 new or substantially upgraded product lines this year? Did you know Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, is going to retire this year and COO Mark Fields is taking the helm?

The thing about Ford that I find so fascinating is that I can’t remember ever hearing them – in news or advertising or promotions – making big claims about themselves. In fact, referencing the impending changing of the guard at Ford, George Peterson of AutoPacific, a consultancy, recently stated, “Ford has been pretty straightforward about doing what they said they would do.”

The funny thing is, Ford is actually in the position to talk the talk. According to a 2013 McKinsey& Company report, “Mulally is widely seen as the man behind one of the most impressive corporate turnarounds in history. Ford has posted an annual profit every year since 2009, its stock price has rebounded, and a new corporate culture has transformed the way the organization works.”

But somehow, neither he nor the company seem phased by their success. Mulally himself sums it up this way: “A big part of leadership is being authentic to who you are, thinking about what you really believe in and behaving accordingly.”

No hype. No big, misleading claims. No trash talk. Just actions in support of a vision.

And do you know what the Ford vision is (and has been for 111 years)? According to Henry Ford and Alan Mulally, it’s all about “enabling movement and bringing people together.” Not a single word in there about saving the planet or leading a revolution or achieving global peace. Go figure.


Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.