What do Ford and Amazon have in common? – Detroit Free Press
While both are giants in their respective industries, Ford and Amazon are very different on the surface.
One was the bellwether of the industrial era, while the other helped ring in the digital age over 90 years later. The automaker conjures up scenes of three-piece suits, while the tech firm evokes images of jeans and T-shirts. Midwest conservative versus West Coast progressive. Building things compared to selling other peoples’ stuff.
Yet surprisingly, these two are more similar than meets the eye. Both are leading in their field, both are enjoying record growth and profits, and both innovate at a breathtaking pace. They also share some common strategies. While their tactics manifest differently in the marketplace, both subscribe to three similar philosophies that drive meaningful and sustainable success:
1. Always expand role in customers’ lives. Amazon is an e-tailer while Ford makes cars. Yet both companies continue to expand their worldview as it relates to serving customer needs. Amazon, for example, recently launched the Amazon Dash Button, a simple device that connects to your home Wi-Fi, allowing you to re-order common items (detergent, garbage bags, pet food, etc.) with the touch of a stick-on button. In Detroit, Ford is launching MyFordPass — a mobile app platform that helps customers with all things mobility — from finding a parking space to monitoring safety indicators. Both companies continuously rethink the role they play in their customers’ lives, pushing the boundaries and running far outside conventional industry norms.
2. Realization: We’re all in the technology business. Ford doesn’t just make cars. They deliver mobility solutions using the latest technology including ride sharing, autonomous vehicles, and alternative energy propulsion. Amazon doesn’t just sell books. Rather, they enable digital business in numerous ways — from drone deliveries to voice-command intelligent home systems to hosting other tech companies’ software in the cloud. If you really think about it, nearly every business is now in the technology field.
3. Less sizzle, more substance. Amazon doesn’t run flashy ads. Ford is … well … “Built Ford Tough.” Too often, companies polish their veneer in the form of fancy marketing or slogans but fail to consistently deliver the basics. Both Ford and Amazon let their quality and service do the talking, which yields long-term customer delight instead of short-term wins paired with buyer remorse.
In your field, you can apply the same approach to driving growth, profits, and achievement. Borrow these philosophies, and pretty soon your doctor’s office, community bank, bagel shop, software startup, or hair salon will be compared to captains of industry. And you’ll have in common jaw-dropping success.
Josh Linkner is a tech entrepreneur, author and keynote speaker. He writes a weekly column for the Sunday Business section and freep.com. Linkner is the founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners and co-founder of Fuel Leadership. For more info, check out joshlinkner.com or follow him on Twitter @joshlinkner