Warren Buffett bought ten million shares of GM($GM). Interesting. GM and Ford ($F) are very different companies. Neither stock has performed particularly well over the past year. Buffett would never buy Ford simply because there are two classes of stock. The Ford family still has ultimate control over the company. When Buffett augers in, he wants some modicum of control. I can’t say that I blame him.
The corporate cultures of the two companies are very different. One example. GM pulled its ads from Facebook. Ford is doing more with Facebook. Another, GM bailed out by the government, Ford weathered the storm.
The social media strategy of each company is extremely interesting. GM is going to go the traditional route. Ford has embraced the tools of social media to connect with its customers. I think that gives Ford a competitive edge.
Allan Schoenberg gave a great speech at the University of Chicago Booth Marketing roundtable on social media. He spoke about how corporations should be using it to their advantage. If you read the book Groundswell, there are ten case studies in how to use the different platforms to benefit your business. Allen cited Ford as the number one corporation using social media today. They use it to benefit the brand, the company and their customers.
Ford understands the new world, GM doesn’t. But that’s not surprising given the different cultures. My prediction is GM is going to try and dictate where it wants the customer to go, Ford will listen to its customers and build cars to suit their demands.