Truly great brands look to leaders across industries for inspiration. It does not benefit innovation to look at brands merely in one’s own category– In a cluttered market, you can no longer improve your airline service by looking at what other airlines are doing. How about fitness? I’ve always said the airport experience and loyalty to specific airlines could be vastly improved by offering some light fitness options in terminals for those of us constantly laid-over while traveling for business. Sometimes I run the wrong way on the electronic walkways (don’t try this at home).Â And, when my flight gets cancelled, why does Virgin America possess the only app that will tell me what I might like to do while I’m stuck in LA or Chicago? Currently, all of the other apps from airlines do things that we can easily do without them, like track a flight or find a Starbucks.
Moreover, brands need to strive to build communities and a culture of sharing. These are the brands across industry that are succeeding. These are the brands that are moving future-forward. I’ve never felt lonelier than when I’m in an airport and I only use Twitter to gripe.Â Alas, this is one industry that will probably never look beyond the tip of its own nose.
So, it’s truly great to see a company like Ford continue to innovate (on the ground) by reaching across traditional auto spec standards and taking cues from digital shops. Except, in this case, they’ve taken things a step further.
Ford, backed by Ogilvy Paris, has developed an app that stores your social media passwords for you and automatically signs you into these applications when your smartphone gets close to your Mac computer through Bluetooth.
But more to the point- What does this have to do with cars? Nothing yet, and that’s the point.Â Ford is dabbling in the business of convenience and connecting people, taking a cue from tech brands that have almost fully moved from desktop to mobile.
I’ve no doubt that Ford plans to roll out similar technology and integrate it into the dash of future car models, as social media replaces our standard lines of communication (phone calls, emails). This type of tech can help us track and share our road trips, keep teens in touch with parents, and incentivize pit-stop check-ins with offers from the brands we choose to follow.Â It can make a drive into a pleasant, sharable experience. It can aggregate data from other social users and provide you with a detour to avoid traffic, or suggestions for a great diner, off the beaten path. It can connect travelers with main street and with one another. Who knows the affect on road rage?
As seamless connectivity becomes more and more important in our everyday lives, it’s important to look to the brands leading this charge in other industries, use them to inspire our thinking, and if possible, outdo them. We can no longer afford to be insular or siloed in our thinking if innovation is to take flight.