SAM DE LA GARZA: AN ADVOCATE OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO TELL FIESTA STORY
- Brand Manager Sam De La Garza is responsible for the development and implementation of the Ford Fiesta launch and its marketing
- De La Garza has been a passionate advocate and frequent user of social media platforms, with more than 2,500 tweets and nearly 1,500 followers on Twitter
- De La Garza has been living with Fiesta for three years
De La Garza joined Twitter to keep up with the Fiesta Movement agents. The program that initially put European-spec Fiestas in the hands of 100 of the most socially vibrant people online includes extensive use of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate.
“I try to tweet with every agent and give the inside perspective on how Ford is bringing the Fiesta to the United States,” said De La Garza. “It’s been a great way for me to keep in touch with agents and encourage them to visit Dearborn. For a period this past summer, I had an agent dropping by every single week to check out where it all started.”
The Ray Romano look-alike also uses Twitter for another reason – to tweet each time he gets mistaken for the famous actor and alert his followers there’s been a Ray Romano sighting.
Along with getting involved, De La Garza wanted to make sure the Fiesta launch team had a way of celebrating every success, so he started using a high-five as the rallying cry for Fiesta. In 2008, he even started a weekly meeting, “Bagels and B-Cars,” to keep the team up to date on the latest news about the segment.
“We conclude all meetings about Fiesta with a high-five, no joke,” De La Garza said. “We’re trying to be innovative in everything we do. When Mark Fields agreed to give me a high-five on his weekly employee Webcast, the team was very proud. These types of things have helped keep the momentum going.”
Almost three years ago, De La Garza was appointed product marketing manager for the all-new Ford Fiesta. He has been involved in every research event since 2006. From that time he hasn’t been able to get enough of the car – or of people’s reactions to it.
“I love to see how people first react to the car, to get their first impressions,” he said. “They’re always blown away by how awesome it looks. When they get inside they are just as excited by the overall design of the interior. I always try to get a picture of them with the car to use on Twitter.”
The strategy delivers
In the first installment of the Fiesta Movement, agents drove more than 1.5 million miles, performing athletic, cultural and philanthropic missions while blogging and posting video clips about their experiences. They collectively generated more than 6.2 million YouTube views and more than 750,000 Flickr views.
Fiesta Movement Chapter 2, which kicked off in March 2010, consists of 20 teams of two agents each, and will continue to generate buzz through several social media platforms.
“Fiesta is months away from market introduction and customer availability, but awareness levels rival brands that are already out there,” said De La Garza. “While Fiesta has long enjoyed a global reputation, the nameplate hasn’t been available in North America since 1980.”
De La Garza was born in Raleigh, N.C., and grew up in West Bloomfield, Mich. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, then went on to earn an MBA – with a marketing concentration – from Washington University in St. Louis.
A former officer in the U.S. Army, De La Garza was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas with the 1st Cavalry Division for four years. Prior to joining Ford in 2005, he served for three years in sales positions with an automotive finance company.
De La Garza began with Ford as a product marketing manager with the Export and Growth team, managing Ford Escape and Mustang initiatives for Middle Eastern markets. He quickly transitioned to the Fiesta assignment.
“For me, Ford’s culture has been all about empowerment,” observed De La Garza. “When mid-level managers are charged with making strategic decisions, it fosters an organization that reacts more quickly to competitive and market pressures. This positive culture has enabled us to deliver the Fiesta – a small car without compromise.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Sam has tweeted more than 2,500 times and has nearly 1,500 followers on Twitter
- Sam was born in Raleigh, N.C., and raised in West Bloomfield, Mich.
- He served in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division as a field artillery officer
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 198,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and, until its sale, Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com
April 19, 2010