“Blue, blue, my love is blue.” Love Is Blue, recorded by Paul Mauriat
When you’re one of the Big Three auto makers, and looking to avert financial Armageddon, who you gonna call? When Ford faced that decision, it called on its most valuable asset–its trademark. A few years back, Ford pledged everything it owned, including its Blue Oval Logo, as collateral for a multi-billion dollar loan that kept the company out of bankruptcy. And that was no easy thing to put at risk. As reported in Business Week, when Bill Ford, great-grandson of Henry, signed the loan papers that pledged the Blue Logo, he felt like he was signing away the Company’s heritage. And to a large extent, he was. Trademarks, especially ones like Ford’s Blue Oval, do more than simply distinguish one brand from another. They embody a company’s history, its reputation, its bond with consumers, and all the other intangible but vital values that go into the crucible for forging goodwill. Factories can be rebuilt, new tools can be bought, new cars can be designed. But a famous brand can never be duplicated or replaced–it is priceless. Imagine McDonald’s without the Golden Arches.
Since Ford took the fateful and potentially fatal step of putting its logo in hock, the automotive gods have smiled on the American legend founded by Henry Ford in the early days of the 20th Century. It’s fortunes have soared, so much so that this past week, two ratings firms upgraded its bonds to investment grade. And with that favorable turn of events, Ford was able to reclaim the Blue Logo it put up for collateral.
So now, Bill Ford is breathing sighs of relief. And great granddad can return to resting in peace.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford