Wed Oct, 2010 by Derek Mehraban
1. Great coaches – Mulally for Ford and Dantonio for Michigan State
Ford: Alan Mulally came on board at Ford in 2006. One of the first things he did was secure financing that allowed Ford to avoid bankruptcy and the government bailouts that GM and Chrysler had to take. Mulally also has helped Ford improve it’s product line, increase profits, and Ford just posted $1.7 Billion in earnings in the 3rd quarter of 2010. That’s called great leadership!
MSU: Mark Dantonio came to Michigan State and took over a team that needed direction and leadership. Coach Dantonio has provided just that. In four years Coach D has built a program that has character, a great work ethic, and does not buckle under pressure like the SOS (Same Old Spartans) of old. Dantonio is a well liked, well respected coach who will lead Michigan State University on to many Big Ten titles and maybe even a National Title.
2. Overcoming Adversity
Ford: When the bottom dropped out on the auto industry a few years ago Ford Motor Company refused to take government bailouts. Ford did what needed to be done, by scaling down the size of the company, and making cuts where needed. Ford put the focus in the product. The results are that Ford is almost fully out of debt. Ford cars and trucks are better than ever. And the future looks bright for the Blue Oval.
MSU: Michigan State Football had an incident (a fight) in the dorms at the end of last season. It led to the suspension of 11 players, and left MSU shorthanded in its bowl game loss to Texas Tech. Michigan State finished last year 6-7 and left many wondering how they would right the ship. Well in 2010 Michigan State Football is off to an 8-0 start, the best in school history. The adversity from last year has brought the team closer together, and MSU is fast becoming a premier Football program in the country. Go State!
3. Running & Passing
MSU: Spartan Football has three running backs (Baker, Bell, and Caper) that have put up incredible stats and helped Michigan State to an 8-0 record so far this year. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is 141 for 212 for 1,948 yards and 14 touchdowns with a QB rating of 161.7. And MSU receivers BJ Cunningham, Mark Dell, Keshawn Martin, Charlie Gantt and Keith Nichol are making great plays on the ball. The balanced passing and running attack is one big reason MSU can’t be stopped.
Ford: Ford vehicles are some of the most dependable and longest running on the road. The Mustang runs the fastest. While the Fusion Hybrid runs the quietest. Ford knows how to make vehicles run, and has been doing just that for the last 100 years. Ford quality and satisfaction ratings have also passed the competition. The Ford balanced running and passing attack keeps competitors guessing and on their heels.
4. Tough as nails
Ford: Built Ford Tough – the Ford brand is known for being rugged, long lasting, and tough enough to handle any workload. Ford trucks are the longest lasting trucks on the road, and truck sales are one reason that Ford is doing so well.
MSU: MSU is tough. After beating a #10th ranked Wisconsin opponent (with an NFL sized defensive line), blowing out Michigan at home, and then winning a tough game on the road at Northwestern, Michigan State has established itself as a tough team that doesn’t quit. Spartans are warriors who can beat any opponent because they are tougher and have a will to win. We are Sparta!
5. Made in Detroit, Michigan
MSU: Michigan State University may be in East Lansing, but MSU represents Detroit like no other. Michigan State recruits heavily in Detroit, and MSU Spartans are everywhere in Detroit, running companies, helping the city improve, and connecting through organizations like Detroit Spartans. When MSU played Florida Atlantic at Ford Field this fall, it was a pure home game as the sea of Green and White filled the stadium. The state of Michigan used to be known as the Wolverine State. But from now on, Michigan will be known as the Spartan State.
Ford: Ford Motor Company is headquartered in Dearborn, but this company embodies the spirit of Detroit like no other company can. Henry Ford created the first car in 1908 and the city was never the same after that. Ford sparked a renaissance in a city known as the Paris of the Midwest. And Ford still drives Detroit, with Ford Field and the Detroit Lions, and all the work, people, charity, and love that Ford Motor Company pours into the city of Detroit.
6. Gutsy play calling
Ford: When Ford Motor Company came out with the Ford Flex they reinvented the concept of the family vehicle. Ford knew it couldn’t compete in the minivan market, so it came out with a low profile SUV that looked different than anything else, and it rode and felt different too. Ford has been making bold moves in new fuel technology and hybrids, and is pushing to be the most green auto company around. This gutsy play calling is a combination of Bill Ford and Alan Mulally. And you know what, the Ford team and consumers are winning as a result.
MSU: When Michigan State beat Notre Dame on the “Little Giants” fake field goal in overtime to keep it’s undefeated season alive, it was a heart stopper. Literally as coach D had to have surgery that night for a mild heart attack. MSU has gone on to call many more gutsy plays this year, including a fake punt against Northwestern. Coach Dantonio and Offensive Coordinator Mark Treadwell have been taking risks to win games, and it’s working. This is how championship teams are built!
7. Underdog status
Ford: For a long time Ford was the smaller auto company to its rival GM. General Motors was the monster company with so many brands and product lines you didn’t know where it started or ended. I remember in the late 90’s when everyone was touting GM as the king, and Ford was the underdog. A lot has changed since then. Ford is now on top, and shaking off its underdog label to be the preeminent leader in automotive styling, engineering, and breakthrough products.
MSU: Michigan State Football is still considered an underdog against Iowa after winning 8 games, and being the 5th ranked team in the BCS standings. How can this be? MSU Football is proving it is no longer the underdog. MSU has beaten Michigan three years in a row, and is now the leading Football program in the state of Michigan. MSU is ranked 5th in the country, and has a great chance to win the rest of its games and play for the national championship. MSU is about to take that underdog status and blow it up for good.
8. Did I mention Character?
Ford: When I think of Ford Motor Company I think of Character. I think of Bill Ford and his leadership. I think of my dad who worked there for 30+ years. I think of my friends who work there now (all great people who have character and believe in their brand.) I think of a company that didn’t take our tax dollars to survive, but instead pulled itself up by its own bootstraps, and is building a new era of automotive excellence. I think of the blue oval, and it says Character.
MSU: The football program at MSU is made up of men of Character. Led by Coach Mark Dantonio – and a team of coaches who demand hard work, honesty, and character from their players. You can see it on the field, and you can hear it in the press conferences. This team has the character and humility to quietly march to a national title. I credit AD Mark Hollis, and MSU President, Lou Anna Simon for bringing together the right mix of leadership and talent, and by leading with their own great character.
9. Social Media Leadership
MSU: Michigan State University and its Football program are leading the way in using Social Media Marketing to connect with fans and build the MSU brand. From the powerful Spartan Sagas campaign, to posting updates and photos on Facebook during football games. Heather Swain and her marketing team along with Scott Westerman, John Hill and the MSU Alumni Foundation are doing an incredible job. Social media marketing is playing a huge role in the rise of the MSU brand. And it’s popular with students too who take the New Media Drivers License Course at MSU.
Ford: Scott Monty has Ford Motor Company social media program rolling, and the results are impressive. From the launch of the Ford Explorer on Facebook, to the climactic build up of the Ford Fiesta arrival. Ford is using social media marketing to win over new fans, educate and entertain others, and show its product in never before seen ways. Ford is the leader in automotive social media marketing and you can see the results in the increased earnings. Now take that to Twitter.
Ford: I always say stick with the winners. And Ford is a winner. If you own Ford stock, it’s on the way up. If you own a Ford car or truck, chances are you love it. I know I love my Lincoln MKT, and I have my eyes on a new 2011 Ford Explorer. Ford is a winner in the hearts and minds of the people who respect them for not taking a government bailout. And they are winners for staying the course, and creating products that consumers can’t get enough of. Winning is part of the Ford culture and its infectious.
MSU: Michigan State University is becoming synonymous with winning. From our Spartan basketball team that keeps going to the Final Four, and looks to win a national championship this year. To our Football team that is 8-0 and poised to play for its own national title. MSU has built a tradition of winning and there is no sign of slowing down. Spartans are winning the hearts and minds of the College Sports world with great characters like Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio. And through great stories and victories, as we continue our blue collar style of play to win games and win hearts in East Lansing.
Go Green. Go White. And Go Ford and MSU Football – you are both winners in my eyes.
Photo Credits MSU Spartans Facebook and CES 2010 EPA photo.