Ford Brand Chief Musa Tariq: Detroit’s ‘Go Get It’ Culture Is Ripe for Innovation

Building on nearly a decade of experience working for some of the world’s most iconic brands, Musa Tariq, vice president and chief brand officer for Ford Motor Co., offered his insight on what it takes to achieve career success in today’s increasingly connected world.

In a one-on-one interview with Tim Stevens, editor-at-large for CNET and editor-in-chief for Roadshow, Tariq discussed everything from Detroit’s revitalization, to creating a strong personal brand and staying true to individual career aspirations.

“Marketing and automotive are evolving rapidly; it is one of the most exciting times to be in both industries,” Tariq told students and automotive industry leaders attending the 2017 MICHauto Summit.

Tariq, who previously led marketing efforts for Apple, Burberry and Nike, said having an up-close seat during the automotive industry’s transformation from traditional automaker to mobility provider has been both exciting and challenging in communicating Ford’s message to diverse audiences around the world.

“History and heritage are important to people and we want to tell that story the right way,” he said. “Brands need to be clear in what they stand for and believe in. While new companies don’t always articulate the ‘why,’ Ford has a very clear ‘why’ in that it believes freedom of movement drives human connection. Mobility is a fundamental right,” he said.

A transplant from San Francisco, Tariq said he is impressed with Detroit’s innovative spirit and “go get it” attitude, which he said lends itself well to attracting some of the world’s best and brightest talent.

Key Takeaways:

  • Marketing magic happens when there is diversity of thought.
  • Innovation occurs in two spheres: Where there is surplus and where you create out of collective energy.
  • Having a “why” and a purpose is key to personal success.
  • Do something you love in life, and happiness will follow.
  • Everyone has a personal brand and that brand comes across in every decision made.

Musa Tariq

Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, Ford Motor Company

Musa Tariq is vice president and chief brand officer at Ford Motor Co. In this role, Tariq is responsible for further building and differentiating the company’s Ford brand. He works with marketing, communications and company leaders across the world to define, build and communicate the Ford primary brand and what it stands for with all stakeholders.

Prior to joining Ford, Tariq was Apple’s global marketing and communication director for retail. In that role, he focused initially on the company’s strategy for in-store digital experiences, launching several initiatives that enhanced the retail experience in more than 490 stores around the world. Prior to Apple, Tariq was the first senior director of social media and community at Nike, responsible for the company’s social media strategy and the teams managing more than 500 Nike social media accounts globally. He also served as global head of digital marketing and as the first-ever director of social media at Burberry, helping turn the iconic 150-year-old brand into a digital pioneer.

Tariq earned a bachelor’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom.