Ford and Me

Leave a comment

Sunscreen // #RangerRaptor

The final straight, and we arrived in Essaouira itself to reluctantly hand back the Ranger Raptor and grab some lunch before heading back to the airport.

Despite the sandblasting and the adventures of the previous 24 hours, it was of course in this last hour that we got a bit singed by the sun…

Time, then, to reflect.

The Ranger

I wasn’t sure what to expect before the event. I mean I’m hardly the pick-up demographic.

But what a bloody magnificent vehicle! So effortless we almost had to remind ourselves that there were features to stop, observe and remark on – this workhorse is strong, tough, capable, and will take you everywhere you want to go, and plenty of places you haven’t even thought of yet.

The adaptability, comfort level, and technical specification combine to make something I think will suit almost everyone. You can check out other sources for the specs; all I know is how it made me feel – courageous, brave, and with a smile that lasted all the way back to the terrible Frankfurt airport and beyond. To me, it’s a magical flying carpet!

The Experience

Regular readers will know I like to reflect with a few final thoughts (in no way aligned to Jerry Springer) from me and my colleagues about the experience. Being an employee ambassador is an absolute privilege, we all agree, and not just because we get to experience a particularly spectacular office for the day.

So I asked a few questions, and here are some of the answers, always interesting to me with my employee engagement hat on:

What did you expect before the trip, and did the trip match (or exceed) expectations?

Filip:  I expected a lot of driving and interacting with the new Ranger Raptor in a variety of places (and different terrain) and this is what we’ve eventually experienced. The drive was cool and the scenery definitely exceeded my expectations, as did the car itself as well.

Florian: The experience was way more than I’d expected!

What were your thoughts on the vehicle?

Filip: I liked it a lot. It makes a seriously intimidating impression when you first approach it as it’s huge and looks like a performance vehicle which in fact it is! Then when you actually get inside and know that it’s your friend, not a scary monster that will run over you, it was giving a very pleasant feeling of controlling something very powerful and unusual. People look at it with jealousy from the outside which may be its selling point in many cases. It makes the environment more colorful and interesting, especially in Performance Blue.

The experience of driving the Ranger Raptor off-road was fabulous. I’ve been driving a modified Nissan Patrol Y61 also with AT tires for a few years but the Ranger Raptor is in another league in every aspect. The power and torque are totally enough there and the way the car handles any type of terrain is truly impressive and makes me proud that it’s one of our products now.

What surprised you about the experience?

Filip: How perfectly everything was planned and executed. The huge number of people involved was a surprise to me and it gave a very professional impression. I also noticed the Rolls-Royce level of attention to detail, like aligning the cars perfectly in the morning of the second day. I was truly amazed and it was making me glad that I’m a part of it.

Florian: How the people interacted with each other… it was like a school-trip!
Everyone was so nice and friendly, whether Ford Team or media.

What was the most valuable/interesting thing about the trip?

Florian: Seeing the passion and dedication how our brand & product was presented to the journalists by the Ford Press Team. I am very proud to be selected as a Brand Ambassador.

Filip: To me personally, interacting with other members of the team like you, Florian, Elisabeth and (wow!) Steven Armstrong was truly motivating. Actually, the fact that Steven spent some time with us in the evening on Thursday and then we had these photos with him taken – that blew my mind and filled me with motivation. It really was motivating because it made me feel that the company cares about what we do.

I also got a kick out of the responsibility to deliver the results now in a form of my videos for YouTube. That’s also motivating to me! Especially that they may be seen by thousands of people.

What was the most challenging/difficult thing on the trip?

Florian: It was quite tough to not forget each and every task I’ve planned like filming and taking pictures as the location and driving the Ranger Raptor was kind of mindblowing.

Thanks both! I really enjoyed our ‘school trip’ too!

The journalists we were with were clearly delighted with the Raptor and the event, and I am so pleased to be able to share my experiences with my colleagues in the UK, to share my excitement about the vehicle and my pride in representing the Company.

Just to add – there was also another group attending the Spanish media drive and you can check out their reflections via their Instagram: David and Juan.

A note on Essaouira: I didn’t see much of the region (work, not holiday, remember) but I will find a way to get back! Everyone we met was incredibly welcoming (except for the donkeys, but I can forgive them not moving out of the way), and hearing the call to prayer across Essaouira during Ramadan felt very special.

And I think I’ll probably still have sand in my ears for some time yet anyway…

If you’ve enjoyed this blog series, do feel free to comment and share (who knows, you might get me another go at this some time!). But even if you haven’t, I enjoyed it, and I’ll leave you with pictures of the team, and the last of my photo memories from this very special trip.

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

Leave a comment

Tea again // #RangerRaptor

Time for another tea break?

Unfortunately I took very few pictures during the final off road stages – when you are on sand you push your speed, and despite the fantastic ‘Watts link’ cool spring rear suspension and terrain management system things get a bit… bouncy!

Anyway, sometimes it’s just better to enjoy the ride, which is so much FUN.

Why not pause here and check out the video footage from Florian and Filip?

I’ll see you when you get back…

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

Leave a comment

Sunset // #RangerRaptor


A quick change, and time for the technical presentation hosted by our Chairman, Steven Armstrong.

Then dinner, and catching up with Elisabeth and Florian, from the other employee pair.

We were all exhausted, sand-blasted (I swear sand poured out of my ear like a cartoon), and smiling from cheek to cheek – reflecting on our good fortune to be here at all but also on the experience of being in such an effortlessly capable vehicle in such exciting surroundings.

You know, we are still only on day one… stay tuned!

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

Leave a comment

Tea Break // #RangerRaptor

Go on, do as we did after our first bout of dune driving (no pics of during, it was all too exciting and fast for stills, but the Ranger handles it with no more effort than a trip to the shops) – take five minutes and catch up with the other posts on this blog, or maybe check out my colleagues’ YouTube channels…



Drink it in…

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…

Leave a comment

Begin at the Beginning // #RangerRaptor

That’s the best place to start…

I write this from the comfort of my sofa, home after a whirlwind trip that feels like a dream already.

The pace of my latest trip, as part of the Employee Social Media Ambassador team taking part in the Ranger Raptor Media in Essaouira, Morocco, meant that I had very little time to reflect and post on the go. Well, the pace and the mobile data charges…

So it seems a bit strange to think it was only on Wednesday that I flew out to Frankfurt, ahead of joining my colleagues on our flight out the next day.

Here we are (smiling because the drone alert that closed Frankfurt airport had finally cleared!):

(L-R Florian, me and Filip)

So what’s the deal with employee ambassadors?

As in my other adventures on this blog, we are part of a small cohort of employees across Europe who on occasion are lucky enough to spend some time connecting with our business and peeking behind the curtain in ways in which we might normally only dream of!

Then our job is to take all we’ve learned, and share it – engagement and enthusiasm are contagious, and it’s our job to try and capture a little virality!

We all have our favourite channels – you’ll see I’ve linked the guys’ YouTube channels above. Me? I’m old school and I blog, I’m on IG and Twitter.

This is probably a good point to remind you if you’re new to the blog and haven’t yet caught up on my adventures in Valladolid and Amsterdam that all opinions expressed here are my own, and also because I’m not a traditional petrolhead things can get a little tangential here…

Across the employee ambassador cohort, not everybody gets to do everything – so imagine how lucky we three felt to be invited to travel to Morocco to spend some time with the new Ranger Raptor, coming to Europe this month?

Exactly. THIS excited…

So let’s really begin, shall we..?

I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor


And Finally // Engage

I couldn’t let you go without considering the whole trip I’ve just been on with my HR goggles on.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first time that my employer has offered employee places on a product launch event (other than the teams of employees who make them happen of course!).


This year three teams of six people from the UK, Germany and Spain were selected to have exactly the adventure I’ve just been on – or not exactly the same because I came away feeling that everyone had got something different out of the experience, in part dependent on what they brought to it.

You already know I’m no petrolhead. I’m about the experience, and the feelings. So for me this was about engaging with our product a little more and understanding more about what our Company does.

I’m already proud of what we do; and in comparison to my experiences working with other companies I’ve worked in, the tangibility of what we strive to produce is intoxicating – seeing something you’ve had a part in, however small, on every road in the country feels GOOD.


The simplified definition of engagement I prefer is an environment where you are fully involved and interested in your work, and inspired to do your best.

Every box there was ticked – for me I felt like part of a team, like my participation was valued, and I was inspired to think differently and more positively about what we do and how we do it. I was proud of my Company. It was also a lot of fun, and fun is something I’m always interested in!

For the employer I would expect to see behaviours empowering (trusting), setting expectations regarding principles and values, and focusing on satisfaction of both internal and external customers.

Talking to my colleagues we certainly all felt an expectation to work hard in recognition of the trust placed in us. This was a luxurious ‘office’, don’t get me wrong, but even though it was never articulated, we all naturally assumed a position of wanting to be worthy of the experience, to justify the Company’s trust and investment in us, and hopefully pave the way with great feedback for future events for other employees (and maybe us again!).

Although it would be hard to scale this, with 13,000 employees in the UK alone, I feel this experience worked really well as an illustration of employee engagement. Not one colleague I talked to came away without an improved view and enthusiasm for the Company. That’s got to be a good return!

There were a few elements we felt would improve the experience further – we spent a lot of the time in our own employee huddle and internal networking was great, and new friendships formed. However, while we would not want to get in the way of the ‘real work’ being undertaken by the journalists attending the event, when we did get to spend time with them over lunch on the second day it was incredibly interesting to hear about that side of things, so if I could tweak one thing I would find a way to integrate the employees with the journalists a little more. Certainly they mentioned to us that no other manufacturer had invited employees to attend in this way before…

Anyway I’ll leave the discussion for now, and reward you for all your attention with a few more of my favourite photographs…


All photos since we hit Spain (apart from the ones with me in them!) are by me, and copyright retained by me. The on-the-go posts were brought to you by the magic that is a Flashair SD card, which enabled me to use my DSLR as much as possible, and wirelessly transfer the files to my smartphone for blogging. Recommended, even if you’re not blogging about Fiestas!

Thank you to everyone who has followed my All New Fiesta Adventure, on here and on Social Media. Hopefully I’ve given a new perspective on these beautiful new cars, although I accept I also have friends and followers who will be glad when I’m just posting about my kids again…

I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #newfiesta #FordFiesta