Frances B. Emerson

Vice President, Corporate Communications and Global Brand Management,
John Deere


"Our biggest challenge is continuing to expand people’s understanding of the company as more than an equipment provider, but also as a solutions provider. We want to help customers realize we can be an important partner in their business success, anywhere in the world."


Historically, John Deere customers have recognized the value that the brand delivers and are willing to pay a premium. As you compete in emerging markets with competitors who emphasize price, how does John Deere continue to hold on to—and strengthen—this competitive advantage?

We strive to build a dealer network that provides the best support and service. We stress productivity improvements made possible by our equipment. Our quality and reliability help us achieve a competitive advantage with overall cost-of-ownership.

Technology continues to become more and more complex and integrated into products. How does John Deere work with its dealers to ensure that customers recognize and value the features and capabilities of John Deere products? How does John Deere use customer needs and feedback to drive these innovations?

Dealer training and product introductions help dealers understand and support advanced technology and position it effectively with customers. We have numerous customer-input sessions around the world to provide input and feedback. The primary research organization works very closely with marketing and product development groups.

Engaging with customers and forging long-term relationships is a critical part of John Deere’s success. How does the brand use social media and other digital tools to strengthen connections with key audiences?

Our fan base of more than 2 million likes to share with one another through Facebook and Twitter. We regularly communicate with our fan base and they frequently communicate with one another. We provide the forums in which they can do that—through our social media sites, including YouTube.

For iconic brands, staying true to your roots while evolving with the times is a delicate balance. What do you see as the biggest challenge to accomplishing this in the years ahead?

Our biggest challenge is continuing to expand people’s understanding of the company as more than an equipment provider, but also as a solutions provider. We want to help customers realize we can be an important partner in their business success, anywhere in the world.

John Deere’s relationship with dealers and their customers is more than just providing great products. How would you describe John Deere’s wider social role?

We are committed to those linked to the land. We support our customers’ ability to feed, clothe, and shelter the world’s rapidly growing population—and to provide much needed infrastructure as so much of that population migrates to cities.

What role does John Deere’s environmental commitment play with respect to the growth of the brand?

We are stewards of the environment in the products we build, in the facilities we operate, and in turn, through the abilities we provide to our customers so they can do their work in ways that respect the earth’s limited resources.

Approximately half of John Deere’s employees are now outside of the US. How do you ensure that these employees understand and live the values of the John Deere brand every day?

At John Deere, everyone—irrespective of geographic location or cultural mores—knows it is better to walk away from business than it is to compromise our integrity or be out of compliance with regulations.

We are very consistent in communicating our guiding principles, our code of business conduct and the John Deere values. All employees receive regular training and annually designate their compliance with our code of conduct.

  • About Frances B. Emerson

    Frances B. Emerson is Vice President, Corporate Communications and Global Brand Management of Deere & Company. In her position at John Deere, Emerson is responsible for a broad range of external, internal, and brand management communications activities, as well as community relations and philanthropy.

    Prior to joining Deere & Company in April 2005, Emerson was Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, MassMutual Financial Group. Prior to that position, she was Vice President, Corporate Communications, Honeywell, Inc., where she earlier served as Director of Communications for Industrial Automation and Control. Emerson also served as associate instructor of business and technical communications at the University of Arizona, as well as associate instructor at the University of Utah. From 1971-72, Emerson taught English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Yap, Western Caroline Islands, Micronesia. Emerson is author of the college textbook Technical Writing, published by Houghton Mifflin.