How Ford Motor Co. spurned legacy media and leaned heavily on social to introduce a powerful brand extension

Mustang, the auto marque owned by Ford, was launching a new electric SUV, called the Mach-E, which marked a significant departure from the brand’s typical vehicles, and a major innovation in its own right.

Ford put the world of auto consumers on notice last year with a tweet hinting that an electric vehicle was on its way.

In late 2019, when the news of the Mustang Mach-E SUV began to sneak out, Ford revealed it would follow a model pursued by marques like...