Interview: Todd Rome, CEO of MOKE America

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Todd Rome, founder & CEO of MOKE America, talks about how to take a company from good to great

After founding a company that revolutionized private flying by making it more affordable, Todd Rome has now set his eyes on bringing a classic car to the future. With Moke America, Todd Rome has begun reviving the “long-retired” car in the modern era and marketing it as a luxury electric brand.

Prior to Moke America, Todd Rome has been in the transportation industry for nearly his entire career. He has also loved cars for all his life. He was first attracted to the Moke when he first started going to the Caribbean when he was younger; though he felt it still had room for improvement and issues to be fixed when he actually got in one. For one, the car didn’t meet the United States’ safety standards.

Eventually, Todd Rome started Moke America by building a factory overseas where he could build the electric model of the car. It was a low-speed vehicle that could pass muster on American roads. He decided to make an electric model after going to Paris for an auto show and noticing that almost all major automakers in Europe were building electric vehicles. Since he knew that a Moke was a beach car and didn’t need a lot of juice, he thought electric Mokes could work.

Currently, Moke America and Todd Rome seeing success. Many people “from the Bahamas to the Hamptons to Malibu” are now driving Mokes. The Moke is also seeing a rise in California, “especially in gated, beachfront communities where the lifestyle and weather is conducive to low-speed vehicles.”

Check out more interviews with transport titans here.

A good company is one that is profitable, but a great company is so much more than that. A great company has loyal customers who truly care about the brand and live and breathe it. Todd Rome, Moke America

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Todd Rome: Nobody else does the Moke quite like we do. We took a 20th-century collectible car and reinvented it with 21st-century green-friendly electric power. Even better, all the cars are American made in Sarasota, FL. We also have a lot of celebrity fans of the brand, including the Jenner family, Martha Stewart, Katherine McPhee and Jay Leno, among others. Influencers are always tagging us on Instagram showing off their Moke America.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Todd Rome: It’s so important to do everything with passion, or else you will never get off the ground. When you truly care about the end goal, and all you see is reaching that goal, it propels you forward, and you end up not sweating the small stuff as much.

Finding new angles and listening to customers directly can help you pivot to what you need.

Jerome Knyszewski: How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?

Todd Rome: A good company is one that is profitable, but a great company is so much more than that. A great company has loyal customers who truly care about the brand and live and breathe it. In our case, as I mentioned above, we see our customers posting online with their Moke America and literally bringing it to life in cool, fun settings.

Jerome Knyszewski: What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill? From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and “restart their engines”?

Todd Rome: There’s always going to be ways to reinvent your brand if you sit down and put in the effort. Whether that’s through strategic partnerships, updating brand messaging, improving the product itself, creating more customization options or just fitting into the news trends, you can literally (especially applicable regarding the Moke America), restart your engine.

Jerome Knyszewski: Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Todd Rome: We are lucky we have been able to adapt so well in the new COVID economy- with Americans opting for staycations, it makes the Moke America perfect for giving Americans those “vacation vibes” they so desperately need. Finding new angles and listening to customers directly can help you pivot to what you need.

There’s always going to be ways to reinvent your brand if you sit down and put in the effort. Todd Rome

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

Todd Rome: We offer customization on all our Mokes down to the bumper, grill, rollbar and rims. Each client is getting their very own personalized vehicle, and that makes them feel even more special.

Jerome Knyszewski: What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Todd Rome: Social media has been a very advantageous part of our marketing and contributes significantly to the growth of the brand. The vehicle is photographed so beautifully and when it’s posted on Instagram people can’t help but want to check the cars out. So no, I don’t see social media as a negative in our case.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Todd Rome: You can check out the Moke America website at www.mokeamerica.com and on Instagram @mokeamerica.

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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