Weakening Your Brand with Kindness

I have driven Mercedes cars for about 10 years. The last three have been a SL55 AMG, and I mention that only to let you know they weren’t a bad sale for my dealer. Even though one of the cars wasn’t actually purchased from the dealer they do get all of the warranty work on the car as well as the sale of the extended warranty. Frankly, I am a good customer and they treat me well giving me one of those wonderful perks of a “loaner” car when needed. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the car they loan me is a very nice… Honda Accord.

Ok, I know, I sound ungrateful, but I’m not. I am trying to teach lessons on branding and this is one they haven’t learned. I don’t want you making the same mistake. “Never cheapen your brand.“

Please note: There is nothing wrong with Accords. I actually owned one many years ago. However, if I am selling Mercedes and am giving an Accord to my good clients look what I am saying to them:

1. An Accord is a good car and you might want to consider it if you want to save some money (like during a recession).
2. And Accord is dependable which is why we loan it out.
3. You are a good customer but not good enough for us to loan one of our Mercedes to.

In addition to these non verbal messages (none of which you would really want to convey), they are also missing out on a “prime” opportunity; put me into one of their new cars and have a customer service (aka salesman) go over the car before I drive it off so I “properly understand how to use all of the wonderful new features.” And, when I return, meet me and see what I thought about the experience. Two chances to test my sales pulse. Two chances they get without having to spend money to market to customers just to “try” and get them to come test drive their cars. They spend lots of money normally doing this and they could do it spending no money and giving happy experiences to customers getting service done at the same time.

Hopefully, you aren’t making this same type of mistake with your customers but it is always profitable to stop and look at things you are doing that could be viewed differently than intended. Sometimes it is the case of using the wrong person in a relationship role; sometimes it is an error in the sales choreography your company uses that conveys an unintended and unwanted message. Take a moment, “walk your business” and see if you need to corrected and unintended mistake.

Happy Branding!