Friday, September 11, 2009

Any color as long as it's beige.

I am quite satisfied with this color palette.


GM, whom I've often assailed in this space not because I necessarily hate GM but because GM seems to me to be an icon that marks everything that's wrong with American business and marketing, is offering, according to the advertising column in today's New York Times, a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied with your GM vehicle.

You can read about it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/business/11gm.html?ref=media

Call me a cynic, but to me saying satisfaction guaranteed or your money back is exactly the wrong message. It would have been the right message ten years ago before we all became journalists, auto critics and influentials, but today it is dead wrong.

Satisfaction is table stakes. Satisfaction is passive. What GM should be guaranteeing is enthusiasm.

I'm sorry, today the brands people love don't create satisfied customers. They create enthusiastic proselytizers. People who know people and tell people how great their frikken wireless router is.

Years ago I worked on Mercedes-Benz and I went to a speech given by their North American President who said, "A car will be a success if it makes you feel ten years younger and ten pounds lighter."

That seems about right. That's something you boast about. That's something your neighbors will covet. Satisfaction is like having well-painted beige walls.

6 comments:

Teenie said...

Satisfaction is the staus quo. It's the box on your evaluation that you really, really hope your boss doesn't check.

Jake P. said...

Or as Dilbert would have it, "the highly coveted Meets Expectations award."

geo said...

Nice, Jake.
If you can't raise your standards,
lower the bar.

adasauris said...

The problem is the dealers, stupid!

Kelly said...

George,

Enthusiasm guaranteed or your money back?

Sales would be incredible.

Maybe this is the same thing you're saying, looked at a bit differently—The problem I see is that they simply don't have the tools for that kind of thinking. They don't know that language.

From their viewpoint, the language IS satisfaction guaranteed. Why wonder what the language SHOULD be?

Evolution, or extinction, might have been a rationale once. But hey, if we're too big to fail...

Screw it. Let's keep going the old way. Uncle Sam will help us out if we get in a bind.

*sigh*

Who's the airline who (quietly) became the last to implement second-bag fees on international flights this morning... United, I think.

How much cooler would it have been if they'd made a big, splashy announcement today that they would be the only carrier to guarantee they would *never* have a second bag fee?

But the language is just not there.

Regards,

Kelly

geo said...

Kelly, I agree with you.
Enthusiasm guaranteed or your money back.

Though I suppose GM with be enthusiastic if people are merely satisfied. That's an improvement.

xx