Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Over Protecting THE Brand

As we passed another gas station with prices above $3.20 a gallon it wasn't hard to imagine that American consumers should be swinging into a mode of car buying where MPG once again matters. You can see it clearly in the marketing for the Hybrids and smaller cars that seem to be moving off the car lots a lot quicker than a few years ago.

We have the Hummer H2 plant in our area and I wondered what impact all the high gas prices were having on their product. They did have a few cutbacks at the end of 06 but seemed to have settled down as we face the highest gas prices of the summer. When I asked a friend who works there what Hummer was planning to do to raise the MPG figures from 13 Highway and 10 City. The plan is to put a 6 speed auto transmission in, tweak the fuel delivery computer, and maybe trim a few pounds. It will likely bring it up to 16 MPG on the Highway.

Hummer H2s have Full Time 4 Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive. If they put in a switch that would allow you to select 4 wheel drive when you were going off road or in the snow and the rest of the time on the freeway or around town use 2 wheel drive you could add another 5 MPG or maybe even more.

The response from the marketing gurus at GM - THAT WILL RUIN THE BRAND. NO WAY.

Wow a feature that is used probably 1 time a year by a small percentage of the consumers is deemed that important? I guess so.

How many things or pieces to your Brand are we protecting to the point of sort of looking 'stupid.' I can think of many rules we follow in formatics, coaching the air staff, handling promotions, and in scheduling the music that are almost as bad as the GM example above. Can you?

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