Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mismatching Brand and Expectations

What if your stucco repairman drove a BMW?

We recently had some work done on our house to fix some cracks and chinks in stucco.  The crew did a good job, communicated well and earned a strong review on Angie's List (in exchange for a discount).   What was interesting was the question that the contractor asked at the end:  "Did you mind me driving to the job in a BMW?"

To be sure, I did have pangs of being overcharged.  But upon reflection, it was "just" a 3-series and I've seen enough pick-up trucks to know they can cost just as much - if not more.   So, it wasn't the price that caused the twinge but something else.   Maybe it was a case of branding at work.

BMW is (was) an aspirational brand; the 'ultimate driving machine' is something to strive for, a reward for success, a pinnacle of perfection.   It is very personal.  A truck on the other hand is there to get the tough jobs done - just consider the Chevy Silverado winning Super Bowl ad that reinforced it's message as the longest lasting.  Even Viagra uses solving challenges as part of delivering their brand promise.

In Simon Sinek's TEDx talk he makes the point:  "people don't buy what you do but why you do it".  So, my twinge came from a conflict in the why side of the equation.   The problem a BMW solves has to do with personal needs; the problem an F250 solves has to with the job. 

So, yes I would have preferred that he drove up in a truck.

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