By William Arruda
A note from the Founder of Reach Personal Branding.
When you make a brand promise, you set expectations.
Once you tell people what your promise of value is, you need to deliver on it – every day, with everything you do. The louder your message, the stronger your actions must be to back it up.
I was reminded of this recently when I was heading to Massachusetts to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. I was taking a train from Manhattan to New Haven, then, renting a car from Avis – the people who try harder.
The Avis at the New Haven train station closes at 4pm on Saturdays and my train was running late; I was due to arrive just about 4pm. So I called to let them know I would arrive a minute or two late. The Avis agent said, “We close the door at 4pm if you arrive even 30 seconds after that, you will not get your car.” I was shocked at this rude response but hoped to make it at 3:59. The train did arrive at 3:59 but by the time I got through the station and to the Avis location, the door was closed and lights were off.
I called Avis trying to get my car switched to the New Haven airport location or to otherwise resolve the issue. I had many conversations with many people (and spent at least a half an hour on hold). No one was able to help me or even feigned interest in the challenge. Rather than empathy, action and effort, I experienced complacency, disdain and inaction. I won’t share all the details, but each person I talked to was less helpful than the previous.
I take responsibility for arriving late, but when your brand promise is “we try harder,” my expectations were that they would make some effort to help me. On top of that, I am a ‘Preferred” customer because Reach spends a fair amount of money with Avis each year. But that didn’t seem to motivate anyone to try even a little bit. In the end, I took an Amtrak train to Providence and rented a car from Hertz. Mother’s Day was saved!
This incident just reminded me of how lethal violating your brand promise can be. Instead of thinking of “We try harder” when I hear the Avis, I now think “We don’t try at all.”
Are you delivering on your brand promise?