Those ‘Unplanned Marketing Messages’
spend a lot of time driving on Auckland’s Northern Motorway and I’m increasingly struck by the volume of ‘Unplanned Marketing Messages’ that are being sent on that highway on a daily basis. If you work for a company called Advanced Personnel and drive a liveried SUV, may I warmly counsel you that it is not […]
spend a lot of time driving on Auckland’s Northern Motorway and I’m increasingly struck by the volume of ‘Unplanned Marketing Messages’ that are being sent on that highway on a daily basis.
If you work for a company called Advanced Personnel and drive a liveried SUV, may I warmly counsel you that it is not a great idea to:
• Make and receive cellphone calls on your handset whilst driving.
• Sit in the outside lane of the Northern Motorway whilst making or receiving those calls and gradually drive slower and slower over the five minute or so duration of those calls.
• Give the finger (moving a single digit in an up and down motion, with vigour and repeating that motion several times) to me (or anyone else) when we finally manage to pass your ever slower vehicle, giving you a gentle, polite, single toot to remind you that it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving.
If you work for a company called IT Logics and drive a Skoda wagon (un-liveried but with personalised licence plate), may I warmly counsel you that it is not a great idea to:
• Sit in the outside lane of the motorway at a speed someway below the speed limit with no traffic for several hundred metres ahead of you but a queue developing for some distance behind you.
• Respond to a single flash of headlights from the driver immediately behind you, politely asking that you move out of the lane, by winding down your driver’s window, fully extending your arm outside the vehicle before then energetically pointing the middle finger of your right hand towards the sky and leaving it there for several seconds.
• Eventually, move rapidly out of the outside lane and cross three lanes of traffic to, at the last moment, join the traffic heading off at the Upper Harbour Highway off-ramp.
If you work for a company called Smith & Smith and drive a large, fully liveried van, may I warmly counsel you that it is not a great idea to:
• Drive in excess of 110kph in the outside lane of the motorway, closing up on each vehicle in front of you and sitting on their tail until they move left and allow you through.
• Having passed one vehicle, then close up on the next one, repeating the "on their tail" tactic, until that vehicle also moves over, with your speed not dropping below 110kph and frequently climbing above that.
Over a period of just one week, here were three Brands, each highly visible to many road users (who comprise either current or potential customers), each engaging in driving behaviours which can be classified under the heading of "Unplanned Marketing Messages".
These driving behaviours would not be a great idea in unmarked vehicles but that would be for a bunch of non-marketing related reasons, including safety and courtesy.
However, slap high profile signage on the vehicle (or a personalised plate) and all of a sudden your vehicle becomes a part of your marketing and brand strategy.
If you are an owner operator of the business, there really is no excuse for engaging in any behaviours, (driving or otherwise) which would, very easily, cause your customers or potential customers, to write you off as a plonker.
If you are an employee, by contrast, then you should start preparing yourself for the increasing risk that your bad driving behaviour is going to get you fired. And so it should. No employer worth their salt should tolerate any behaviour on the part of any employee which damages the market’s perception of their brand and its products and/or services.
Brands (and every business is a brand) are directly and immediately affected by good and bad behaviours on the part of that brand. And the driver of a liveried vehicle is a brand ambassador – either a good ambassador or a bad one, dependent entirely on that ambassador’s behaviours. Bad ones get fired.
So, you have two options.
Either, do not put signs on your company vehicles (which would be a shame as it would both reduce real opportunities for positive exposure as well as provide further licence for bloody awful driving behaviour);
Or, ensure that any driver of any liveried vehicle knows how to drive that vehicle in a manner that will enhance your brand’s reputation, not damage it.
This means not only not driving like a plonker, but also engaging in driving practices that will draw positive attention to your brand (and this means, more than anything, displaying courtesy, letting other drivers into gaps, giving way whether the road rules require it or not, smiling and waving to say "thanks" when another driver treats you with courtesy, etc).
These kinds of behaviours are so uncommon on New Zealand roads that you will draw positive attention to your carefully (and costly) liveried vehicles and your brand will accrue positive awareness and attitudinal points.
Just as importantly, you will remove the risk of a grumpy old marketing consultant naming and shaming you in a future column!
Brian Meredith is CEO of The Marketing Bureau (www.themarketingbureau.co.nz).
Email [email protected]