Monday, March 1, 2010

Beware of brand destroyers

I'm keeping this short as it's based on the frustration of sitting in traffic while moving around the city. Nearly every time I get behind the wheels of any car, I get frustrated by people whom I will call ‘brand destroyers’. This frustration got me thinking about the companies, their drivers and their beautifully branded vehicles. Have you worked it out yet?

Every day on the streets of Nairobi we see companies advertising their brand on their company vehicles. These vehicles and their drivers in theory represent those brands. Everything from your large multinational FMCG’s, phone companies, to the more independent companies including ‘one man shows’.

Yet every day the drivers and vehicles that represent the companies brand terrorise other motorists on the streets. Whether it is driving bumper to bumper at 100KM per hour on Mombasa road, or how about driving like a maniac on an estate street, or even falling out of a pub or bar and climbing into the company van (who's to know if they have had a drink or not). Either way these acts by the driver and vehicle are being performed with your brand. The visual message is associated with your brand, represented by the person handling your brand asset.

I sometimes want to phone my telephone company to close my account on the strength of a driver who is using the company van to force me out of the way in the roundabout. I've wanted to phone a couriers services company and tell them that unless they deal with the driver of their van registration mark XXX then I will pull out of their contract (even when I don't have one with them). But my point here is, if I feel this way about companies that I have business with and even companies that I don't, what damage is being done to your brand it is being advertised irresponsibly and out of your control?

We have seen a rise in company lorries and even PSV vehicles with "How's My Driving? Call this number 070-000000" Do you ever call it? I once did it, and I hope that the driver paid the price for his irresponsible use of that company’s brand.

So when you provide a vehicle that promotes, advertises and sells your brand, your company, your livelihood, make sure that the person you are giving that responsibility to understands what it means to the company in current sales and future sales. Your brand makes you money so be sure who to trust it with.

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