This morning as I drove in to work I found myself behind a “new car transporter.” One of those huge trucks with a couple of tiers of brand-spanking-new automobiles in tow. At first I couldn’t determine WHAT vehicles were on the truck – they were each enveloped in a white cocoon cover. Oh, I could spot single or double exhausts peeking out from what appeared to be custom-cut holes in each transport wrap. And there were even sheer plastic insets over the rear windshields of each vehicle. But other than that, even the side mirrors were dutifully swathed.
Ever more curious, now I just HAD to know what precious cargo was headed north through Virginia, on its merry way to new ownership. So I hit the gas, passed a package delivery truck and pulled alongside the mystery delivery. AHA. Ever so neatly branded on the side of each white wrapper was a prominent set of interlocking rings and the simple (but powerful) word AUDI.
It’s All in the Details
Branded, indeed. Some other manufacturers may prefer their vehicles “naked” in transit, so that we can all see the impressive blue truck or the sporty yellow coupe. But in this instance, a very different kind of advertising. A statement and surely a conscious marketing decision. These cars, so perfectly packaged and protected, even for basic transportation, screamed VALUABLE and EXCLUSIVE and DESIRABLE. And I gave them a round of mental applause on a decision that might seem insignificant, but is an example of living a brand. Of understanding what your product or service represents to the people who buy it or use it, and translating that understanding to every facet of your business. Right down to how you package it when it’s on a truck for delivery.
Perception is important. Just ask Millennials, who according to an Iconoculture insight are more likely to feel “my car or automobile is an expression of who I am” (51%) and “my car or automobile tells the world I am successful” (34%).
Every contact you have with someone - how you answer the phone, how you reply to a question on Twitter, the content you post on Facebook, the images on your website, how you interact with your audience during a presentation, the physical package you sell your new retail gadget in, and yes – right down to how you transport your product – is an opportunity to live your brand.
(Me? I recently bought a new car myself. I’m a Gen Xer, and if you’re curious, 43% of us claim that our cars are expressions of who we are. I chose my car based more on what I use it for, but I suppose indirectly that, too, is an expression of who I am. I fondly retired my 13-year-old Honda after many trips to the beach, camping adventures, and daily commutes to the office - these last few years with a gleeful dog hanging out of the back window…And I traded her in for another one….I think Honda’s got my number.)
(Shaun Amanda Herrmann)