I just bought a brand-new third generation Toyota Prius. First launched in Japan, the 2010 Prius is the top selling car in Japan and sales are hot here in the U.S. Toyota’s Prius has helped the company dominate the U.S. auto market. Toyota has positioned the Prius to be not only fuel efficient but good for the earth with their tagline “harmony between man, nature and machine” (sounds like a Marketing Philharmonic tagline, doesn’t it?). As you would expect, research has shown that Prius owners want to protect the environment and they want to show the world that they care about the environment. Toyota even states on its website that one of its core values is to be cleaner and greener. Although Toyota sells other types of cars, it brand (people’s impression) is that it is a greener car company.
But it isn’t enough to say your green and to even have a product that is more environmentally friendly, you need to have all your customer contact points and your marketing be harmonious to maximize your brand’s value.
So what about the styrofoam? I asked for a drink of water at my local Toyota dealer as I was finishing up the sale of my new Prius. They served me the water in a styrofoam cup! For anyone who cares about sustainability and waste, styrofoam is abhorrent to them. Right then, I started questioning my trust in the dealer and even in the Prius.
Marketing is not your advertising or your next discount promotion, it is ensuring all your customer contact points are harmonious with your brand position. Even large companies slip up sometimes. It is important to stay true to who you are and to bring the benefits to the customer they value. All pieces (at Marketing Philharmonic we call it the Marketing Octave) need to be in concert with each other. Thus, ban those styrofoam cups, Toyota.