3 Things Your Brand Can Learn From The VW Debacle

Life after epic brand fail?

With an estimated 11 million vehicles affected by the Volkswagen emissions scandal this sounds like a costly PR and reputation management exercise. Although VW’s market share shrank $18 billion in one day, the damage to its brand may be less costly.

Nothing seems to shock consumers anymore

Think of BP and the Deepwater Horizon incident. If we are to draw a comparison between big brands, has this incident tarnished the BP brand permanently? Nothing seems to shock consumers anymore

Steve Olenski says it just doesn’t matter to the average consumer. Immediate need outweighs moral decisions. Few consumers will drive past a BP filling station on principle when they need fuel. Consumers tend to practise selective morality when it comes to buying decisions. Knowing your car spews out a lot more toxic fumes than it’s supposed to won’t necessarily drive you to sell or trade it in.

Why is VW worse than GM, Toyota?

What makes this particular situation worse than say GM’s ignition switch scandal or Toyota’s accelerator problem is that this was premeditated.

Although VW seems to have a contingency plan for managing this debacle, Allan Adamson also agrees that VW will have a far greater challenge than BP in repairing its brand name.

Consumers do not like being lied to.

Once bitten twice shy

Once a brand transgresses the boundaries with the consumer it is very hard to win back their trust. Consumers do not like being lied to.

At the moment VW is the black sheep of the automotive industry but if others are implicated as well it becomes an industry problem.

VW should hope for other guilty manufacturers to be exposed so that it can play to the consumer’s sympathy and proclaim “but everyone’s doing it”.

Failing that, a strategy for the future could see a definite move away from diesel and reinventing the brand as a greener, petrol-based manufacturer.

Originally posted on my LinkedIn profile