Blog

Bond Brands Loyalty with Harley-Davidson®

Posted by K. Dee Howard

May 16, 2016 11:10:36 AM

On the only Friday the 13th of the year, I stopped at a small-town Tim Horton's on my way home about an hour outside of Port Dover, waiting in line behind two gentlemen in riding gear. They saw my Harley-Davidson t-shirt, started up a conversation, and thirty seconds later refused to let me buy my own coffee—and not because I said I worked at/with/for H-D, but because I was in Port Dover and was wearing an H-D tee and was, therefore obviously in some way a part of the Harley-Davidson MC family. They asked me to sit and have a coffee with them. They showed me their photos with Karen & Bill Davidson from the morning. They asked if I knew Randy.

Activating at Canada’s largest one-day motorcycle rally comes with a few first-timer expectations (yes, the ‘thong guy’ was there and going strong), but the giant orange exclamation mark I am left with is that this community really is something special. They are fun, polite, welcoming and accepting—even in crowds of a hundred thousand—and they would live and die for their passion.

Harley-Davidson is one of the most inked brands on the planet (if not the most…that is a title I might bet my money on), and we had a feeling that, if we gave our guests the chance, they would prove it.

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Topics: Experiential Marketing, Live Brand Experiences

#autobond: The Importance of 2nd Delivery Nights

Posted by Chris Travell

May 13, 2016 9:08:49 AM

Picking up a new car is magical. The new car smell. The technology. The enhanced performance. Brands and dealers that place an increased emphasis on the delivery (and do it well) increase the chances of a higher rating on their CX surveys. And when you think about it, it makes sense. It’s the last impression a customer has before they drive home and share their experience–hopefully positive–that they had at the dealership.

However, the bloom is still on the rose when the customer picks up the car. Even though they were shown how to pair their phone, operate the NAVI, or use voice commands, it doesn’t always stick. And if it doesn't stick, the result could be lower CX scores both on the brand’s internal program and on syndicated studies like JD Power. The technology may work as planned but if the customer doesn’t know how to use it, they think something is wrong with the car and offer up a poor score.

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Topics: Customer Experience, #autobond

#autobond: Towards Tomorrow by Toyota—The Brand Gallery Concept

Posted by Chris Travell

Apr 20, 2016 12:08:44 PM

I’m a big fan of live brand experiences. They’re informative, different, and fun—and they give you a chance to see how bad you really are at driving a car in virtual reality.

I had a chance to sit down with Cyril Dimitris, Vice President of Toyota Canada, to discuss the Towards Tomorrow by Toyota brand gallery. This "pop-up" experience has brought Toyota direct to the consumer (specifically those hard to reach millennials), garnering valuable facetime and engagement outside the dealership environment. This is something many automotive brands are still struggling to do effectively. 

Initiatives like this one allow customers to be exposed to the brand when they might have dismissed it in a different setting. 

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Topics: Live Brand Experiences, #autobond

Westjet—You Were So Close!

Posted by Chris Travell

Apr 7, 2016 1:43:09 PM

 

Flew back from NADA in Las Vegas on Sunday on Westjet 1117 (in case you’re reading Westjet). For what should have been a routine flight, the experience turned into a considerable delay resulting in an arrival in YYZ about 12:30 a.m.

In a touch of serendipity, I sat next to Sham Ahluwalia, an executive with General Motors who has a ton of experience in the world of CX. As the afternoon and evening unfolded, we dissected and discussed the way the airline handled the situation. A great learning exercise.

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Topics: Customer Experience

#autobond: The Importance of the Front Line

Posted by Chris Travell

Mar 31, 2016 4:25:16 PM

I’ve been involved in measuring the customer experience (CX) for over 20 years. It’s critical to get the voice of the customer to understand where a brand, dealer, salesperson, service advisor etc is strong or weak so they can improve. I get that in spades. However, over that time one of the areas that has been noticeably absent from the public discourse on this stuff is measuring the employee CX on an ongoing basis. This is odd because these individuals are absolutely critical in delivering the brand experience. They’re on the frontline so wouldn’t we want to hear regularly what they have to say so we can continuously improve?

My observation has been that the employee survey is done about once a year. Tick that box.  

My call today is to incorporate measuring employee CX into your overall CX strategy. Yesmeasuring how the customer feels is criticalbut let’s start putting a little more emphasis on what our frontline people have to say, and doing it on an ongoing basis.

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Topics: Customer Experience, #autobond

#autobond: Fuel Efficiency, 2016 Forecast, and the Connected Car—In Conversation with Dennis DesRosiers

Posted by Chris Travell

Mar 23, 2016 11:47:59 AM

Dennis DesRosiers is the leading automotive analyst in the country. Even though he is often controversial, he never fails to provide insight and the proverbial "something to think about."

In this week’s #autobond, Dennis talks about fuel efficiency, his sales forecast for 2016 (and potential concerns), and the connected car and what it means to a small southwestern Ontario town.

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Topics: #autobond

#autobond: Jim Kenzie on Technology, Distracted Driving, and Electric Cars

Posted by Chris Travell

Mar 10, 2016 12:12:25 PM

Jim Kenzie has been one of Canada’s leading automotive journalists for the last quarter century, and currently serves as the Toronto Star Wheels' chief automotive reviewer. As an engineer and race driver, he has considerable experience and expertise when it comes to all things automotive. He's known for his strong views, which make him entertainingif not controversial. 

I had a chance to spend some time with Jim to get his thoughts on technology, distracted driving, and electric cars. Do you agree with him? 

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Topics: #autobond

#autobond: Differentiating Lexus in the Hyper-Competitive Luxury Market

Posted by Chris Travell

Mar 3, 2016 2:22:00 PM

At the recent Canadian International Autoshow in Toronto, I had a chance to talk to Jennifer Barron, the new Director of Lexus in Canada. Jennifer is a very interesting personwith Lexus since 1990, she has played an instrumental role in designing the brand’s customer experience. Now, things have come full circle and she’s running the place.

Jennifer talks about what differentiates Lexus in the crowded luxury market and what it will take to compete in 2016 and beyond.

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Topics: Customer Experience, #autobond

#autobond: Changing Customer Expectations in the Automotive Industry

Posted by Chris Travell

Feb 25, 2016 11:00:23 AM

At the recent Canadian International Autoshow, I had a chance to speak with Cyril Dimitris, Toyota Canada’s new Vice President of Sales. The former Director of Lexus and Scion Divisions (among several other previous positions with Toyota), Cyril brings years of automotive brand expertise and deep understanding of the automotive customer to his new role.

In our conversation, Cyril talks about changing customer expectations, how Toyota is adapting, the U Squared concept, and the recent decision to nix the Gen-Y oriented Scion brand. 

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Topics: Customer Experience, #autobond

#autobond: Making Goal Setting Work in 2016

Posted by Chris Travell

Feb 10, 2016 12:42:18 PM

I get worried sometimes when I hear manufacturers talk about their goals. Obviously everybody in the dealer network needs to know where the goal posts are, but sometimes the goals can be so unrealistic that they are actually setting dealers up for failure. Is it reasonable, for example, that a brand will jump up 15 spots on JDPA or NVCS? Maybe not, especially when few resources, aka – money and management expertise, are dedicated to achieving the goal.

Here’s a few more thoughts about goal setting in 2016. Let’s be practical about this. 

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Topics: Customer Experience, #autobond