Tag Archives: marketing 101

Don’t Make a Brand Promise You Can’t Keep

GE-Oven

My wife and I bought our cozy home thirteen years ago from a retired couple that used it as their weekend home. Lucky them. Lucky us. While we were negotiating, the then “Mrs. of the house” asked me what we plan to do. I said, “We’re definitely going to get a new oven, since that one (with me pointing to it) is an antique.” She asked, “Why? It works perfectly!” And my wife agreed – if it ain’t broke…

We Surrender

So, year after year, we coped as it died a slow appliance death. Knobs faded leaving food over or under cooked, and eventually broke. I even replaced a few thanks to the Internet! Then the bottom half died, taking the broiler with it. Good bye delicious steaks and chops (sorry vegetarians). Finally, ½ of the top oven went. Correct. Only ½ of it went – leaving just about every meal ½ cooked, ½ burnt, even if rotated ½ way ½ way through cooking. We raised the white flag of surrender.

So, I did what all good sons of engineers do and consulted the Consumer Reports to start the new range quest (kinda sounds like the name of an over-budget Kevin Costner flop, huh?). Anyhow, my requirements were simple: reliable and stainless steel. Oh, and hopefully under $750. After a bit of research (and input from Dad, of course), a certain GE model was agreed upon. I found a few stores nearby that sold it. I started with PC Richards, well known as “the appliance giant”. They had a similar model, it was acceptable, but nobody was around to offer assistance. Needed a warm and fuzzy as I was about to drop some serious Benjamins. So, across the street to Home Depot.

It turns out they had the next model up available. More bells & whistles, and large appliances were 10% off. It was a pretty easy decision. One problem though – since this was just a range, I would still need to fill the top void. My friendly associate showed me a nice matching microwave – without hesitation, both were purchased. The deal included free delivery and haul away of the dinosaur.

A week later, the ovens arrive. I am not so much with the handy – so neighbor Joe, doer of all things, installed both for me with my (rather limited) assistance. It only cost me a vodka drink. Great deal!

I slip into a near coma-like depression

Not a few days go by, and the wife tells me upon coming home, “the new microwave isn’t working.” My face went blank, and I slipped into a near coma-like depression. Just couldn’t accept that after all of those years of coping, then finally fixing the problem: here I was again, faced with a broken appliance.

WTF are you talking about, GE?

So I did the logical thing – and called Home Depot. Since the item was direct shipped from GE, and I knew Home Depot didn’t stock it. The helpful associate tells me, “Oh. You have to call GE customer service. That would be covered under you manufacturer’s warranty.” “Um. What? You’re not going to help me?” “Just call GE. They will give you a number so you can exchange it.” While it didn’t make sense, I accepted. So I called GE. I explained the predicament to the customer service associate, she then explained to me that since the over stopped working after 7 days – that they needed to actually send out a repair tech to inspect and possibly fix the oven. “WTF are you talking about GE, this is a brand new oven!?! I want a new one!”. She remorsefully explained this was the policy, but did offer a $50 gift certificate to keep me happy. (That’s Dad’s favorite part of the story.)

Hooray for us!!!

Several days later the tech shows up. Takes the microwave off the wall and declares that the magnetron (my new favorite word, BTW) was shot, and that the unit was not repairable and should be replaced. He told my wife to just throw it in the car and show up at Home Depot. (Yeah. Right where we started.) So, again, knowing that they didn’t stock this item – I called and asked how to handle this. This time, I get the associate that sold me the unit. She explains that GE should just replace the it – effectively, there was nothing they could do since they didn’t stock it. So I got my Greek up, and she said she would call GE and work this out, and call me back. A few days later, I got an email from GE (and a voicemail), saying that the replacement request has been approved. Hooray for us!!! I just need to wait for GE delivery to call to arrange the swap.

Imagine It Works

SO, here we are ONE MONTH SINCE THE BRAND NEW MICROWAVE BROKE, and it’s still hanging out in my kitchen, useless. Now, if you are wondering what the heck this has to do with marketing (and you stuck with it this long, and the title didn’t give it away), here it comes:

GE’s slogan is “Imagination at Work”, or better said, “Imagine it Works”. While Home Depot boasts “More saving. More doing.” Whatever. I think you see where I am going with this: Both clearly failed to deliver on their brand promises. As a result, I will never buy an appliance from Home Depot again, and the next appliance I purchase will certainly NOT be a GE. Moral of the story: don’t make a brand promise you can’t keep!

(c)2013, by Phil Paranicas

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: