Toyota recently became the world’s largest auto maker by outselling longstanding US giant General Motors.
On the heels of this news, I saw two TV commercials that highlight two very different ways of selling vehicles.
Ford’s commercial showed me historical images of the American past. The voice-over stated, “Others can say their truck is built in America. But can they say they helped build America?”
So if I interpret this commercial correctly, I’m supposed to buy a Ford because they have a great history. That’s nice, but what have you done for me lately?
The Toyota Tundra commercial followed and spent the time touting the features and benefits of their truck.
I can buy a Toyota truck built in San Antonio, Texas or a Honda built in Ohio. That starts to blur the lines of what is an American-made car. The appeal to my patriotic emotions becomes weak when even foreign auto makers are producing cars in my home state.
Sure, some customers will be brand loyal and buy your product even if it is inferior to others. However, new customers don’t have that loyalty. They need to be convinced to buy your product.
Your company can’t call up the glory days of the past to sell your product today. You need to continue to innovate and deliver quality or your competition will overtake you.
Patriotism may have worked in the past but it will only take you so far. As Toyota has proven, a focus on quality, innovation, and constant improvement will drive your business forward.