Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Toyota’s Brand Revisited

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Previously, I had posted about the opportunity that Toyota had to salvage their brand amid recalls that have reached an unprecedented scale.  Other brands have managed this in the past, such as Maple Leafs Foods or Johnson & Johnson. Toyota could have acted quickly to remedy the situation and communicate to the marketplace how seriously they were taking the problems.

Alas, Toyota missed their chance and now their brand is essentially in a free-fall.  The apology from Toyota’s boss, Akio Toyoda, was generally seen as lackluster. The recall has been slow and the details to consumers have been scant. All of this tells Toyota’s consumers and partners that the problems just aren’t that important to the company.

A brand at its essence is a promise to all stakeholders, consumers and otherwise. Toyota’s promise was about operational excellence and innovation. For the foreseeable future, this promise will carry no credibility in the market. Their perceived ability to be flexible and move quickly is gone. Their public image is shot. In sum, a once mighty brand, that caused terror in their American counterparts, is badly damaged.

What do you think? Will the Toyota brand ever recover?

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Written by benwisebranding

February 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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