This morning during my commute to the studio, I tuned into my usual radio station. On one of the popular programs, a group of 3 radio hosts were talking about various strange things people do and why they do them. One of the hosts, a guy called Marvin, said that apparently 1 in 5 people book in to visit houses up for sale, even though they had no intention of buying nor could afford them. Just to snoop around wealthy houses, I suppose.
The other male host then said that he had also heard of people going for test drives just so they could try out cars they could never afford and would never dream of getting into. He cited examples of Porsche, Bentley and super cars like Ferrari etc. At this, the trio broke into laughter and cackles and were of the opinion that it was indeed a clever idea.
Test Drive A Bentley
They then tuned into the next song. As the song played, the traffic ahead was moving at a snails pace and I was regretting forgetting to sync my iPhone with my audio books so I could have continued listening to “The Gathering Storm” – Book 12 of The Wheel Of Time series; one of my favorite audio books. When the song ended and the hosts came back, they started the usual shout out where they take calls from the public about the issues they have been talking about. On the line came the clear and very polished voice of a gentle man who announced in a very cultivated and deliberate voice that he was a salesman at one the Bentley showrooms and that he was listening to the bit about how people just book test drives and how his interest was piqued at the mention of Bentley.
The trio of hosts broke into laughter and excitement. They welcomed the caller and said they were surprised he had taken the time to call. The caller said that he wanted to welcome the hosts for a test drive on a Bentley at his showroom. He then went on to invite all listeners to come for a test drive! The radio hosts were speechless. One of them recovered and clarified that they could not afford to buy the cars and that the same goes for most of the listeners. The caller said that it was alright and that they were all welcome to come try out their cars and their hospitality.
Bentley is a luxury brand
Oh! WOW! Now that is branding at it’s finest. Bentley is a luxury brand. In realty, they are all about rarity and exclusivity. They price their cars out of the range of most customers. As the CEO of Porsche said “When I see two Porsches on the same street, I begin to worry”, luxury brands try very hard to ensure the exclusivity of their products. The distance between their clients and then non clients has to be very large. So, Bentley seemingly would gain nothing from inviting the general public to come and try their cars because they are not looking for sales from this audience.
But by this gesture, they have shown us the importance of brand visibility and how to go about getting it elegantly. The main goal of a luxury brand is to gain a ton of visibility but only sell it’s product to a select few – the HNWI (high net worth individuals). This way, the prestige of the brand goes up making it more and more desirable. Thus the small group of it’s real customers would feel proud of purchasing their product. The perceived value of the product keeps rising up.
Lesson: Brand Visibility Is Important
It is a great strategy. Of course non luxury brands can not afford do that nor should they try. However, they should take note of how the Bentley salesman had jumped at the opportunity to join in the conversation about their brand and give it a very positive spin. You should be doing the same for your brand. Join conversations on the web – Facebook, Twitter, Forums etc and show that you are extraordinary. Show generosity and positiveness. It would go a long in establishing your brand.