Friday, October 16, 2015

Brand Failure: How Volkswagen Can Reinvent Itself in 3 Steps

With a dark cloud on its head, a massive PR nightmare, and billions of dollars at stake, Volkswagen could not have seen any worse days. This is probably as bad as it gets for any car manufacturer, and it definitely is a problem that the German car giant has brought on itself. With a broken promise, and a future that at the best can be called squeamish, Volkswagen has much larger issues at hand than to think about how the brand broke its promise. But after the media nightmare, the legal battles, recalls and fines are all set and done with, what then should be Volkswagen's plan to get back on its feet and become a true example of a legendary car company that it has always been?

More than anything else, Volkswagen has violated the trust that so many people put into it. A brand promise is the most sacred thing any company can hold with its followers and breaking it is a big taboo. Consider the examples if your most favorite company tomorrow says that all its promises were fake and lies, I am sure you would be heartbroken as well as angry. That is the case with VW right this very moment. Here is a three point plan for the global car giant to go beyond its mistakes and create a true brand. This is based on a post aftermath and assuming the company comes out of this mess in one piece.

  1. Make Right what Has Been Wronged
    It is absolutely a necessity that every single car that has been produced by Volkswagen that has been affected by the scandal must absolutely be fixed. Yes it probably going to cost them a few billions of dollars but in the long scheme of things, covering this loss is far better than losing their reputation and then going bankrupt. Keep in perspective as well that not only would this help establish Volkswagen's credibility but also help their customers, who are in the millions to accept their apology.

  2. Think Customer First
    Whether it is investments in technology, new cars, a new electric car line or whatever, think customer first. This translates not only in helping customers with their complaint, but being able to think how to make the world a better place through new technologies. VW should also invest into making new technology affordable and prove that being a giant of an organization also means making a larger impact on the world around them. As a mega large company that has traditionally had good quality products used by millions of consumers, Volkswagen can be at a unique point in influencing the way the industry works.

  3. Go Back to your Roots
    Going back to your roots helps. Tapping deep down into what really created Volkswagen the company that it is, or well what it was a few weeks ago, would mean going into the history of the organization. Retelling the story from the initial days when it was founded may evoke a sense of nostalgia for its customers and while the new generations may not identify with something that happened decades ago, the values will still resonate. One of the biggest problems VW has at this moment in time is the journey to rebuild the trust and what better way to do it than to tell where it all started. Tell the story again but the meaning it was created. I strongly believe that true regret with a new promise that shows commitment and integrity is a sure way to go.

Businesses of all sizes face many challenge. What matters is how companies at their worst stage are able to change the tide by going back to the principles they were built on. At the end, integrity, dedication and passion are well respected and admired by everyone. Whether Volkswagen will evolve as a brand that was trusted will depend on how the company addresses its challenges. Its definitely a story that will continue to be in the media over the next few years.

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