Lessons Learned From Lincoln

I bet you thought it was referring to Abraham Lincoln. Well, I’m not. I’m referring to the Lincoln division of the Ford Motor Company.

It wasn’t too long ago that Ford was comprised of Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Aston Martin, Mercury and Lincoln. Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s determination to raise capital and to focus the whole company behind one single line of product, resulted in the shedding of these iconic brands. They are all gone from the Ford brand portfolio, with the exception of Lincoln – a product line started by Edsel Ford and in recent times likely associated with airport limo companies.

For those of you that are car enthusiasts, you have likely seen the resurgence of GM’s Cadillac division, now one of GMs most profitable and innovative brands. Ford could not sit on the sidelines as Cadillac sales skyrocketed and its brand took hold of a new generation of young, upwardly mobile consumers. In response, in 2012, Ford made the move to reintroduce the Lincoln brand, under the guise of The Lincoln Motor Company.

It all started out great, with fresh car designs lead by Jim Farley, the new Lincoln division head that was previously responsible for the success of Lexus. In December 2012, after beginning production of its newly designed product line, Lincoln introduced it’s “Does the World Need Another Luxury Car” advertising campaign. It was great advertising of a sexy line of new vehicles that captured the romance of an iconic American brand and our romance of motoring down the streets of America. In March 2013, Ford’s sales were up 7% overall, yet Lincoln sales were down 22.5%.

The new, refreshed Lincoln product design and dynamic multimedia advertising did its job. Lincoln dealers experienced dramatic increase in floor traffic and web inquiries. But there was a problem. A significant problem. Due to production issues with the Lincoln MKZ sedan, the flagship product of the ad campaign, when people visited dealerships, there were no cars to test drive. They didn’t even have a car in the showroom to see. In other words, Lincoln promised a new, unique product and then simply failed to deliver it. Recently, David Kiley a veteran auto journalist wrote on his blog that “Lincoln needs a farewell address.” Lincoln has a lot of work ahead.

Pause for a moment and think about your credit union. What are you promising? What are you delivering? Marketing, smart advertising and all the promises in the world, simply will not help you if you can’t fulfill what you promise and if you don’t manage expectation. Learn from Lincoln. And JC Penny.

Bryan Clagett

Bryan Clagett

Bryan is on the executive team and singularly focused on driving revenue growth through a variety of new initiatives that help financial services and fintech become ever more relevant to ... Web: https://www.strategycorps.com Details