MINI USA Pushes Limits Of Brand Transparency
Even by current standards of brand openness and transparency, MINI USA pushed the limits, in 2011, when it began letting car owners rate dealers directly on dealer Websites. No, the initial response from those dealers wasn’t great, admits Tom Salkowky, department head of MINI Marketing, MINI USA. “ It was something like, ‘Are you crazy,’” Salkowky told OMMA Global attendees on Tuesday morning. “And I’m filtering that response for this audience.” Over the past two years, however, the dealer community has learned to appreciate the star rating as a valuable tool for strengthening the services they offer, and overall consumer trust. (Or, at least, that’s according to Salkowky.) Not quite real-time, owner posts don’t show up on dealer sites for about a week. Still, the success of the experiment should give more brands the courage to test their own thresholds for transparency and openness, Salkowky said.