Brand Promise and Guarantee Differences between BMW, Hyundai & Toyota

By Alan Gehringer

To support growing your top line, you need to have an effective Brand Promise and Brand Promise Guarantee. The Brand Promise should help promote sales while the guarantee should take the risk out of buying for your customer and hurt if you have to exercise or live up to it, thereby forcing you to do things right and offer the best quality product and service in a way that sets you apart in your market.

I am considering a new vehicle as my two boys are outgrowing our FJ Cruiser, which we use for trips. Truth is, they are out growing me, but that is another story! As I start the search for a replacement, I cast the net wide, looking at brands I do not usually consider in an effort to be open-minded. We have traditionally driven Toyota and BMW’s – very different brands for sure with different Brand Promises and Guarantees. A friend of mind just purchased a new Hyundai Azera, again a very different brand and guarantee offered. I will say, it was the first time that I have been in a Hyundai when I was truly impressed. The car was beautifully appointed, quiet, smooth and had a fantastic sound system. I also looked around at Acuras, Audis, Dodges, Volkswagens and few other mid sized SUV’s. I find myself coming back to BMW, Toyota, and Lexus, a Toyota brand. 

So, you might be asking where am I going with this. Well, I started thinking about the Brand Promise and Guarantee each one of these makers offer. I tend to keep cars longer than the average buyer does, and I am very passionate about how cars look, drive and last. Therefore, the Brand Promise and Guarantee are very important to me and help guide my decision. I thought it would be worth looking at how these three companies in the same industry chose to complete and stand behind their promise.

Let’s start with Hyundai; for as long as I can remember, they have been offering a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty on their cars. I believe this is the best warranty in the business. They needed to do this when they first came to the US market to reduce the risk of buying their products and convince customers it was safe to do so. The quality was not up to that of other major auto manufacturers at the time, but that has changed. Hyundai is now often compared to Toyota and Honda, and in some cases offer more car for the money, therefore, pushing the value equation to new heights which I believe is part of their Brand Promise. The Brand Promise Guarantee is the warranty they offer. It reduces the risk of doing business with them, and it really hurts when they have to absorb the cost of warranty work. This is a very good example of an effective Brand Promise Guarantee. 

Now let us move on to one of my favorite car brands, Toyota. Toyota has built an incredible reputation for high quality cars, reliability and fantastic resale value. It is not uncommon to talk to a Toyota owner with 300,000 miles on their vehicle. Toyota doesn’t have a great reputation for fun to drive cars, but that’s not what their key customers, or “Who,” are looking for in most instances. Their cars are built with a high attention to detail and good materials; they’re quiet, smooth and comfortable. I have had a lot of peace of mind with every Toyota I have bought because I just don’t have to worry about them, as they don’t fail very often.

I Just had my FJ cruiser in for inspection at my local dealer who is also an Audi dealer. I have always had a soft spot for German cars having owned Porsches and BMWs, so I asked how the reliability was on Audis these days. The service manager responded as they do every time I have asked this question, “better than they were in the past but we still see their cars a whole lot more often than we do Toyotas.” This substantiates Toyota’s Brand Promise right from the dealer’s service department.  

Resale value on Toyotas are at the top of the list as well as their higher end Lexus brand, and this stems from the fact that their cars are bulletproof reliable and will last for a very long time with few issues. Toyota, like other manufactures, has had a few recalls the past few years, but all in all Toyota buyers have had such a fantastic experience it has not really hurt the brand much. People that buy Toyotas know what to expect and that they’re going to get a very high-quality reliable car even if they have to give up a bit of driving experience in the process.

Toyota also stands behind their cars very well and are an easy company to deal with if something goes wrong. I once had an issue with the Camry we own; it was out of warranty and in typical Toyota fashion they still covered the repair saying this should not have happened with so few miles on it. Again, supporting the fact that I have peace of mind knowing that I get a strong reliable car with a company that will stand behind me. Toyota stands behind their product long after the warranty is over and hence this is part of the Brand Promise Guarantee.

Now let us take a look at BMW. This is definitely one of my favorite cars on the road and has been one of the most enjoyable brands to drive. The Brand Promise Guarantee is very different compared to Toyota or Hyundai, though. BMW builds very high quality cars from a fit and finish standpoint, but as with most German cars, the reliability is not what you expect with Toyota. Some say that they over engineer their cars and go to extremes with new technology that can lead to more electrical problems. What BMW offers instead is the ultimate driving experience. Their cars are designed and manufactured to perform at the highest levels possible, handle incredibly well and provide the driver with feedback that creates an exhilarating experience. My 3 Series has been one of the most fun cars I have ever owned, only behind a Porsche 911. BMW is trying to reposition themselves by providing a low cost of ownership and offering 4 years and 50,000 miles of free service bumper to bumper. I think this is the Brand Promise Guarantee they are offering to help lower the cost of ownership, remove some of the risk for customers and stand behind their Brand Promise. 

So, there you have it: three very different car companies with three very different Brand Promises and Guarantees. I think all three have done a fine job creating their Brand Promise and Guarantee. Which one will I choose? The jury is still out, but it’s very clear what I will get when I make the choice.

Thanks for reading, Alan

Editor's Note: This blog was originally published on May 6, 2015 and has been updated.

Rhythm Systems Brand Promise Tool

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Alan Gehringer


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