I haven’t been that excited to watch a reality TV show in a long time. Why? While I do enjoy Celebrity Apprentice it’s mostly because I’m doing marketing for Detroit based Buick Dealership, Ray Laethem. In fact, when my partner and I found out on Sunday, March 4 that the Verano was going to be featured on the next episode, we created a new microsite that shows Detroit area lease deals on the Buick Verano. I also spent the entire episode live-tweeting as Laethem Buick. The latter was a truly unique experience especially when the boo birds came out. People are nasty to brands. But that’s not the point of this post.
The point of this post is to talk about the Verano, the episode and how Buick could have better capitalized on this opportunity.
First, the Verano. I feel bad for the little luxury car now because it’s taking a bit of a beating for being affiliated with the show. The car is very nice and I actually test drove and blogged about it last week. Here is a link to my post entitled: Way to go Detroit: the Buick Verano is a great car. Long story short: the Buick Verano comfortable, quiet and has amazing technology called “Intellilink” that looks like this:
The episode itself seemed to start off on the wrong foot and was full of lessons for those who pay attention.
Lesson #1- if the Donald tells you to be project manager on a task, don’t flip it over to someone else. Adam Carolla should have never been project manager. Michael Andretti should have taken that role the moment it was suggested. Both got what they deserved at the end of the day.
Lesson #2- if there are only 7 people who need transport, get yourself a Buick Enclave or some other vehicle with 3 rows of seats. Nobody wants to feel like people are talking behind their back. This gets exasperated when you put their backs in a different van than yours.
Lesson #3- ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE CUSTOMER. Way too many salespeople and business folks alike think it’s more important to speak to sound intelligent and often do so at their own peril. Your customer will tell you exactly how to sell them. You may not like Buick’s brand, message or the way they communicate it, but it is theirs. There was a certain man in the episode who paid little attention when he should have been paying the most.
Lesson #4 There’s a difference in being a project manager and a project dictator. Smart project managers leverage the collective knowledge of their team and they put it to good use. Less smart project managers sing songs no one wants to hear or end up getting fired.
Lesson #5- It’s barely acceptable to be a one trick pony. When all you can do is offer the same idea over and over your teammates will find little use for you. As you begin to sense that is true, your likely reaction is to try and throw them under the bus before they do it to you. This is not a good long-term strategy and does not build a good working environment.
Lesson #6- Just because you think you’re funny doesn’t mean you’re funny. As a guy who thinks he’s funny I almost take issue with that statement, but since I know enough people who don’t find me funny, I realize it’s true. In related news, regardless of how funny you may be, funny isn’t always appropriate.
Lesson #7- Just because you pronounced a name wrong and you maybe should be fired, doesn’t mean you will be. As I mentioned, I live tweeted as Laethem Buick during the episode and at one point tweeted that Buick should hire Aubrey O’Day because of her creativity. Not 30 seconds after I tweeted that Ms. O’Day had to remove her foot from her mouth as she referred to the Verano as Verona. Clearly the Buick folks didn’t mind enough…but should they have?
Lesson #8- Even if you know you’re the only one who F’d up, bring others to the boardroom with you. While it seems like the honorable thing to do to stand alone. It’s not. Clearly. You never know how someone else will react under pressure. They may make a mistake that allows you to live for another day (or episode as the case may be).
So far many of these ideas have focused on the actual game. But what did we learn about Buick and how they handled themselves? My initial response is there are some definite lessons for them too.
Lesson #9- And this is a BIG one- IF you make a decision to throw a “Twitter event” AND you pre-record it, than dangnabbit you’d better have ALL HANDS on deck responding via Twitter while the event is going on. Buick got virtually trashed last night. People thought the wrong team won and that the executives were out of touch. Both of which needed to be addressed immediately if not sooner. You know what the amazing thing about Twitter is? They could have addressed it in just these issues immediately, if not sooner.
Lesson 10- Buick executives are out of touch. It’s not their fault. They suffer from the old “this is the way we’ve always done things” stigma. Here’s the deal Buick, if you don’t want people to consider you as the old stodgy Buick of yore, stop acting like it. Loosen up. Have fun. You’re building really cool cars with excellent technology that could appeal to a new generation. Find people who understand that generation and let them make your stuff appealing.
Lesson 11- Buick is moving into new territory and targeting new audiences and reaching them in new ways. That’s tough and is worthy of being commended. Keep trying. Don’t make your decisions in a vacuum. Reach out to smart people in the area who are willing to help. There are lots of folks in Detroit and around the world who will continue to pull for your success. Keep reaching for it.
What did you think of the episode? Did the right team win? What do you think of this post? If you don’t answer one of these questions…YOU’RE FIRED!!!