Surviving the jungle of superlatives and wild marketing

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Is the consumer market really just a jungle of wild superlatives, fancy adjectives and creative marketing jargons? To anyone taking a closer look, it will certainly seem that way. Whether you’re in the market for a new mattress, TV, car or home; or perhaps you’re planning a holiday getaway, and deciding what to fly and where to stay; or even debating the best petrol to power your pocket rocket, the storylines often don’t stray very far.

But to what extent do these claims or boasting of prowess by marketers and advertisers alike, influence the consumers purchasing behavior and brand preference? Are we all suckers for a world of make-believe and that all-elusive perfection? Do people really buy into the carefully researched and crafted product stories strategically delivered through various channels of the media? Well if none of these was true or even worked, companies won’t still be spending millions of dollars doing it all around the world, year after year and campaign after campaign.

For certain, the problem lies not in communicating these messages but in truly embodying and living up to all that’s said. Everyone or any brand can, with the help of a team of designer and writer, come up with a bunch of sexy visuals and slogans. Won’t even cost that much to have them published in a couple of magazines and newsletters. Or as with the latest trend, simply click a few buttons and blast them all over Planet Zuckerberg for all to see (and Like!).

It is a fact though, that it’s almost impossible to live up to every single high standard or lofty promise, 100% of the time. Even the most highly acclaimed brands suffer from the occasional bad review or nasty remark from time to time – either as a result of a lapse in judgment or a genuine misunderstanding during the course of service. In this world of super-activity and hyper-connectivity, there’s just too much going on at once, and some things can be beyond the control of anyone but God. And as we were all taught growing up, shit happens.

For us, being in the service industry on the slightly premium end of the scale, it becomes ever more challenging to maintain our reputation and ensure consistency in the customer’s experience day in and day out. True to form, policies and SOPs are debated, set and put in place. That alone though is not enough, as expectations and the level of understanding of each customer differs. Take for example our recent promo to drive traffic to our new Damansara flagship and letting people experience our service firsthand. We came up with the simple idea of giving out a free car wash to anyone who signed up on our blog. It certainly did attract a whole bunch of people from a wide cross-segment of the city. They came from far and wide in their Mercs, Bimmers and Hondas. There were also number of Audis, Peugeot and Mazdas. And of course some of the common local variants as well to even things out. But one thing that stood out to me was the number of Ford Fiestas – yes they showed up in droves and I probably didn’t realise it had gotten so popular in recent times.

But the point I wanted to make here is that these people came from all walks of life with varying degrees of knowledge and experience in car care, or in the level of appreciation and love they had for their vehicles. But hey, it was a complimentary car wash worth RM25 after all, and in Malaysia especially, FREE unites us all. So it wasn’t a matter of what car they drove. Or how pretty or not they appeared. In fact, there was a lesson to be learned through our interaction with a few of those who came and pointed out that for the money we charged, our car wash actually sucked. To them, it was so bad they’d rather continue paying the 8 or 10 bucks at their usual joints for a much cleaner wash.

Auto Bath Card

Our newly designed Auto Bath Card gives you 1 extra wash when you pay upfront for 5 sessions.

You see, when a car’s been left out there for some time, the accumulated dirt and grime bonds to the body like glue, particularly on cars that have not been protected with a surface coating of some sort. And as you might guess, it would take the harshest detergents and corrosive chemicals with a good amount of abrasive scrubbing to strip them all off. But this is exactly what’s done by certain car wash operators to give you that super sterile result that makes you think oh wow, car’s never been cleaner. But just like soaking your fine garments in a bucket of bleach, gone with the dirt are also some of the colour, finishing, texture and overall elasticity of the fabric. Gone, gone and never coming back. What you have now instead, is a bunch of swirl marks and fine scratches all over the vehicle.

What we use here on the other hand, is quality pH-neutral shampoo and gentle microfibre towels that cleans the vehicle without doing much other damage to the clear coat or paint. For some of the tougher stains that might remain, a little professional detailing work with the right equipment and products is in order to rectify and safely remove them. Most of the customers who took the time to listen to us explain with an open mind, actually understood and accepted this rationale. The very few who didn’t will have to learn it the hard way in time down the road.

If you’re the kind who usually wash your car about once a week, you may want to consider buying our Auto Bath Card. For a regular saloon and below, a single wash costs RM25. This card gives you 5 sessions + 1 FOC which means you pay RM125 for 6 washes. 

Now, isn’t that simply the most amazing and incredible deal ever?