While traveling through Europe with my family, we decided to hire a car to explore Spain and Italy.
It sounded idyllic, despite xenephobic stories of terrible driving and mental images of getting stuck on tiny back streets sandwiched between heritage-listed walls, cobbled roads and thousand-year-old cottages.
But to make sure it was as relaxing as possible, we decided the best thing would be to rely on a GPS rather than our limited map-reading skills. With that in mind we happily paid to rent a GPS that almost cost as much as the car itself.
What we got was the Hertz NeverLost®. It didn’t register with me at first, but Hertz had rebranded a Tom-Tom GPS for their fleets.
So far, so what?
It was only while using the NeverLost® did it dawn on me that something, people in marketing do themselves a disservice trying to be too clever with communication without understanding the product or how customers interact with it. The NeverLost® was great: it took me to my destination, it found the best route and kept me informed about when I had to change lanes, turn or anything else I had hoped a navigator would assist me with.
However, a GPS is not foolproof: I put in the wrong information and it took me to my destination which turned out be a hotel only 2 hours drive from the one I had meant to go to. It also ran out of battery because the power cable was unplugged. Most importantly of all, sometimes the road I was traveling down, didn’t exist in it’s database.
None of these caused too much pain. A recalculation here, learning to double-check that I entered the information correctly or just looking around for a road that it did recognise solved all these issues and we were quickly on our way. What did cause the pain was the brand promise staring me in the face, almost teasing me: Never Lost. It wasn’t true. It could never be, when there’s interaction with human beings with independent thought. Hertz should know that the NeverLost® was never going to get me to my destination every possible time.
Every time I had to check with the GPS because I was potentially lost, it failed in its promise. An impossible promise to maintain because Hertz marketing had chosen to emphasis the probable downside of their product. A GPS doesn’t stop you getting lost, in fact if you’re using one it probably means you’re more likely to get lost and then want the GPS to help you find your way.
A clever name is not good marketing. Understanding how your customer interacts with your product and how it benefits them as a human being is.