Changing the Pace

Posted on July 25, 2007

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Back to the real world.  I returned from vacation this week with lots of fresh ideas for the blog, most of which were borrowed from family and friends on the road.

Most recently, I’ve been considering a post on "companies I love" and what I found is that when I made my list, there’s one thing all my favorite companies have in common: their marketing campaigns, their brand and executive personalities, and the way they deliver on promises are all consistent.  I know who they are or who they’re trying to be, and I feel connected to them, enough so that I spread the word without being asked, and without the promise of a customer loyalty reward.  The full list will come another time, but for today, let’s focus on one company in particular: Zipcar.

I recently read this Brandweek article, which discussed the changing nature of marketing campaigns for car sharing companies like Zipcar, Flexcar and others.  Essentially, the companies originally focused on the "green" benefits of using a car sharing service, but they’ve since changed their outbound communications to reach GenXYZers like me.  They now have campaigns to target young, urban apartment dwellers who are looking for a convenient, cost-effective way to get around once in a while. 

It’s interesting to me that car sharing companies (for the most part) abandoned the big push around being "green" just as everyone else (following Al Gore) jumped on the bandwagon.  Turns out, it was a great move if we’re judging by the number of people using the services in cities around the world.  Don’t get me wrong, I want to be "green" just as much as the rest of my generation, but that’s certainly not what drove me to Zipcar and it’s not how I persuade friends to join.

Now that Zipcar is directly targeting me with their marketing initiatives, I feel like I "know" the company and I’m bound to keep spreading the word about them.  There’s still a "green" component, which you can read all about on their Web site.  But more importantly, Zipcar’s newsletters, street marketing teams and member home page (really, everything down to the literature you find in the glove box) all convey a consistent tone and message that speaks directly to Zipcar’s core target audience and current Zipsters. 

Zipcar is one of the best examples of consistency in marketing that you’ll find.  And because I can’t resist videos, here’s one from another person who loves Zipcar (surprisingly, or maybe not, there are lots of similar videos on YouTube):

Zipcar campaigns: 5/5 stars 

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