Perils of being a “brand protector”

I’m sure you all have seen the bad publicity SAP Services got via a news story on Bloomberg about the Shane Company bankruptcy filing.  Josh Greenbaum picked apart the piece pretty comprehensively (here) and the Shane Company itself came out with provided a statement that SAP can use to clear the air (NOTE: struck out section reworded in bold to clarify):

Press coverage resulting from the Shane Company Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing has unfairly characterized SAP as the cause of Shane Company’s cost overruns based on the software applications licensed from SAP in 2005. Project implementation cost overruns were caused by a failed implementation process utilizing multiple third-party industry experts.  After not meeting expectations, the Shane Company contracted SAP Services to restart the project which they played a key role in implementing, stabilizing, and further enhancing the system.  In fact, we have a strong business relationship with SAP and will continue working with them as we emerge from our Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

It is a different consulting business when you’re the services arm of a product company, especially one with a prominent brand.  SAP Services must be vigilant to ensure that our brand value protection efforts aren’t in vain.  It is tough enough to get projects back on track without then seeing stories that suggest we weren’t effective.

Our new patio door and brand promises

We just had a new patio door installed — it’s an Andersen door that replaces the no-name door that came with the house.  The quality of the glass, the amazingly easy glide in the track, the fit and finish of the hardware are all outstanding.  The door itself is everything that you’d expect from the Andersen brand.

But when I sat down at the kitchen table and admired the new door, none of those first impressions were top-of-mind.  What I remembered was the impossibility of getting replacement parts for our no-name door, in particular the door lock.  When the lock had broken, neither we nor our locksmith could find a replacement.  We ended up paying good money to install a separate lock.  The locksmith’s words: “Well, you wouldn’t have had to worry about that with an Andersen.”

Why do so many firms brag about an “initial satisfaction award from rating firm X”?  Talk to me about whether you’ll be able to service your product in five years or about how many of your customers buy from you again — then I’ll begin to be impressed.

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