Field of Vision
from the editor
Are Your Customers Branded—Yet?
by Penny Stacey
Most of us have a loyalty to some brand—whether it’s Starbucks coffee,
a particular vehicle manufacturer, maybe Nike or Adidas shoes, a certain
type of spaghetti sauce, or a particular grocery store; the list goes
But there are many, many items that most of us are comfortable buying
generic. For example, I am perfectly happy with generic plastic wrap (over
the often popular Saran™ wrap), even if it doesn’t always cling the way
it’s supposed to, off-brand potato chips and generic canned goods. I personally
just can’t see where Del Monte (or whatever brand) peas are necessarily
going to be better in taste or quality than my grocer’s supplier.
An industry executive recently suggested, though, that just the way consumers
are very particular about their brands with certain items—such as coffee
or gasoline—the same soon is going to happen with glass. This is further
reinforced by the many value-added enhancements we’ve seen in windshields
in recent years—everything from acoustics (glass that reduces noise for
its passengers), to rain sensors, even to heated windshields.
I spoke to representatives of two manufacturers—Pilkington and Carlex—about
the topic of auto glass branding and both noted that they are encouraging
retailers to promote their brands directly to consumers (see related story
on page 40). Pilkington
even is in the process of launching a targeted program that will go directly
to consumers to educate them on the value of the Pilkington brand (and
original-equipment manufactured glass in general).
But you’ll notice a glaring omission from the article—a retail perspective.
That is because, unfortunately, I couldn’t find a retailer that is pushing
brand actively at this point. I spoke to one of the industry’s pioneers,
who shall remain nameless, but he said at this point his company brings
up brand only if the consumer is really pushing for a dealer part. Otherwise,
the company merely promotes OEM products and their benefits. He said this
could change when and if consumers do reach the point where they are aware
of the variety in auto glass brands, but this time hasn’t arrived yet.
As always, I’d like to hear from you, though. Are you seeing an increase
in brand awareness? And, if not, do you think this will change? Beyond
that, how do you handle instances in which consumers insist on dealer
parts—but are insured by companies that aren’t willing to pay for them?
Please email me at email@example.com@glass.com.
Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine.
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.