Are your drivers building up or tearing down your brand?
Some businesses have their drivers take company trucks home and dispatch them straight to the job. It’s an efficient practice. However, if vehicles are used when or where they shouldn’t be during non-working hours, it can have a negative impact on your brand.
Do you want your vehicles spotted towing a boat to the lake or running personal errands? It happens more often than you would think. Unauthorized usage not only wastes company fuel, but it also gives your business the wrong kind of attention.
To avoid getting noticed for the wrong reasons, you can use vehicle GPS tracking to let you know when any of your company vehicles are going places they shouldn’t, or moving during non-working hours.
“Telematics can help to ensure driver performance by monitoring speed, and monitoring the hard turns, but there are times when we will get a call and it will be because the vehicle has a logo on it, and someone saw the truck, and the driver was driving erratically,” explains David Thornton, Vice President Sales & Client Services, Foss National Leasing. “You don’t even need a 1-800 number on the side of the truck, because you are a moving billboard.”
That’s why most companies now put a clause into the company policy document stipulating how to drive that vehicle. “If you are a high-exposure company like a Coca-Cola, you may want to get your drivers to sign something twice a year acknowledging that they will use this vehicle in a professional, safe manner,” Thornton adds. “When you log on to your company computer, you get a screen that says, ‘This is the property of X company and you will use this for business purposes only.’ The company vehicle falls under the same restrictions.”
Building your brand
“I think the bigger question here is, are they driving the right vehicle to properly represent the company?” adds Raymond Jozwiak, Global Fleet Manager for Cunningham Lindsey. Based in Florida, Cunningham Lindsey provides loss adjusting, claims management and risk solutions to insurers, brokers and risk managers worldwide. The company has insurance adjusters in France, the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Canada and the US.
“When you represent a company around the world where people are driving a nice car, like a BMW 7 Series, that might send the wrong image to your clients. They might think they are overpaying for your service. We don’t want them to think that, so when we are weighing the benefits of the car program, we have to consider this,” Jozwiak says.
“We have a division of Cunningham Lindsey called EFI Global (Engineering, Fire Investigation). They do all lines of environmental services, engineering, and they also do fire origin investigation. They have done a fantastic job of establishing their brand. The men and women who show up to one of these claims show up in a white Toyota Tacoma truck. That’s their brand. This brand has distinguished them from other competitors,” explains Jozwiak.
Building a positive brand image is incredibly important. It’s how your customers recognize and remember you. Along with ensuring your brand is recognized for the right reasons, it’s also important to avoid getting noticed for the wrong ones. No matter how much budget or strategy you allocate to marketing, if your drivers are being reckless on the road or using company vehicles where and when they shouldn’t be, that is the impression that will stick.