How NOT to Reward Customer Loyalty
  by:  |  Jan 15, 2008

It is axiomatic that one of the best ways to create brand loyalty and encourage future purchases from your customers is to reward loyal purchasers. The more loyal the customer, the more you should value them. Apparently, this isn’t the case for Ford Motor Company. This article shows Ford engaging in conduct that is directly contrary to the above mentioned axiom.

According to the author, Ford stepped in to prohibit a Mustang enthusiasts club from creating a calendar with pictures of their cars. Ford is doing this under the guise of enforcing its trademarks. They are not only attempting to claim a trademark of the Ford emblems, but the vehicles themselves, claiming that they have a continuing trademark over their vehicles even after the vehicles have been purchased. The concept is arguable legally, but from a business standpoint, the enforcement makes no sense.

Think about what they are doing. They are taking an action which seems intentionally designed to alienate customers loyal enough to create a club centered around Ford vehicles. This is not even an issue of the Mustang owners attempting to profit from the pictures. This is a group of friends attempting to show off their cars to each other. Ford is enforcing its trademark for no other reason but the fact that they can.

This is simply not smart business. Customers will remember a percieved or real slight even more than they remember a kindness or favor. The goal is to encourage customers to stay loyal, not penalize them for showing that loyalty.

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