|Changing the Image of an Entire Industry
| The promotion of sales on a significant level required that American Honda expand its sales network and advertise its products in a manner that was palatable to consumers. And obviously this meant doing away with the negative image surrounding motorcycles and the motorcycle industry in general.
It was decided that all company associates were to wear business suits, and that service personnel were to maintain their work clothes in immaculate condition. In greeting the customer, one would not fail to present himself in a professional, courteous manner with clean, pressed clothes. This message was even stressed to the managers of dealerships handling Honda motorcycles. In addition, documentation was prepared covering sales methods and service techniques, and classes were held throughout the network as a means of educating dealers in the ways of American Honda.
Dealership managers, having been made aware that American consumers found dirty, greasy motorcycle shops very unappealing, were urged to renovate. As an added encouragement, American Honda built its own shop featuring a lot for test drives and a sparkling showroom. It was all part of the effort to wipe out the negative associations Americans had concerning the typical motorcycle shop. Unfortunately, though, Honda's self-owned showroom was eventually shut down, having been found in violation of existing laws regulating manufacturer ownership of dealerships.
American Honda also fostered an environment in which the dealers could devise their own ad campaigns. Top-selling dealers were given subsidies to cover a portion of these expenses, inspiring the shops to compete using a positive, "can do" approach.
It was clear that these efforts would be fruitful. The dealership managers began to involve themselves in promotional activities, and were actively enhancing the appearance of their shops. Many used their money to create an atmosphere that was friendly to women and children, as well as adult male consumers. Others spent their subsidies on advertising to promote their own shops and products. Some even offered their products for use in community volunteer activities.
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|<< Selling to America ... with Eight Employees|
|<< Problems with the Main Product|
|<< The Motorcycle as Popular Product|
|<< Changing the Image of an Entire Industry|
|<< Nicest People Campaign Causes a Sensation|
|<< Coping with a Sales Slump in the Mid-60s|
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|<< Satisfaction: Our Own Customers, Our Own Work|
|<< American Activities Take Root|