Thursday, June 10, 2010

GM backtracks on Chevy memo: "poorly worded"

Recognizing that the word "Chevy" had acquired meaning as a source-identifier and a following among consumers, GM reversed course on a strategy in an internal memo to minimize use of "Chevy." The New York Times reported:

G.M. issued a press statement on Thursday [10 June 2010] that said the internal memo had been “poorly worded.” The statement said that the memo reflected Chevrolet’s strategy as it expanded internationally, but that the company was not “discouraging customers or fans from using” Chevy.

“In global markets,” the statement said, “we are establishing a significant presence for Chevrolet and need to move toward a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes. The memo in question was one step in that process.”

G.M. also posted on Chevrolet’s YouTube channel a video interview with Alan S. Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service and one of two who signed the memo. In the video, Mr. Batey uses Chevy no fewer than six times in less than two minutes.

The interesting part of the memo revealed a "trademark purification" strategy among EMPLOYEES:

A postscript to the memo says a sort of cuss jar—a plastic "Chevy" can—has been placed in the hallway. "Every time someone uses 'Chevy' rather than Chevrolet," the note said, the employee is expected to put a quarter in the can.

from General Motors Bans Chevy, and Elton John?


In the "Chevy memo" incident, the employees were the ultimate targets of a poorly thought out strategy at GM.
Of "things employees would like to say to bosses," see Karen Burns -->

1. "Give me the tools I need to do a good job." If you're unsure, ask me. But, basically, time, materials, information, maybe even a little authority--these are what I need to succeed.

2. "Admit it when you make a mistake." It shows you're not afraid and is the best way to earn my respect. Whatever you do, don't act as if you never make mistakes. That's just ridiculous. [In the Chevy memo matter, managers said "poorly worded."]

3. "Don't treat me like a cog on a wheel." I'm an individual. If I screw up, tell me. If someone else in my group screws up, tell him. Don't blame the whole team.

4. "Ask for my opinion from time to time." I might be able to offer some good ideas if you listened to me even half as much as you expect me to listen to you.

5. "I truly need frequent feedback." Please don't wait till the year-end performance review. I can do a better job for you if you let me know what I'm doing wrong, and what I'm doing right, on a regular basis.

6. "Don't leave me hanging out to dry." When things go south I need you to be a leader and back me up. If you are not loyal to me, it is impossible for me to be loyal to you.

7. "I can't hear you when you shout." Maybe someone once told you intimidation is a good management tool. But seriously, yelling at employees just makes you look weak and ineffectual.

8. "Don't make me work with idiots." I realize it's not easy but if there's a problem person in the group it's your job to resolve the situation. Don't let it drag on and on. It poisons the whole workplace.

9. "Have a clear agenda." If you don't know what you want, how do you expect me to? I need you to understand your own goals, and communicate them to me clearly.

10. "Don't lie about deadlines." There is no better way to lose the trust of your people than to set "fake" deadlines. Trust me enough to be honest with me and I'll do a good job for you.

11. "Be predictable." If you behave erratically I will spend more time and energy worrying about what you're going to do next than working.

12. "Mentor me." Ask me my goals. Give me projects that help me develop and grow. I will do a fabulous job for you if you take an interest in me and my career. And that's a win-win.


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