by Roger Pynn
I’ve bought a lot of new cars in my time, but I’ve never seen a brand work so hard at post-purchase marketing as MINI. For sure this isn’t my first, Cooper. I go way back to the late 60s with Britain’s favorite economy car, which just happened to be one of the winningest race cars in history, and in its rebirth by BMW in 2001 one of the hottest brands worldwide.
So it didn’t take a lot on MINI’s part to get me to return to my roots when my Lexus SUV (a phenomenal vehicle that served me nearly 290,000 miles) was ready for a new garage. I’m sure I’m wearing a fixed grin these days driving my little MINI Clubman (a racing machine disguised as station wagon), although I’m sure some of my friends think I’ve lost a couple of lug nuts upstairs.
Despite the fact that I’m already in love with the little thing – as most MINI owners are, according to all the auto rating books – what arrived in the mail this week not only reinforced how pleased I am with the decision to buy it … it reminded me that the sale is not over until you’ve got either a brand ambassador or a repeat customer, or both.
MINI has created a voice for its vehicles far larger than the little boxes that are just 4’ 8” tall and less than two inches wider. They work tirelessly to make you part of a word-of-mouth army of recruiters with a quirky message and marketing communications tools not only designed to make you a loyalist, but to loosen your wallet for literally millions of after-sale add-ons that make their cash registers ring and your MINI a four-wheeled reflection of your personal brand.
Of all the things that arrived in Saturday’s package (including the envelope that turned into a tiny logoed backpack, a set of cards to give your closest friends telling them all the MINI gifts you’d like at holiday time [cha ching] and a mini fuzzy die to stick on top of your MINI’s mini antenna), the book 101 Fundamentals of Good Motoring tops the list.
“Fundamental #11: Be a Good-for-Something: Motorers (what MINI calls drivers) are more than just good drivers. They’re good citizens, too. That’s why we created Motoring Hearts, a program that makes it easy to find and participate in volunteer opportunities that are unique to your interests. Handy with power tools? Help build a home. Good with kids? Be a mentor. Like the roof on a MINI convertible, a motorer’s heart is always open. To learn more, visit MINIMOTORINGHEARTS.COM.”
That’s brilliant. Just imagine all those products gathered around doing good. What a billboard!
More than an hour after opening the package, I was still reading, laughing and saying to myself “I love my MINI” … which has to be making some marketer at MINI USA very happy.