Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Credit Card Solicitations Reduce Brand Value

What is it with these credit card companies and their sponsor brands? Don't they see they are hurting their brand image? I have always been fascinated by this. After I graduated from UC Irvine, the first 5 communications I got from the school were all credit card solicitation requests. What value did I have for UCI? I was a piece of data to be sold to the highest bidder. Not an alumni who might give money at some point.

All kinds of companies are on this bandwagon. My smart friend Mike Kelly, CEO of Techtel (Techtel.com) and I were talking about this today. Undesired credit card solicitations are not benign communications - they are negative communications. Every time we receive these communications, we think less about that brand. At home, my wife and I receive almost two solicitations every day. Ask my wife what she thinks of Chase! I can't image what kind of investment that company would have to make to restore their tarnished image in her eyes.

Today, I received a solicitation from Nordstroms thanking me for being a valued customer. So valued, they sold my name to a third party credit card company (wasn't even for a Norstrom card). What does that do to my feelings about Nordstroms? Don't bet they went up. One of the key ideas behind The Paradox of Excellence, our new book, is this notion having positive, brand-reinforcing communications, not continuously bombarding customers with negative experiences.

You'd think they would have learned by now. Guess not.

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