The Reality of Consumer Perception
By George Anderson
Manufacturers and retailers know, while sometimes frustrating, consumer perception is the reality of their business.
The results of a new study conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for General Motors is a perfect illustration of this reality.
Elizabeth Lowery, vice president for environment and energy at GM, says her company is out front when it comes to developing energy efficient vehicles. To support her contention,
Ms. Lowery points to the number of vehicles in the company’s lineup that get 30 miles per gallon or higher (20 models), its $1 billion hydrogen fuel-cell research program, gas-electric
hybrid buses and full-size hybrid SUVs rolling out early next year.
Consumers, however, have a much different view, ranking GM last among major manufacturers for producing energy efficient cars and trucks. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed
by Hart said GM is doing the worst job in this area while only 14 percent said it was doing the best job.
Ford Motors did not fare very well either in the Hart study. Twenty-nine percent of respondents gave the company the lowest mark and only 10 percent gave it the highest rating
for developing energy efficient vehicles.
Christine Morrisroe, a spokesperson for Ford, told USA Today, “There are people who don’t know we have them (hybrids), still. We’re baffled because we keep talking about
Moderator’s Comment: How can retailers and other marketers turn around negative consumer perceptions about their
business or products? Is there a case where a company has turned around its image that you can cite as a point of illustration? –
George Anderson – Moderator