Monday, February 25, 2002

Signs of Intelligent Life at GM

The lease on the Tahoe is up in August and I've been thinking about the next car. I stopped thinking about it today after receiving a direct mail package from GM that enables me to: (1) get out of my existing lease immediately, (2) receive a $750.00 lease loyalty "rebate," (3) waive my security deposit on the next lease, and (4) have GM pay $150 into my Upromise 529 college savings account. I plan to lease a new Tahoe next week.

I've written a number of columns (here's one) about customer loyalty and spoken to company off-sites on the subject. The theme of these columns and speeches has always been the same: stop treating your customers like morons, understand that branding is interactive, add value. So it was nice to receive something in the mail from GM that treated me with respect, understood that branding is interactive and promised to add real value to my life, not just my commute.

By the way, if you don't know about Upromise, I strongly urge you to visit the site, particularly if you have young children or want to contribute to a child's college education. The Upromise program is very straightforward. Some percentage (between 0.5% and 3%) of everything you buy from participating Upromise partners (like CitiGroup, GM, McDonalds, AT&T, Century 21, ExxonMobil, et alia) goes into a 529 College Savings Account for anyone you designate. Most people do it, obviously, for their kids. But some do it for nieces and nephews and children of friends. It's a great idea and a terrific program.