• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Would you buy a Toyota? Not a chance.

If I were Toyota, I would brace myself for a serious erosion of its sales. Why? Well not simply because of the recall affecting millions of cars. I would prepare myself for a sales drop due to a mediocre brand promise that says Toyota is only about reliability and craftsmanship.

We see the same exact issue affecting fast food pizza — pizza chains think they can own the mind of consumers by telling us to choose based on what should be the lowest common denominator in the category.  For pizza, it is a battle over “tastes pretty good” (read my recent blog on Domino’s) and for automobiles it is “reliability.”

Answer me this, aside from getting place-to-place, why else would you buy any car? Would anyone actually buy a car they thought was unreliable?

It is no wonder the automobile industry is in such a shambles. Major manufacturers like Ford, GM, Nissan, Honda, VW, Chrysler and Toyota believe they can differentiate themselves by such mundane promises. Promises that should be the minimum requirements to be a manufacturer in the first place.

I would suggest that the automobile industry stop the myopic view of their brands and spend a bit of time and energy in figuring out just what their potential customers aspire to become and own if any of them want to actually steal market share from their competitors (read about a CEO’s role in all of this), build brand preference and increase sales.

Shame on Toyota for thinking that we all aspire to realize basic promises and mediocrity.  Would I buy a Toyota since the recall? I would hope that any car I buy would be at a minimum — reliable. If Toyota promises me only that, no, I won’t buy one because they let me down.

I’d like to think I deserve more than being treated like an imbecile.

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