Where One Door Closes, Another Opens. Especially for GM.

If you haven’t heard, Toyota has recently been hard at work cleaning up the mess of its 2.3 million vehicle recall. While it is potentially devastating for Toyota, whose entire brand image has been based on vehicle reliability, it led for some pretty opportunistic moments for others in the auto industry.

Hardly anyone took advantage, but GM stepped up to the plate with an awesome incentive program that helped capture what would otherwise be some pretty loyal Toyota consumers. The best part about GM’s plan is that they didn’t alter their positioning at all. They haven’t made any new promises or changed their advertising. They simply allow Toyota owners (who terminate their Toyota lease, of course) to get up to $1,000 off a new or leased GM vehicle: a pretty good incentive for making the switch. Toyota’s fumble couldn’t have come at a better time for a company like GM; it has allowed them to really push their own promises of reliability and quality to a very tuned in audience with a specific set of needs. So whether or not Toyota is handling their recall the right way is almost beside the point; GM has stepped in at exactly the right time to take advantage of their competitor’s weakness.

As far as any business goes, it is important for your company to be able to handle problems and crises with foresight and grace, but it is just as important to know what is going on beyond your company. Keeping tabs on your industry and your competitors can bring advantageous opportunities to really reach your audience.

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