It is developed, fostered, cultivated, adapted with a great deal of effort – and also plays a key role for the fleet: what fleet managers need to keep in mind on the important topic of corporate identity.
Whether for the doer or the thinker, the long-established or the newcomer, or for whoever happens to be in the thick of it ... for all the question is what is the right vehicle fleet. When it comes to your company’s image, company cars have always been an extremely important “means of transport”. In the same way as dress style or a person’s behaviour, the appearance of a company car also shapes the perception of recipients in many respects. And this is true both outwardly, for example, in relation to customers, suppliers, the media and the general public, and inwardly in the sense of employees and others. In short: the design and composition of the fleet should always be in harmony with the corporate identity (CI).
Integrating relevant interfaces early on
Fleet managers would therefore do well to first get a clear picture of this very corporate identity. Ultimately, the term is extremely complex and apart from the visual appearance of a company also, for example, addresses its policies, values and general self-understanding. What’s more, especially in dynamic times like these, such aspects are not necessarily set in stone. It is therefore all the more important for meaningful fleet planning in the long term to foster ongoing contact with relevant interfaces in the company – especially the strategy and/or communication department.
Everything has to be right outwardly and inwardly
Once the main key points concerning the company’s CI have been clarified, the next step of selecting the specific vehicle is much easier: from manufacturer to powertrain technology through to vehicle class. Fleet managers have enormous scope in this respect today, with practically every nuance within the context of CI being covered. For example, if the relatively young high-tech company also wants to communicate a certain down-to-earth sense, vehicle attributes such as “progressive technology”, “classic design” and “practicability” must also be reconciled. A further focus is then on the direct purpose of use of the fleet vehicle. A sales representative in the mid-range estate segment meets the B2B customer on an equal footing, neither higher nor lower – just the perfect level. With management, meanwhile, there is scope for combining the powertrain technology with a sophisticated vehicle class in the style of the luxury SUV. In this context, however, fleet managers should always consider that the corporate identity needs to be reflected inwardly, too. This means that if the company has flat hierarchies and an informal culture, excessive nuances in the assigned vehicle classes have a disjointed effect.
CI care also means: increasing driver awareness
Keyword harmony: aside from vehicle selection, this refers to the behaviour of the company car user, too. This is an aspect that fleet managers should pay special attention to, especially in times of fast feedback culture with social media. For example, if an employee leaves their company car running for a disproportionately long time when parked, in order to keep it cool in summer or warm in winter, the painstakingly established image quickly becomes tarnished – especially if sustainability is visibly advertised on the car. The same applies to unnecessary acceleration or generally conspicuous behaviour on the road. In the sense of nurturing the corporate identity, it is therefore recommended to make employees specifically aware of the impact of their behaviour in the public sphere.
Advertising space – but in the right place
And when we are on the topic of vehicle branding or stickers: not only the question of “how” plays an important role here, but also “whether”. Every fleet vehicle is of course potentially an attractive advertising space that is clearly visible from afar. But for advertising to be received correctly and appropriately in every respect, less can sometimes be more. This means that it is best to forego branding on any vehicle that – for whatever reason – does not fully transport the values defined in the CI.
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Status: 29. August 2022
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