As I’ve said many times before, your brand isn’t about what you say; it’s about what you do. And based on this story (courtesy of Seth Godin‘s blog) of how Progressive Insurance treats its customers, it’s hard to imagine a company doing a more inept job of brand management.
I realize that a lot of people like Progressive’s “Flo” advertising campaign. (I can only assume these people are also big fans of Gallagher and Carrot Top.) Not only have I never been a fan of the campaign’s low-brow, unsophisticated humor, it’s always led me to suspect that the people running Progressive’s marketing department have questionable judgment. Sadly, those suspicions have been confirmed by this story of how Progressive has treated the family of Katie Fisher.
This story tells you two things about Progressive: they’re heartless, and they’re stupid. Heartless because of the way their actions have dumped salt on the emotional wound that Katie’s death caused her family. Stupid because the $75,000 they’re trying to save pales in comparison to the cost of the deservedly horrendous publicity they’ve generated for themselves.
Here’s hoping that Progressive’s management will wake up and not only decide to make good on the money they owe the Fishers, but throw in an extra $100,000 or $250,000 as payment for the badly-needed wake-up call.
It would certainly be the progressive thing to do.