Loading the content...
Tag archives for:


MINI Mistake

I was at my parents’ house when they asked me if I had heard about MINI’s massive recall. Actually, I hadn’t caught the news, hadn’t received an e-mail from MINI nor did I catch it in any of my social media feeds.

When I got home, I easily found an article about the recall:  CLICK HERE

I combed through my e-mails just to make sure that I didn’t miss something or that the significant letter didn’t land in spamville. Curiously, nothing.  I started to get a little worried. So I went hunting online to see what I could find.

On the MINI USA twitter feed, there was ONE tweet that addressed the issue, dated January 18th:

I couldn’t understand why MINI was addressing owners after the news had been posted. I couldn’t find anything on the website and I imagined that the phone lines would be tied up. So I tweeted to MINI hoping for some information:

Much to my surprise, I received a call from MINI about 20 minutes later. They received my tweet, looked my name up and contacted me. The woman on the phone told me that it looked my vehicle would be affected and that they were collecting their information before they sent out letter to owners affected by the recall.  I gave her two suggestions:

1. Put up a page on the website where owners could enter their VIN number to see if their car was affected. If the VIN number was a hit, let them know that an e-mail or official letter would be forthcoming.

2. Send out an e-mail, a letter or post a message on the website acknowledging the recall and letting MINI owners know that correspondence would be arriving soon.

I explained that MINI owners shouldn’t have to learn through third parties that their cars may be a part of a massive recall. That new should have come directly from MINI, well before it went public.

I did give MINI a shoutout for responding to my tweet with a phone call:

Today, February 22, I finally received the “official” letter in the form of an e-mail from MINI of San Diego, where I got my car. It said:


Attention all MINI “S” model owners only

Your vehicle may be involved in a product part update for your auxiliary water pump. Please reply to this email with:

Your Name – and if possible the last 7 of your vehicle identification number [located on the driver’s side lower windshield corner]

please email Terry Zito at: [email protected]


And so I responded with the appropriate information and received another e-mail which said only:


VIN #######

Your vehicle has no open recalls per MINI data base and OR is equipped with the updated part.

Thank you again for your business


And that was it. No “Dear Shanna” no signature, no personalization or possibility to exceed my expectations.  So I decided to call the ASK MINI number which was previously tweeted. A man answered this time and I explained the chain of events. I told him that I was confused because the woman I spoke with previously had told me that “it looks like your vehicle is affected.” He asked me who I spoke with (the one time I didn’t actually jot down a name!) because there was “no record of the call” and that my vehicle VIN number was definitely not part of the recall. He then asked me, “How many miles do you have on your vehicle?” And when I told him, he said, “That’s about the same you told us in the last call.”  So I told him, “When I called MINI the last time, that was the first time I called. And the woman I spoke with also asked me for the mileage on my car. So if that is the case, how do you know that that was the mileage I reported in the last call if you have no record of my phone call?”  He was clearly embarrassed and then made the excuse that he was confused.  I ended by telling him that the communication from MINI has been less than stellar, and that as a MINI owner, I simply want to understand if my car has been affected. I also explained that I am not the one who should have to seek out the information, but that MINI should be overly accommodating and make it as easy as possible for owners to get information.

As much as I love my MINI, this episode was thoroughly disappointing. Not only did they not deliver what they promise, but the lack of communication and the strange manner in which they quietly handled this… it’s just not in-line with their brand.  It’s a good lesson for other brands.  Sometimes things happen that are unfortunate. Sometimes mistakes happen.  But if you are a solid brand, you own up to it, and take responsibility for the situation. You can actually take advantage of the situation to deliver your core values and strengthen your brand.

Have you ever had an experience where a brand that you love falls short of your expectations? How did your opinion of that brand change?







Have I? Have You?


Lately I’ve been reading the online magazine Inc. which is geared toward small business owners and entrepreneurs.  I’m loving the tips and advice and chance to learn from others’ experiences.  Today I found this fabulous article which really hit home. It is a completely different concept of achieving success – asking yourself 10 questions.  Once you read the list, I believe you will see how checking in with yourself every day and being focused on results will push you to achieve more.  The article is below or you can read it on the Inc. site – HERE.


10 Questions That Create Success

Want help focusing on what really matters? Ask yourself these on a daily basis.
By Geoffrey James | Jan 23, 2012

Think that success means making lots of money?  Think again.

Pictures of dead presidents have never made anybody happy. And how can you be successful if you’re not happy? And buying things with that all money isn’t much better. A new car, for instance, might tickle your fancy for a day or two–but pride of ownership is temporary.

Real success comes from the quality of your relationships and the emotions that you experience each day. That’s where these 10 questions come in.

Ask them at the end of each day and I absolutely guarantee that you’ll become more successful. Here they are:

1. Have I made certain that those I love feel loved?

2. Have I done something today that improved the world?

3. Have I conditioned my body to be more strong flexible and resilient?

4. Have I reviewed and honed my plans for the future?

5. Have I acted in private with the same integrity I exhibit in public?

6. Have I avoided unkind words and deeds?

7. Have I accomplished something worthwhile?

8. Have I helped someone less fortunate?

9. Have I collected some wonderful memories?

10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?

Here’s the thing.  The questions you ask yourself on a daily basis determine your focus, and your focus determines your results.

These questions force you to focus on what’s really important. Take heed of them and rest of your life—especially your work—will quickly fall into place.

If you found this post helpful, click one of the “like” buttons or sign up for the Sales Source “insider” newsletter.

“No plan” is a solid idea

If you haven’t yet read the book REWORK by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeir Hansson, I recommend you pick up a copy.  As a first time business owner, I found their advice and viewpoint refreshing and motivating.

One lesson has been ringing very true in the past couple of weeks. Under “Takedowns” in the first section of their book, they discuss that planning is more a form of fortune telling.  They proclaim is that long-term business plans are a lot like guessing. One sentence I underlined on the page was, “Plans let the past drive the future.”

This would most certainly be the case from my last post as Group Director, Sales & Marketing for Apple Tree Hospitality in SE Asia.  My arrival in December of 2008 could not have been at a worse time in the status of the global economy.  Between August and December that year, the travel industry flipped upside down and sideways.  It was NOT a pretty sight.  The past could not have dictated that overseas travel agents and tour operators would not be able to fill large groups as they had in 2007 and therefore cancel numerous dates booked on the calendar.  The past could not have predicted that agents would want to stop booking one year out, but 90 days prior and therefore change the terms of contracts for groups.  Trade show attendance turned more into lessons about what was happening in overseas markets and changing travel trends than it was gaining new clients. The global events were not predicted or labeled anywhere in the 2009 business plans.

The changes in the travel industry pushed us to drive business online and build entirely new websites for our boutique group of properties.  We had to be more open to last minute bookings locally, push this even, and “go with the flow,” bending to the changes in traveller habits and new business methods of tour operators.

So when I returned to the US and launched my website and business in May, I did not write a specific business plan.  I initially planned to offer services in naming, branding, copywriting and marketing consultation.  I wanted to play to my strengths and my joys.

What’s happened over the last few months is that I have had numerous conversations about my business, about what’s happening in San Diego industries, trends in the US, and certainly what’s happening online, and I’m finding that my focus is being shifted. My contacts are leading me down a path which was unimaginable to me at the beginning of this year, but now is so wonderfully possible. I’m seeing my business, my clients, and my future in a whole new light. It is extremely exciting.

I spoke in my last post about being accepting of change.  And while this piece hints at that, I’d like to suggest “not planning” is more an encouragement to be more open.  Be open and be flexible.  Listen to what your friends, contacts, clients, …what the world is telling you.  Take a moment to realize when new opportunities are staring you in the face.  Be willing to change directions.  Fly by the seat of your pants on occasion.  I’m enormously amazed at how wonderfully things are falling into place and what big cheers I am hearing from all the right people. I’m glad I am ready to shift into a new gear.

Working in the industries I have in the past, I have always subscribed to having a “solid” business and marketing plan.  While it is hard to let go of that completely, I am finding, with the advice of REWORK and the nature of all these fabulous circumstances, that a rough outline and a red notebook filled with scribbles of ideas are working just as well.  I do have goals, a vision of what I want my business to become and what clients I want to serve, but I’m also OK with writing them down in pencil.


Q: Would you feel comfortable without a business plan, or do you find that structure helps you succeed?  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and comments.

Get Bright Life E-News

Get free education and updates from Bright Life Media. E-news contains exclusive content for subscribers only. Say YES to a Bright Life now!


YES Please


Let’s Tweet

Connect on Facebook

Visit Shanna’s Other Sites



Back to top