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Kenneth Cole: Overpromising and Underdelivering. Are you doing the same?

Kenneth Cole WarrantyI recently ordered this Kenneth Cole bag from ebags, and I love it.  It’s a nice-looking bag, and very functional.  One of the items that convinced me that this was the perfect bag for me was the 10-year warranty, so I knew my investment was safe.

I got in the bag, and discovered it was actually a lifetime warranty – even better!  That was, until I actually read the warranty.  Can anybody tell me what use a warranty is if it doesn’t cover normal wear and tear?  At least it wasn’t hidden in legalese – they very clearly tell me “We don’t cover jack. Good luck.”

Overpromised and Underdelivered

How many times does this happen?  You come up with a way to differentiate your offering that perfectly fits your brand.  But then your company backs off, turning your substantive offering into marketing fluff (I apologize to my marketing friends).

It’s easy to see how this might have happened.  A staff member suggests you can gain market share by creating a lifetime warranty to highlight the quality construction in the product.  Then somebody gets concerned about the costs of supporting such a warranty, and throws in language to gut it. It’s certainly not the first time this has happened. But how customer-centric is such a warranty? And how much would the company actually spend to stand behind their product?

What’s ironic is that a true lifetime warranty would perfectly fit the Kenneth Cole brand. But I guess that even in the best brands have a hard time truly focusing on their customers.