Blog: Toyota lunch
Dave Leggett | 6 July 2005
I'm heading up to London's West End today for lunch with Toyota Europe execs. It's not just me - there will be some 25 assorted UK industry, trade and national newspaper journalists. I need to get to the swanky hotel for noon and there's half an hour to meet people over a glass of champagne (they speak my language) and then there are presentations and lunch. Last time they had one of these - I think this is the second - I couldn't make it, so I'm looking forward to this one.
It's a pity more carmakers don't approach the industry/trade media in a similarly proactive manner. They tend not to get much further than booking people on car launches and making sure that certrain key consumer journalists are as happy as Larry (come to think of it, who is Larry and why is he happy?).
Look at it from the enlightened car company's point of view. Getting good relationships going with industry media means that you are improving communication of your message to the industry constituency. There are all sorts of opportunities there in terms of sub-groups that the company might want to hit with certain messages - suppliers for instance, engineers generally (the best ones are discriminating in where they go to ply their trade), dealer groups, banks, the business community generally, politicians even. It's a big list.
So, I do at least applaud Toyota in taking this initiative. And Toyota is a smart company that is doing well, at the top of its game in so many ways. I still remember seeing Rick Wagoner on the TV news here, talking at a press conference in London. He had come all the way over here, was speaking around the corner and nobody from the vast GM PR empire had even let us know he was in town.
Lest you think that I keep getting out to swanky hotels and having gut-buster lunches, I should just point out that the last swanky hotel lunch I had (with Glenn Mercer of McKinsey last week) consisted of four domino-sized sandwiches with micro fillings, garnished with a piece of lettuce and half a lemon. At £10 I reckon, morsel for morsel, it was the most expensive sandwich I have ever eaten.
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