Opinion

Brussels: Hands off my vans' number plates

3 min read

14 April 2014

I am a great believer in brand and image for all sizes of business from corporate giants to the venture being kick started from somebody's back bedroom, says Charlie Mullins.

Brand image is important because it gives a business an identity that helps hammer home the message to customers about a business’s core values.

With a brand impacting on all aspects of a business, it should be simple, straight forward and above all consistent.

You can either have a corporate-led brand or a personality-led brand – ask people what springs to mind when they think of the company Virgin and I am sure the majority would say its high profile boss Richard Branson.

But while Coca-Cola is known worldwide, I doubt many people would know the name of its Chief Executive Officer – it’s Muhtar Kent, by the way.

To many people branding is a company logo, but it really is about the entire customer experience.

You can have the most striking logo in the world, but if your workers look scruffy and unkempt, turn up late to appointments in rusty old vehicles, their work is sloppy and slapdash then you are on a hiding to nothing.

In short branding and image is all about how a customer perceives you and they can help you stand out from the crowd.

This all sounds very serious and humourless, but in all honesty there’s no reason why image and branding can’t be a bit of fun too. 

We do with our vans having plumbing-related custom number plates such as, BOG 1, and DRA 1N.

So my heart sank when I read that meddling by those remote European lawmakers could sound the death knell for personalised number plates.

In a European Union vote this week British car number plates could be outlawed. The move would give ­officials in Brussels powers to set a standard design for vehicle registration plates in all EU member states and there are fears this could mean cherished personalised number plates could be banned.

Apparently, the reason behind this interference is to reduce fraud and other vehicle crime in motor trades across EU member states.

I am sure there are other ways that this could be achieved that would not impact on the British personalised number plate system.

Never mind number plates, like the ones at my company, with BOG 1 on, my ‘number plate’ message to Brussels is BOG OFF!

Charlie Mullins is CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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