Cadillac’s Identity Crisis: When Branding Won’t Die

No one can dispute the power of the Cadillac brand. Its identity is so strong that it lingers in our cultural consciousness — and that’s precisely the problem.

First, Cadillac couldn’t shake the decades-old association with drivers “between the age of 80 and deceased,” as former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca said. Then a half a dozen years ago, the brand acquired new status among the hip-hop crowd, which enthroned the $60,000 Cadillac Escalade as the ride of choice.

It’s not that General Motors hasn’t been trying to change Cadillac’s image and broaden the cars’ appeal. The embattled company spent $81 million in the first half of 2009 on advertising, much of that going to an ad campaign featuring the sleek and sophisticated-looking CTS sport wagon. In a bid for younger audiences, Grey’s Anatomy star Kate Walsh sits behind the wheel and asks, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?”

Read full article by Melanie Warner


Make the Customer, Not the Car, the Star

We used to say “the car is the star.” Well, that time has passed. The customers are the stars, and it’s the car that helps them express themselves, their values, their needs, and their desire to look good. The consumers that you want to be your brand disciples need to be shocked, surprised, and delighted into changing their minds. When they do, they’ll talk in person, online, via mobile, and more, and spread the word for you like a Twitter wildfire.

Tactically, this means Cadillac needs more efforts that are participatory and interactive, not one-way push messaging. It’s more digital marketing, more social marketing, and more mobile communications to create better experiences that engage with the consumer. You need to talk with the customer daily and be transparent, which is something car companies have never been good at. Instead of old-school media, such as TV ads using worn-out slogans, Cadillac should try something as simple as giving 10 influencers an XLR (a high-performance convertible) and an iPhone, something that allows the customer to talk and be excited about the product.

The other big thing that’s hurt Cadillac is that GM has been over-marketing GM. At a minimum, get GM’s CEO off the air. Consumers want a Caddy, not a GM.

One comment

  1. i like this idea of branding it a great one .i see cardillac going a long way with this am so amaze at so much spending it a well done job

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