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May 27, 2005



Advice and comments welcome. I believe that our marketing language needs to change. Our simple price based call to action lacks a voice distinctive and unique and as a result plays little on the minds of our customers. Do you think that a bold approach is better or is this irresponsible?

Scott Miller

Jennifer, I 100% agree with Seth on this point. The car companies have been terrible at differentiating their nameplates, with too much overlap between them. With GM, for example, their used to be distinct ladder of brands (nameplates), moving up from the base Chevy to the Cadillac. Each step on the ladder represented a unique set of vehicles and features, and a unique point of prestige. GM motto when they started was: "A car for every purse and purpose."

What happened in the 50's and 60', though, is that the division lines blurred, and each wanted features and car types that were in divisions above and below them on the ladder, to expand the market of their own nameplate. And this has dramatically hurt GM. But, less so that might have been, because GM's competitors have fallen victim to the same lack of differentiation between divisions.

I'm seeing that Toyota and Lexus are now starting to cross over into each others territory a little, and this will prove to be a blunder in the long run. Brands are strongest when they are clearly focused, distinct, and offer a unique benefit that cannot be had elsewhere (such as features, looks, prestige, etc.).

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