Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Throwing away that damaged umbrella (brand)

From today's Washington Post (see below), we read of General Motors' unprecedented dumping of its (previously invaluable) corporate brand. Instead, the company will focus solely on building individual vehicle brands.

What a smart move. All the American car brands - with the exception of perhaps Ford - are black and blue after taking billions in stimulus dollars from the Red, White, and Blue. It will be years - even decades? - before these companies recover their business and their good names.

I applaud the wise GM marketing pros who made the wise decision to fold up the umbrella brand and wait until the rain has passed.

GM to Remove Its Logo From Cars, Stress Brands

By Kimberly S. Johnson
Associated Press
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DETROIT, Aug. 25 -- General Motors will begin removing its "Mark of Excellence" logo from vehicles as the company places greater emphasis on its individual brands.

GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan said Tuesday that the company would phase out the placement of the GM logo on its cars and trucks, leaving just the GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac or Buick logos on the vehicles.

"We really want to elevate the prominence of our four core brands," he said. GM is discontinuing or selling four brands: Hummer, Saab, Pontiac and Saturn.

The final decision to remove the silver square logo was made earlier this month, although executives had mentioned the possibility of such a move months ago. The company found that consumers had a greater affinity for GM's individual brands than the corporate name.

"What we're seeing is the GM brand gets dinged big-time in terms of considering a GM vehicle," Mike DiGiovanni, GM's executive director of global market and industry analysis, said during a monthly sales conference call in April. "But when you look at Chevrolet, Cadillac and our other brands, they haven't changed." The company began putting the logos on all its vehicles in North America in 2005.

Rhadigan said removing the logo -- which is generally placed on the lower section of the door panel -- will be more difficult on some models than on others. On vehicles where a specific indentation is made in the sheet metal for the logo, phasing it out will take longer. On models such as the Camaro or Equinox, removal is easier and will begin immediately, Rhadigan said.

Taking the logos off the vehicles will save GM a "nominal" amount of money, Rhadigan said.

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