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General Motors is probably swimming in ideas and getting another thousand offers every day on how to turn the company around – there are fifteen pages of responses on the Tell Fritz site alone, and those are just the questions the GM CEO has answered. Add the company's recent advertising issues to that, and the internal suggestion box is most likely brimming as well.

Enter The Blake Project, a brand consultancy firm that is offering GM $100,000 worth of time for free. That won't include economy travel expenses, but will include a day with the firm's three-man team of Jack Trout, Brad VanAudken, and Mark Ritson, to "share insights, ideas and expertise."

What might those insights and ideas be? Some of them were looked at in a piece called "New Brand Strategies for GM." The first task given is to define the brands, e.g., Chevrolet should stand for something like "Good value, variety and heritage," instead of "big, small, expensive, cheap, truck, van or sports car." Buick should "stop making cheap Buicks," and Cadillac "can never be a prestige car. The fancy imports dominate that category." Is that glimpse worth setting aside a day of GM's time? If anyone at the General thinks so, click the link below...

[Source: Branding Strategy Insider]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree on Chevy and Buick, but why the hell can't Cadillac be a prestige brand? I would argue that it already is. It's finally competing and often beating the competition on performance and yes, quality. It took a gargantuan concerted effort and dogged determination from GM to shed the image of ersatz baroque ill handling barges for the white leather shoe car salesman set, and they're supposed to give up now? Stupid advice....The only thing Cadillac needs to truly arrive is a dealership experience in line with its competitors. Most of them are god-awful and you find yourself eyeing a $50k car sitting next to an Aveo or Silverado.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It depends on whether you think a prestige brand is something like Lexus and Mercedes Benz, or whether you think a prestige brand is something like Bentley or Rolls.

        Caddy can be a very good competitor to Lexus, M-B, BMW, Audi... So could Lincoln, if Ford is very careful and diligent about it.

        I might agree with them, though, that they don't have the reputation, or the capital to go after Bentley, Aston, Rolls, Maybach, Ferrari, and the like, that are brands that are mostly above the 100K line.

        Most would agree that "prestige" more applies to the more expensive group, even if the lower-priced group is still very much a luxury oriented group of nameplates.

        I am not sure GM needs to be that. I think GM needs to get their house in order, directly, before they worry about where they would like to go next.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Boxer,

        You have a point, but even at their most arrogant, I doubt GM thought Cadillac competed with the likes of Bentley, Rolls, or Maybach (the others you listed are supercars, not premium luxury cars).

        So either this brand group is so far out in left field that they are stating what is already blatantly obvious, or even worse, they are trying to say Cadillac won't ever compete against MB, BMW, or Lexus. Either way, that statement lost them any credibility.
      • 5 Years Ago
      epilonious:
      The Kate Walsh advertisements aren't a result of pushing the prestige. The commercial isn't saying "it's a cadillac of course it's good".

      I get what you mean; cadillac should make advertisements that focus on letting the customers know how they changed, but surprisingly enough they are picking up in sales and doing fairly well for themselves.

      Also wouldn't telling us how sporty, how comfortable, how luxurious, and how gadget filled their car is be pushing their prestige?


      Lar7789789
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ha, Chevrolet stands up for big, small, expensive, cheap, truck, van or sports car? Really chevrolet makes cars that are cheap, realiale and are put together well? see I only thought Chevy made quality cars, that is why they went bankrupt, even after borrowing money from the us taxpayer, I mean the federal governement, and well take a look at the problems with the 2010 camaro, another piece of chevy junk
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Lar7789789
        Yup, just like the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Tundra, and Camry V6...all with engine/transmission failures caught shortly after launch.

        The Camaro SS is as crappy, by your standards, as the Camry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah- mindless drivel. I agree with the point on Chevy and Buick- who wouldn't? Nobody wants a cheap Buick.

      But Cadillac not being a premium brand? What else is it, if not that? Back in it's hayday, Cadillac was one of THE cars to own. American quality, innovation, expensive, and lavish. What should they become?

      Also, $100k only gets you a day with these people? Sheesh...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chevy - Mainstream volume cars. Corvette,Camaro and Volt to be halo cars.

      GMC - Trucks and Suv's.

      Buick - Entry Luxury

      Cadillac - Premium Luxury.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Anyone who can drive that spanking new CTS-V and say that Cadillac "isn't a prestige brand" is daft!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lutz didn't run the company, so its impossible that "he drove GM right into bankruptcy." He helped lead product development. ALL of the new cars he helped develop have done great in reviews. -- So the limited amount of power he did have, he used it to excellent and positive effect. How did he do wrong again?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow... that's advice you can get from reading autoblog. Free or not GM should turn these idiots down.

      Also Cadillac can rise up the ranks again and it has been doing it for the past couple years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The "free" $100,000 day's worth of consulting would result in these three guys just giving them the same speech as the article. GM -- or anyone else -- could just read it in 2 minutes and save everyone a lot of time and energy.

        GM needs to revamp their marketing. But what I read in the article in nothing new. Same old thing Jack Trout et al have been harping at for years.



        • 5 Years Ago
        Part of the "never being a prestige brand" also comes down to the customer-facing element. You can build the best 3-Series-fighter in the world, and it still won't be perceived as a "prestige" car as long as its buyers do their shopping in a plaster-walled showroom full of balloons, G3s, and Yukons, drinking cold coffee out of a styrofoam cup.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Cadillac can be a prestige brand just as soon as Cadillac dealers are forbidden from putting fake convertible tops on cars and parking them in their showrooms.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Here's the thinking behind saying "Cadillac can never be a prestige brand"

        GM should stop advertising Cadillac as a prestige brand. namely because "we're such a nice prestige brand" is a strange, muddled concept that gets you things like Kate Walsh launching automotive platitudes whilst driving a CTS inside a lava lamp...

        GM should advertize Cadillac as the place where you can get the most-awesome/fanciest technology for all applications: "We have the comfiest largemobile" "we have the meanest sports saloon" "we have the swankiest swankmobile and it has more LEDs than a 32" Apple monitor". Sure, all the autoblog commenters know that Cadillac has finally emerged with some kickass stuff, but the rest of the world suspects them as the tippy top end of the notorious brand-engineered (and expensive... and unreliable...) mess that GM used to be.

        To Wit: It'd probably be easy to convince a non-car-nerd that the CTS-V is based on the Malibu than it would be to convince them the CTS-V could beat an M5.

        Cadillac needs to be advertized and focused on getting first crack at everything on the cool wall. People who want to pay extra for the near-ESP suspension and the harmonious mixes of direct injection and forced induction need to know they should at least give Caddies a try too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Can you imagine if BMW or Audi took advice like this in the '70s? Or if Lexus had in the late '80s?

        There is some truth to the point that Cadillac doesn't have at present a full-line of prestigious vehicles. The STS is too invisible, the DTS is too old and doesn't have the dynamics, and the XLR is going away after this year.

        The thing is that they have three excellent products (CTS, SRX, Escalade) that are prestigious. The observation that most people today will more likely believe that the CTS-V is based on the Malibu than it is an M5-beater is probably, sadly, correct.

        However, if Audi and Lexus can base their cars on lesser car platforms and still be pretigious, then so can Cadillac. It just takes great products, time, and strong marketing.

        Never say never.
        • 5 Years Ago
        epilonious:
        The Kate Walsh advertisements aren't a result of pushing the prestige. The commercial isn't saying "it's a cadillac of course it's good".

        I get what you mean; cadillac should make advertisements that focus on letting the customers know how they changed, but surprisingly enough they are picking up in sales and doing fairly well for themselves.

        Also wouldn't telling us how sporty, how comfortable, how luxurious, and how gadget filled their car is be pushing their prestige?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree...
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM should stop making "cheap Buicks"? Newsflash, the reason Buick even came into existence was to fill the gap between the cheaper cars (Chevrolet) and the more expensive cars (Cadillac).
        • 5 Years Ago
        True, Buick was the first brand GM held. When GM established their list of brands Buick fit in between Chevy and Cadillac, and that was even more apparent after Olds disappeared. Either way, everyone knows Buick is supposed to be the "middle of the road" luxury brand for GM.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, you're wrong. Buick is the original GM brand..
      • 5 Years Ago
      The fact that they claim the Cadillac cannot be a prestige manufacturer is going to kill their shot with GM, IMHO. In fact Cadillac is *the* American prestige manufacturer that has offerings that run head to head with the best the Europeans and Japanese can offer.

      Their post is not very convincing. Sounds more like they are hashing out ideas out loud than actually putting forward a game plan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Buick should "stop making cheap Buicks"

      This kind of advice is worth $100k?

      "Cadillac can never be a prestige car."

      Yes, it can. And if GM delivers on its promise of being "design-driven" Cadillac will come out on top. Just look at the new CTS and tell me that Cadillac cannot compete in the luxury segment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here's the best plan for GM:

      *Kill Buick
      *Kill Cadillac
      *Kill the Corvette
      *Move ALL SUVs and trucks to GMC only (not crossovers, just trucks)
      *Kill all GMC Crossovers

      Then they can focus on their bread-and-butter, and try to make compact and mid-size sedans as good as the transplants do. As long as they're distracted by stupid brands like Buick and Cadillac they won't be able to do this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Why Bob Lutz did such a "great" job, he drove GM right into bankruptcy!

        Idiot. Take off the GM FanBoi rose colored glasses. Minimum Bob is a senile fool.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Brian,

        Care to explain HOW Lutz drove GM into bankruptcy?

        The "fanboi" tag sticks better to you, I think.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you an idiot? Why would GM stop making the Corvette when its a consistent proven money-maker? It IS their bread-and-butter car. Moving all the trucks to GMC is an absolutely ridiculous suggestion. The Chevrolet Silverado brand is much more recognizable to consumers than the GMC Sierra badge, and sales figures prove this point. Your strategy is a failure. Lucky for us though, you don't call any shots at General Motors.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Right Brian,

        Your proposal for GM would leave them looking like Mitsubishi. Glad you're not running GM.

        Chevy should be the full-line "popular price" brand of cars, crossovers, trucks, vans, and SUVs.

        Cadillac can be at the other end with quality, performance, luxury, and technology...all giving them the full prestige status they're after.

        Buick and GMC can easily live in the middle. GMCs and Buicks command higher transaction prices than Chevys, so they're more profitable per unit. As long as GMC can continue with that, they'll do well.

        Buick needs more to differentiate itself, and it looks like it's being given more. They're right about Buick...no cheap ones. They can do small, medium, and large Buicks (which is what Buick offered in their halcyon days), but they HAVE to be premium.

        That's why I question the need for the LaCrosse CX 2.4. Especially if they're bringing over the Regal (which I think would be a nice car to have, but silly for the Buick brand).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hey Brian, you know what you should kill?

        Getting back to the topic, the only good piece of advice from these people is the cheap Buicks part. i would have brought the Regal to the U.S. market, sent the Lacrosse to China and made a RWD sedan based of the Velite concept from a few years back. Especially since the 17/26 EPA rating for the 3.0 Lacrosse kills the inefficiency argument for the Zeta platform. Speaking of fuel economy, anyone see the rating for the S400 Hybrid? 19/21/26. Ouch, Mercedes was hoping for 21/33.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, that list is dumber than the Blake Projects.

        Fortunately, guys like Bob Lutz are making decisions, rather than you... and I suggest he knows considerably more about the market than you do.

        Over the years, he's been involved with creating the BMW 3 Series, the Ford Explorer, the Dodge Viper, the Volt, and just about every 2010 GM car he's had his hand in recently has been getting rave reviews.

        The internet is getting stupider.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, instead we have Fritz, Lutz, and LaNeve making the decision. Yeah, they're REAL winners.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Can never be a prestige brand?

      Tell 'em where to stick their advice GM!
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