Wednesday, November 20, 2013
New Strategist at Cadillac Says Branding Is Key to Regaining Sales Position
But Kelley Blue Book thinks the plan is more ambitious than it sounds. Luxury car owners are more brand loyal than most other consumers, and it will take a lot to convince them to give up the keys to their Mercedes, BMWs and Lexus and drive off in a new CTS or Escalade.
Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Link to article:
Cadillac Needs Better Branding, New Marketing Chief Says
Excerpt: "Cadillac's newly hired marketing chief says the brand can reclaim leadership of the U.S. luxury market if it backs a rejuvenated vehicle lineup with a stronger brand identity.
'There's already a good start with all of the awards and praise of Cadillac quality,' Uwe Ellinghaus told Automotive News today, citing the 2014 CTS sedan landing Motor Trend's car of the year award this week.
'But this won't be sufficient to win customers over,' said Ellinghaus, a former BMW marketing executive hired this week as Cadillac's global chief marketing officer. 'If you don't find the brand relevant, you won't even go into the dealership.'
Ellinghaus, 44, will start the job on Jan. 1, reporting to global Cadillac chief Bob Ferguson.
Ellinghaus said he wants to sharpen Cadillac's brand identity around the distinctive design of its vehicles. He believes Cadillac marketing has been too amorphous and narrowly focused on specific products to connect with consumers.
'The biggest opportunity is building on the iconic design and the distinctive presence that Cadillac has,' he said.' That's the best lever, the biggest competitive advantage, because the other premium manufacturers are far more mainstream and can't be as unique.'
Cadillac buyers already put a bigger premium on styling than those of other luxury makes, according to survey data from San Diego research firm Strategic Vision. Last year, 71 percent of Cadillac buyers cited exterior styling as an 'extremely important' factor in their decision, compared with 50 percent for BMW buyers and 47 percent for Mercedes buyers.
Cadillac faces a big challenge in persuading drivers of Germany luxury brands to switch, says Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at research firm Kelley Blue Book.
'Cadillac has been doing the right thing product-wise,' Gutierrez said. 'But luxury import buyers are fairly well entrenched. Even if they switch brands, they're more than likely to stick with a German brand.'
Ellinghaus held several marketing positions during a 14-year stint at BMW, mostly based at its headquarters in Munich. He was head of brand strategy from 2010 to 2012 and also did work for the company's Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.
He said that it is 'doable' for Cadillac to overtake its bigger rivals in the U.S. market within 'five or 10 years.' Cadillac sold 148,206 vehicles in the United States over the first 10 months of the year, up 27 percent from a year earlier, but a distant No. 4 among luxury brands, behind Mercedes-Benz (245,125 units), BMW (240,139) and Lexus (213,479)."