Posts Tagged ‘Jeep’

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Simon Sinek spoke at TED in September, 2009 and he offered this wisdom about leaders and powerful brands: “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

I was reminded of this in a conversation with a colleague in the automotive industry.  He asked me what I thought of his most recent advertising.  There was nothing decidedly wrong with the advertising but it fell into the trap of doing what Sinek called speaking from the outside-in.  In other words the advertising basically said we sell luxury cars that have these mildly interesting features.

I told my colleague that I felt that the advertising didn’t have a point-of-view that came from the brand and therefore it fell short of having the power to change perception.  I spoke about the need for “core values” that in turn would shape the brand’s perspective.  I suggested that he needed to find the 2 or 3 immutable truths about the brand without which it wouldn’t be the same brand.

Sinek gets at the same issue by asking:  “What is your belief? What is your cause?”  Another way to express it is: What is your company’s or brand’s ethos, what are your guiding principles?

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

How can it be that in an industry where we expect people to make the second largest purchase of their lifetimes (a home being the largest) the “why you do it” piece of strategy gets so little emphasis.  We know this to be true because so much of the marketing in the category is uninspired.  Most of it emphasizing features and pricing in mildly entertaining executions.

But there are a few great automotive brands that do understand “why they do it.”  Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jeep, Suburu, Lexus all come to mind.  Each of these brands have a defined “why they do it” that truly shapes what they make and at their best how they market it.

Despite from time to time losing their way, these great automotive brands always seem to come back to their “why they do it.”

Recently, Mercedes-Benz introduced their latest S-Class.  The S-Class has always been the epitome of what Mercedes-Benz represents.  True to form, the S-Class marketing overtly expresses the brand’s “why they do it:”

While I don’t love the line “The best or nothing,” it is a literal translation of “das beste oder nichts,”  the company’s “why they do it” in the founder’s own words. Somehow editing the translation seems inappropriate.

Just today Jeep announced the introduction of the new Cherokee and despite having seemingly lost their way in recent years, here comes a new campaign about the joy of adventure and exploration, values that have always been at the heart for the brand: (more…)

Super Bowl XLV–Will the auto industry carry the day?

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Last year, I asked the same question and I think the answer was “no.”

Audi’s terrific A3 TDI commercial led the automotive pack, ranked 6th of 65 by USAToday but all the others were also-rans. Here’s how the automotive participants ranked in last year’s advertising beauty contest:

A dismal showing by the auto industry.  Despite being one of the highest interest product categories with some often fantastic products, we seem to be unable to captivate the Super Bowl audience.

To be clear, getting highly ranked in USAToday’s poll has nothing to do with judging a TV commercial’s effectiveness, it simply is a measure of a panel of consumers’ reactions and “how much they liked each ad.”  But it is without question, ‘the game within the game.’  As a Super Bowl advertiser you spend $3MM or so for 30 seconds and the chance to get noticed and liked. It’s an opportunity to get tongues around the world wagging about your ad, your brand and maybe even your products.

But to make that happen, you have to do something amazing. (more…)

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: “Imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here in America.” Sort of.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Jeep is introducing the 2011 Grand Cherokee and it seems it is quite a vehicle:

“The newest generation of Jeep’s iconic luxury SUV can still rock-crawl with the best of them, but it looks a whole lot nicer doing it, both inside and out.”  AutoWeek  7/5/10

The new advertising is impressive and seeks to re-invigorate some distinctly American values:

Let’s face it, as Americans we are feeling a little down.  The worst recession in generations is a big part of the problem.  Nagging unemployment, a recovery that is sputtering and concern over the looming deficit are not helping.

So I think Jeep’s strategy of appealing to values we all hold dear makes some sense. What American isn’t proud of our heritage as a “nation of builders, craftsmen, men and women for whom straight stitches and clean welds are a matter of pride.”  We built the railroads, invented the airplane, built the Empire State Building, and created the original Jeep.

The idea that “the things that make us American are the things we make” strikes an emotional cord.  A cord that makes us feel proud, and right now a little pride would help.  The Jeep Grand Cherokee is something we can all be proud of because it was “imagined, drawn, carved, stamped, hewn and forged here in America.”

Powerful stuff, beautifully executed, leaves the viewer saying “yeah, bring it on.”

Only two things bother me about this commercial. (more…)

Opportunity knocks for well-articulated automotive brands

Monday, November 9th, 2009

The automobile industry is entering new territory as the recession wanes and consumers, who have been emotionally scarred by the last 18 months, remain cautious.  Many believe that consumers have been forever changed by this recession and that they will be more conservative with their money for years to come.

No one expects that the automotive industry will achieve the heady sales levels of the early part of this decade.

“By 2013, car and truck sales in North America will rebound to the new normal rate of 15 million to 16 million units”  Automotive News 8/5/09

At best, we will attain a “new normal” of 15-16MM units in 2013.

That means that competition for customers is going to be tougher than ever and no one’s business is going to grow just hanging on to the industry coattails.  Historically the manufacturers have reacted to these types of circumstances by using incentives.  These tactics artificially inflated sales earlier in the decade, pulling sales forward and contributed to the most recent “correction” that has pummeled the industry.  Using short-term incentives to steal share is not the answer to long-term prosperity, it’s merely a tactic that gives a franchise a quick shot in the arm.  Establishing a brand’s immutable points of difference and creating consumer affinity for it, is what creates value over the long term.

Last week, BusinessWeek published a piece by Ed Wallace about GM making the same mistakes; in it he made the case for branding:

“True, people want a “deal” when they buy a new car. But more important, they want to buy something exceptional….The automotive selling process, done right, has little to do with negotiation: It has everything to do with building value in the vehicle.”

It’s about time the industry took “branding” seriously.

(more…)