GM’s new branding strategy – does it work?


I took a double take last night when I saw the new GM branding campaign on TV for the first time – Total Confidence: Reinventing the Ownership Experience. Of course, I had to ask – whose ownership? Mine with a new GM car or the new guy in charge of not running the company into the ground for good? I quickly headed to the GM website to learn more about what this new program entailed. Guess what? To me, it looked like all the “standards” that most automobile companies offer these days: long-term power train warranties, guarantee trade-in values, OnStar on “most” vehicles, and some payment protection for nine months if you can’t make your car payments. Jump to the corporate section of the site, and I find more “marketing speak” , addressing the restructuring that will occur as part of the administration’s attempt to bail out the failing automaker. There is no mention of Rick Wagoner’s departure, of course; just an attempt at a positive spin on a simply dire situation. Package the new branding campaign with the corporate restructuring that is clearly happening fast and furious, and to be honest, I’m not sure what we have. Clearly, it’s an attempt at repositioning GM and trying to gain trust with consumers. But does it work? How does a customer trust in “Total Confidence” when the company is clearly struggling? How does a company go about rebranding itself while steering clear of big dealings behind the scenes? To me, the branding strategy here falls flat, simply because it has too many ties and innuendos to the current lack of stability of GM. Words do not build confidence. Actions do. In my humble opinion, I think you must build trust and confidence within, before you can gain it from the masses.

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