In the beginning, Chevrolet positioned itself strongly as a theme of “quality vehicle with deep roots in America’s past. Priding themselves on the traditional representation of the sporty car brand, Chevrolet has made great strides over the years. Firmly entrenching the brand as a key part of the American culture, Chevrolet has made many attempts to associate with American sporting events. For example, Chevrolet sponsored the AllAmerican Soap Box Derby for a decade. In addition to sponsoring events, Chevrolet also sponsored drivers with their vehicles for racing circuits such as NASCAR. Another subcategory Chevrolet used along with the American theme was patriotism in its promotional aspects.
Taglines with the phrases “America’s Best Seller,” “America’s Best Buy,” and “Like a Rock,” were all famous for reminding consumers about Chevy’s great history as an American leader for automaking. This was perhaps the biggest aspect of Chevrolet’s branding as a company in the United States. However, when it came to Chevrolet as a leading automaker overseas, four values represented the company to their foreign consumers: durability, value, practicability, and friendliness. Many of their various taglines surrounding these values create strong brand cohesiveness. Although Chevrolet has adopted more of a global brand strategy, it still customizes its branding to appeal to certain markets.
Currently, Chevrolet is making plans to launch new vehicles and continue advertising and promoting their brand to consumers. Despite the recall at the beginning of the 2014 year, according to Chevrolet’s marketing leaders,“…the automaker is not spending more on advertising or incentives than previously budgeted and isn’t likely to change that strategy” (“GM Stick with Marketing Plan Despite Recall” USA Today). The plan is to focus on the product and not the publicity of trying to defend themselves as a company. Therefore, there will not be a recall ad and instead there will be just ads showing new products introduced recently.
As stated before, Chevrolet is looking to spend more marketing money and energy on its fullsize pickups and SUVs this year. On the other side, Chevrolet is using the NFL Superbowl in hopes to boost not only national but global awareness with its ads. Chevrolet continues to also sponsor sports with “ Chevrolet’s jersey sponsorship with English soccer club Manchester United…will put the Chevrolet bowtie logo in front of the club’s worldwide fan base of some 700 million people..” (“Audi, Chevy and Lincoln Plan to Boost Ad Spending in 2015” AdAge) .
Chevrolet’s current marketing innovations regarding technology with 4G LTE in its vehicles also proves that Chevrolet plans to remain relevant with consumer wants and needs.
The GMC Problem
Chevrolet’s biggest problem is in fact it’s biggest company supporter, GMC. GM is the starting point for Chevrolet, yet it has been not once but twice in a position that jeopardizes the equity of the Chevrolet brand. GMC is the problem for Chevrolet because of their bad publicity regarding the 2008 bailout and 2014 recall crisis thus far. As mentioned before, Chevrolet’s association and alliance with GMC causes them to have a bad reputation at times, even with Chevrolet’s freedom to stand on its own as a brand. In the case of GM, the company’s bankruptcy and subsequent bailout had the ability to contaminate its four brands of vehicles, in spite of their individual merits. Therefore, Chevrolet has to figure out how they are going to deal with the bad publicity domino effect that falls upon them every time GM fails.
Even with a company as successful as Chevrolet, there is always room for improvement. Tactical modifications that can be made to enhance the Chevrolet brand’s equity to remain substantial while in alliance with GM could be examples of: brand decisions to enhance selfimage and product loyalty, increasing brand value from recognition and preference to brand insistence for their products, and focusing slightly on marketing strategies for ethical and social responsibility if they continue to be a part of GM.
Chevrolet is a high quality brand nonetheless, however, they focus on American vehicle tradition where they could take a step back and focus on the consumer. If Chevrolet would reposition a few of their vehicles to show how it would enhance the selfimage of the consumer driving a sporty yet luxurious car, there is a possibility they will get great feedback in sales. Consumers currently are looking for mass customization products that can be used on every level of purchasing decisions. Therefore, it would a smart move for Chevrolet to focus on the consumer even more as the “person behind the car” (“man behind the mask”), while still including valuable information about the car itself.
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