Umair Haque / Bubblegeneration
umair haque  


Design principles for 21st century companies, markets, and economies. Foreword by Gary Hamel. Coming January 4th. Pre-order at Amazon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How Not to Think Strategically About Revolutionizing Branding, pt 425225

"... The project begins today with a test of a campaign for Saturn, bundling together several Google products and services like clickable video clips, the Google Earth satellite mapping tool and geographic finding of computer users.

Visitors to a variety of Web sites in six cities around the country that are home to 22 Saturn dealerships will see what look like typical banner ads for Aura, a new Saturn midsize sedan. Clicking on an ad will produce a view of the earth that zooms in on the dealership nearest to the computer user.

The doors to the virtual dealership fly open, revealing the general manager, who introduces a brief commercial about Aura. After the spot ends, the general manager returns, standing next to an Aura and offering choices that include spinning the car 360 degrees, inspecting its engine, printing a map with directions to the dealership and visiting the Web sites of Saturn ( or the dealer."

Nice evidence for the hypothesis that Goog will never be branding 2.0's distributor, leaving a huge market gap for other players (who desperately need to find a way to do so, hi Yahoo).

If it isn't intuitive why this is the wrong approach, it should be - this is just the same old branding, but Googlized; made a bit more technological.

The point, instead, is to change the deeper economics of brands.

-- umair // 2:43 PM // 5 comments


1. Saturn's brand premise (a different kind of company, made in USA) is dead and new brand exercises for Saturn feel confused as they search for an identity to avoid the chopping block (see Saturn Sky).

2. Umm, why do marketers feel that flashy graphics or funny ads are relevant and create/enhance any brand's image?

U - completely agree that if the current cost of customer acquisition is so high, there must be innovative ways to be relevant and branded for this arena, re BMW short films.

Now - a 'Snakes on a Plane' approach to new car design/features, that would be interesting, innovative, brand relevant for Saturn.
// Anonymous CoryS // 3:38 PM

Hi Cory,

1 + 2 - exactly. Interestingly, I believe Fiat is just running a campaign like that...

Thx for the comment.
// Blogger umair // 3:44 PM

Umair, you wouldn't happen to have a link to something about/to the FIAT campaign?

// Anonymous Alberot // 4:54 PM

Wish you could say a bit more about what you think branding *is*.

Is it the general public perception of your product? Is it a relationship of two way communication? Is it still a way of segmenting the market into those who resonate with the brand and those who resonate with a different one?
// Blogger phil jones // 6:54 AM

I found the link..

what I get is that is an interactive communication process, more complex than 2-ways, in which companies, through the web (especially 2.0) engage the public in the actual creative and production process, as individuals, groups and through P2P logics (similar to reccomendations) are contributing, shaping and re-mixing the "product" and thus the brand, and then then to some extent in the marketing process, also by leveraging on network economies (way more than traditional viral marketing)... FIAT is definitely close to a very good example (Umair thanks again for pointing the example out, it puts the thoery into context very well).
// Blogger alberot // 3:38 PM

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