At the recommendation of Curvin O’Rielly, I’ve just watched this video – the Ries Report – produced by an advertising and marketing guru named Al Ries. It’s around 7 minutes long, so it won’t take much of your time, but it’s a good look at why the strength of a brand is important and the fact that better products don’t always win.
The video was made in 2009.
VIDEO NOW REMOVED – CLICK HERE TO VIEW
No way does Pepsi taste better than Coke! But anyway…..
I disagree a little with Mr Ries’ emphasis on branding over product. I’m a firm believer that the car industry will always emphasise the quality of product and that products found to be lacking will suffer for it (the fall of Toyota since this video was made is a case in point).
But the importance of a strong brand alongside a strong product can’t be denied.
In the car business, the strength of a brand tends to flow on from its sales strength and the consistency of its presence. Audi have cemented themselves as a premium brand based on technology and the tactile and visual quality of their product (perceived quality). Their brand presence reflects this and their rising sales attest to it. Volvo, on the other hand, are trying to reinvent themselves from being a safe, family-oriented company to being ‘naughty’ and I wonder how long that transition will last.
All of this leads me to the question in the headline – What does the Saab brand mean to you?
Saab has quite a strong ownership culture surrounding it, but how strong (or weak) is the Saab brand? What are the attributes that you think of first when you think of Saab? Does Saab still radiate the same brand attributes now that they did when you first encountered the company? Are those attributes communicated clearly in Saab’s advertising, websites, publications, products?
On an official level, Saab’s core brand pillars are
- progressive design,
- responsible performance, and
- sporty driver focus
Personally speaking, Saab means a number of things – driving fun, practicality, design, turbocharging and Scandinavian. I guess some of those relate to the official brand pillars, but I wonder how closely.
For me, picking one thing above all others, what resonates strongest is Scandinavian. Because I’ve visited Sweden (and loved the place) and because I like Swedish design and simplicity, the experience I’ve had with Saab cars really reflects their Scandinavian origin. They’re different.
Maybe different is the attribute that resonates with me the most and Scandinavian is a part of that? And maybe the fact that I can’t separate the two is indicative of some brand confusion?
Again – what does the Saab brand mean to you?
PIck the strongest single attribute that stands out for you, and a little bit about why.