General Motors is one of the major automotive manufacturers globally and Wolff Olins was its lead brand agency providing counsel across a range of brand, communications and design issues for both the master brand (GM) and its portfolio brands such as Opel, Vauxhall, Saab and Cadillac. One of many projects was providing a solution for multi-brand retailing in key markets around the world.
MULTI-BRAND RETAIL EFFICACY
Typically GM’s brands exist as entities in their own right, each with their own strategy, brand idea and visual identity. This is also true with retail operations. Brands would never share the same physical space.
But in certain markets – particularly emerging Eastern European and Asian ones – the economic case did not stack up to justify separate branded retail operations. GM knew the demand for their brands existed but could not reap the financial rewards of this demand using a traditional retail model.
The strategic and creative solution was to create a truly modular approach that would enable different brands to exist successfully with their own brand strategies and identities within the same space. Flexible and adaptable, it enabled GM easily and cost-effectively to put together the right combination of brands depending on location, demographics and potential demand. It was capable of adapting from a small two-car showroom to a vast out-of-town dealership. GM as the master brand assumed greater strategic importance in key areas such as finance and other operations that were less dependent on the sub-brand.
Happy Ever After
The strategy and concept was piloted in Taiwan and then rolled out across key markets where multi-brand retailing made strategic and economic sense.
With thanks to Wolff Olins.