The manager for brand strategy of GM addressed the Project Midas team in early 2004. The marketing team of the Project Midas had to provide “a positioning statement for the Chevrolet brand in Europe” (Kerin & Peterson 644). The Project Midas had to provide the statement, but the product line of the GM Daewoo, model characteristics, prices, distribution coverage and dealers’ sales practices were to remain the same.
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Additionally, the Project Midas team had to achieve a goal of one percent market share for the brand in the European market (Kerin & Peterson 634). However, the primary objective of the Project Midas team was to make European car buyers acquainted with the Chevrolet brand. Admittedly, the marketing team had to make the brand popular (or at least known) to achieve other goals provided.
Short Summary of the Facts
Basically, the Project Midas had to make the Chevrolet brand known to Europeans as the brand was “virtually unknown” to European customers in 2004 (Kerin & Peterson 649). According to research less than one percent of European customers knew the Chevrolet brand and its bowtie logo. On the other hand, Daewoo cars were quite popular in many European countries. This could be a very good foundation for the development of the appropriate strategy.
Analysis of the Facts
Unknown to the European car buyers
In the first places, it is important to consider the fact that the Chevrolet brand was quite unknown to the European car buyers. As has been mentioned above, less than 1% of the European customers knew anything about Chevrolet. Therefore, it could be possible to create a positioning statement from scratch, i.e. the marketing team could develop a brand-new strategy to introduce the brand. On the other hand, some people could have some misconceptions concerning the car.
For instance, Europeans could think the car was not for them “due to preconceptions of American cars as gas-guzzling yank tanks” (Kerin & Peterson 649). Therefore, while creating a positioning statement, it was essential to take into account this fact as well. Thus, The Project Midas marketing team did not have to adapt certain strategy to the existing portfolio of the brand (as the brand was almost unknown), but they had to debunk existing misconceptions.
Positive image of the Daewoo brand
Secondly, while constructing a positioning statement, the Project Midas team could exploit popularity of certain Daewoo cars. For instance, Daewoo Matiz was particularly popular in such countries as Poland, Chech Republic, Portugal and Italy. More so, according to Kerin & Peterson it became the winner at “The World’s Most Beautiful Automobile of 1998” (in the segment of the small car) (644).
According to research held in 2003 owners of the Matiz (or potential buyers of this car) valued such qualities as reliability and fair price (Kerin & Peterson 646). It was also found that the owners of these cars were loyal to the brand. Other preferences expressed by the European buyers of the Matiz were as follows: “peace of mind”, practicality of the car, applicability for urban settings, style and “friendly dealership personnel” (Kerin & Peterson 648).
Finally, it is also important to consider the customers’ profile. The European car owners can be divided into three major groups: the “Social Climber Segment” (upper middle class and middle class) represents 9% of cars owners, the “Conventional Modern/Progressive Modern Mainstream Segment” (younger middle class, above-average income) represents 18% of cars owners, the “Counter Culture Segment” (lower class, middle class) represents 8% of cars owners (Kerin & Peterson 640).
Admittedly, it is quite difficult to address all the three groups. However, it is possible to cover at least two of them. It could be effective to address the latter two segments. Interestingly, Kerin & Peterson provide the following customer profile of the Daewoo brand customers: unpretentious, “traditional meaning of life”, broad age range, mainly married (649). Therefore, these customers could form the target group of the new campaign aimed at introducing the Chevrolet brand.
It is possible to suggest at least three alternatives to achieve the goal mentioned above. In the first place, it is effective to use various informational channels to make people aware of the new brand. For instance, the experience of the Chevrolet brand proved to be quite effective. They provided Daewoo cars owners with corporate letters (sent via e-mail) which announced the changes which were taking place (Hollensen 582).
Therefore, loyal buyers could learn more about the changes which were taking place in the company. However, it could be more effective to use the Internet more excessively. Not only Daewoo cars buyers should be acquainted with the Chevrolet brand. It is possible to send information about the brand to buyers of various products (other cars, or even tyres).
Apart from this, it is essential to take parts in various events: exhibitions, fairs, competitions. This can help to introduce the new brand to a wide audience. It can be effective to sponsor various TV programs which have the same audience as the target group of the Daewoo brand customers.
This will help to raise the awareness among loyal customers of the Daewoo brand. Besides, it can be also effective to collaborate with various companies. For instance, the Chevrolet car could be a prize for the winner of some competition held by some retailing network. This could be a good way to promote the new Chevrolet brand.
However, it is not enough just to announce the appearance of the new brand on the European market. It can be more effective to focus on debunking misconceptions of American cars. The information channels mentioned above could be used (the Internet, TV, sponsorship, collaboration with other companies).
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Apart from these channels, it can be effective to start an advertising campaign with new advertisement (video, pictures, brochures) available on the Internet, on TV and in print. The major focus of the campaign will be the following message: some American cars were really ‘gas-guzzling’, but at present American cars are as economical as their European counterparts.
Recommendations / Solutions
Thus, the major goal is to make people acquainted with the new brand. One of the trumps of the Chevrolet in Europe is that Europeans know little about the brand itself, but they have certain misconceptions concerning American cars. It can be effective to note that even though this misconception was true in the past, now things have changed. The advertising campaign should communicate the following messages:
- American cars were ‘gas-guzzling’ before the 2000s;
- American car producers (the Chevrolet brand in particular) now address environmental concerns;
- American car producers (the Chevrolet brand in particular) address issues concerning gas and financial crises;
- The Chevrolet brand is aware of the European customers’ needs;
- The Chevrolet brand strives for meeting the European customers’ needs.
Admittedly, such attention to the needs of the customers will create a positive image of the company and the new brand.
Negative emotions are believed to be stronger than positive ones. Therefore, information based on negative emotions can be more memorable and credible. Of course, it is important to ‘convert’ negative things in highly positive. Thus, it can be effective to contrast some conventional American cars with the new Chevrolet brand cars.
It is also important to explain why the American manufacturer chooses the new concepts. The European customers should get the answer to the questions: Why Americans have chosen Daewoo? Can this American brand be suitable for Europeans?
Besides, it is essential to make people understand that all the qualities valued in the Daewoo brand will be present in the Chevrolet brand. It is important to remember that Daewoo Matiz cars have been really popular in Europe. For instance, in 2002, more than 132,000 units were sold in Europe (Kerin & Peterson 644).
Therefore, it is necessary to use this popularity. It is possible to communicate the idea of high quality. Again, it is important to make customers think of American cars’ quality. It is possible to communicate the following message: the popular European car was approved by the American car manufacturer. Admittedly, world recognition will increase the brand’s value.
As far as information channels are concerned, it is possible to make the major focus on the Internet which has become one of the central information channel. People are extensively using the Internet which is often associated with innovations and progressiveness. This is a very good channel to introduce the new modern car brand.
Hollensen, Svend. Global Marketing: A Decision-Oriented Approach. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education, 2007.
Kerin, Roger and Robert Peterson. Strategic Marketing Problems: Cases and Comments. Lebanon, Indiana: Prentice Hall, 2009.