There are still too many people in the automobile industry who think that everybody in the country has the same knowledge of and interest in their business that they do. Well, it just ain't so.
This whole thing about this brand and that brand seems to be simply running amok.
If you aren't a brand manager, if you don't have something to do with brand management or aren't an expert in brand management, you simply don't understand what's going on in the automobile business. At least, that's what they tell me.
I have never seen such confusion and misunderstanding about anything as there is about what is a brand in the automobile business. I have a simple test that would give all of us a pretty good head start about just what a car brand is. If you ask someone who lives in the far reaches of the United States what kind of a car or truck they drive and they tell you 'Mercedes,' that's the brand. Don't think for a minute that's it's an E class or whatever. I mention Mercedes because they really understand their brand.
If the owner tells you 'Corvette,' that's the brand, not Chevrolet.
But there are still hundreds of folks in the business who seem to think that just because THEY say the model is the brand, that makes it so. Well, they're wrong, and they are doing their company or division or importer a real injustice.
Sometimes they even badge the car or truck with the name of the model, and that makes it impossible for a potential customer to figure out who sells that car. Those potential buyers might even want to visit the dealership, but they don't have a clue as to whose car it is.
To compound the problem, more and more companies have created - at a cost of zillions of dollars, I am sure - new logos for their brands. It takes a couple of decades and hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising for a logo to become well known enough to substitute for the name of the car or truck.
Brands are powerful and, yes, very valuable. And sometimes, models are just as valuable for companies, but it is very rare indeed for a model to have the same strength and power as a brand. Out of some 400 models, there are just a handful with that sort of power.
The care and feeding of your brand is very important. But when you don't understand what a brand is, you can shoot yourself in the foot real fast.