Rather than copy its wealthier and considerably bigger competitors, Saab Automobile AB has revamped its marketing strategy to approach potential buyers more directly.
Saab is creating a new global image and a central marketing plan.
'What we did before was pretty much up to the local markets,' said Mikael Eliasson, vice president for European marketing and global brand management.
Saab is focusing on direct marketing through test drives, targeted mail and telephone, and placing tactical advertising to solidify its image, said Eliasson, who has been in his current job for four months.
'The conventional theory is you do some strategic advertising for your image and some direct advertising and at the end of the day you get consumers into the showroom and they buy a car,' Eliasson said.
'We and the dealers are trying to be more active in going out after the consumer instead of having the consumer walk into a dealership.'
Eliasson, who came to Saab three years ago from Volvo, is convinced that Saab can more aggressively use its limited marketing budget.
Saab has developed new global advertisements as well as strategic advertising that the local markets, including dealers, can select. 'You get the dealers to comply and invest,' Eliasson said.
Saab is positioned as a luxury brand. Its range is 'postmodern exclusive,' and doesn't aim at traditional Mercedes-Benz or BMW buyers, Eliasson said.
Neither does Saab aim at those who want the trendiest, most powerful or aerodynamic cars.
'They're usually young and single and want to show that they have made it,' Eliasson said. 'If you want to own something unique, exclusive and individual, then Saab is a good brand to buy. The brand has a very individual character.'