GM recently announced that it will remove its “G.M. Mark of Excellence” logo from all car models.
Let’s see. By my reckoning, it took about 4 years (2001 to 2005) for corporate to persuade its individual car brands to attach the supplemental logo to its cars. It stuck around for about 4 years (2005 to 2009). We will see what they do four years from now. My bet is that it stays off.
What went wrong? This is a case where the intentions were good, but perhaps not fully thought out.
As I have said before in other posts, GM is a “holding company” structure. This is totally different from any other car company, because all of the rest of them share a model name with the corporate parent.
My guess is that GM was reacting to Ford’s “Quality is Job One” campaign, and wanted to make a similar claim. It may also have wanted some economies of scale in advertising–promoting different marques in the same ads.
But no matter what GM’s “corporate brand” message may have been, there was no real way to reinforce it visually. Well, actually there was a way. They could have created one master template for all collateral material and showroom signage that made GM more prominent. Then they would have needed to pour a lot of money into it. Not a likely scenario! So, they created a (relatively) tiny logo to be placed on all vehicles. This undoubtedly caused consternation among the different car brand managers and designers in terms of where to put the darn thing. Nowhere prominent, that’s for sure! A car with two logos just makes no sense.
As far as I can see, the only role for the GM corporate brand is among shareholders, employees, government officials, and the media. That’s the way it’s supposed to be when you are a holding company. Since GM is the only such automotive company with that structure, it must be kinda lonely out there.