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商业 - 汽车

通用汽车品牌新生的推手

Doron Levin 2011年09月16日

作为通用汽车新任全球首席营销官,乔尔•伊万尼克肩负重任,他要负责为通用旗下多个汽车品牌注入新的生命力,这可不是小菜一碟。

1983年8月22日的《财富》杂志封面

    通用汽车(General Motors)首席营销官乔伊•伊万尼克走马上任已有十个月。在与他的交谈中,他多次提到自己的“泳道理论”。

    伊万尼克说的可不是体育锻炼,而是他在完成通用汽车 “复兴大业”中的主要任务。(此前他曾用不同品牌拥有各自的“泳道”来比喻强化品牌识别度,坚持品牌创新——译注。)在这位51岁的通用高管看来,他的首要任务在于确保通用汽车完成多个品牌的清晰定位;特别是考虑到在消费者脑海中,这些品牌相互间既不要重叠也不会冲突——就像在各自的泳道奋勇前进的游泳运动员一样。“现在我们必须采取措施杜绝一切重蹈覆辙的可能,”他说道,“我们可不想再次因为失败而登上《财富》杂志(Fortune)的封面。”

    伊万尼克所说的是1983年8月22日的《财富》杂志封面(如图),这幅图片曾像梦魇一般困扰着几代通用汽车高管。画面上排列着四辆栗色轿车,分属于不同品牌却出自同一个设计制造平台,所以外形看起来如出一辙。这些车在外形上的高度接近性也反应了消费者的困惑:如果连车型本身都让人无法分辨,购车者又怎能区分不同的品牌呢?这张封面照片可以说是通用公司管理失误的一个缩影,同时也是通用背弃前主席阿尔弗雷德•斯隆先生座右铭的一个写照。这位传奇性的高管曾经提出一个口号:“不同的钱包、不同的目标、不同的车型”。

    二十八年之后,通用汽车在重组风波中浴火重生。2009年,通用汽车申请破产,后经美国财政部(the U.S. Treasury)援救,进行了资产重组。多个享有盛誉的品牌如庞蒂亚克(Pontiac)、土星(Saturn)、悍马(Hummer)和萨博(Saab)相继宣布关闭并出售其资产,在美国本土,唯有凯迪拉克(Cadillac)、雪佛兰(Chevrolet)、别克(Buick)和通用汽车公司GMC幸免于难。在这种情况下,通用汽车被迫关闭了十二家工厂,裁掉2万多名员工。最糟糕的是,通用汽车还从全球头号汽车制造商的宝座上跌落,已经滑落到谷底的士气遭受毁灭性的打击。而今,通用汽车已然卷土重来,此刻的通用汽车急需一位富有灵感和激情的营销领袖,最好他还能具备“旁观者”的眼光。

    伊万尼克,这位来自圣费尔南多峡谷的加州人,衣着时髦,曾效力于保时捷(Porsche)、现代(Hyundai)和日产(Nissan),于2010年年中被通用汽车董事长马克•罗伊斯招致麾下,接管美国市场。几个月以后,通用汽车进一步授权,任命伊万尼克为全球首席营销官。【除了负责大众熟知的通用旗下美国品牌之外,他也同时接管了霍顿(Holden)、欧宝(Opel)、沃克斯豪尔(Vauxhall)等国际品牌。】

    迄今为止,伊万尼克的举措可谓相当大胆。他已决定将雪佛兰的广告业务转给旧金山的广告公司古德拜•希尔福斯坦(Goodby, Silverstein & Partners),而雪佛兰销量占通用汽车美国市场总销量的70%。要知道,底特律的坎贝尔•爱华德公司(Campbell Ewald)为雪佛兰操持广告业务已有91年之久,这一变动震撼了整个广告界。(通用汽车全球广告费用估计可达30亿美元。)

    A conversation with Joel Ewanick, General Motors' chief marketing officer for the past ten months, doesn't proceed for long without his mention of "swim lanes."

    Ewanick isn't talking about exercise, but his primary task at a resurgent GM (GM). In the 51-year-old executive's view, his mission is to clearly define the company's varying brands, taking particular care that, in consumers' minds, they do not collide with one another -- like swimmers separated by lane markers. "We have to develop policies and procedures to this never happens again," he says. "We want to prevent a repeat of the Fortune cover."

    Ewanick is referring to the August 22, 1983 cover of Fortune magazine (above, right) which has haunted generations of GM executives. It featured four maroon sedans, each from a different GM brand but built on the same engineering platform. All looked identical. The cars' similarities spoke to consumers' confusion: how could potential buyers differentiate brands if they couldn't tell individual models apart? The cover epitomized the company's mismanagement and the extent to which legendary GM chairman Alfred Sloan's maxim -- a car for every purse and purpose -- had been forgotten.

    Twenty-eight years later, GM is emerging from another agonizing reorganization. The automaker went bankrupt in 2009 and was rescued and recapitalized by the U.S. Treasury. Storied brands Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab were shuttered or sold, leaving only Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick and GMC alive in the U.S. GM was forced to close a dozen facilities and cut more than 20,000 jobs. Perhaps worst of all, GM found itself knocked from its perch as No. 1 automaker worldwide, a devastating blow to already plummeting moral. Now that GM has managed to claw its way back to the top spot, it desperately needs an inspirational marketing leader with an outsider's perspective.

    Enter Ewanick. The hiply-dressed Californian from the San Fernando Valley worked for Porsche, Hyundai and, briefly, Nissan (NSANY) before being recruited by GM President Mark Reuss in mid-2010 to run U.S. marketing. A few months later, GM expanded his portfolio, making him its global chief marketing officer. (In addition to familiar American brands, he is also responsible for the international Holden, Opel and Vauxhall marks.)

    So far, he hasn't eschewed bold moves. He decided to move advertising responsibility for Chevy, which accounts for some 70% of GM's U.S. sales, to the San Francisco-based agency of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Because Detroit-based Campbell Ewald had supervised the account for 91 years, the moved rocked the advertising world. (GM's global ad expenditure is estimated at a massive $3 billion.)

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