Retire the GM brand, Part II

The stories released today show that GM is going to be phasing out or selling the Saturn, Saab and Hummer brands.

There is no word on the GM brand itself.   I would still recommend that the company give serious consideration to retiring the GM brand.  After all, there are several storied brands that could replace it.  The increase in marketing efficiencies are a compelling reason for such a change.

The phase out of the Saturn brand will create an interesting coda to the many  business school case studies on Saturn.  Will the schools still teach the Saturn story?  Will David Aaker print an updated version of the Saturn case study from “Building Strong Brands”?   Will they have to do a “case study recall” the way the car companies are always doing recalls?

While it’s fun to imagine such a recall, the reality is that case studies are always a snapshot, a single point in time.  Much can be learned from them.  Knowing how the brand eventually turned out can also be instructive.  We can learn as much from the failures of others as from the successes.  Not the usual way of thinking about benchmarking, I know.  But these aren’t times for business as usual.

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