As I finished the Sports section of this morning’s USA Today, I noticed an ad on the back page for a Cadillac Escalade. But not any ordinary truck masquerading as a luxury car. Oh no – this one is a HYBRID!
I’m the last guy to discourage folks from buying hybrid vehicles. We own two of them in my family – a Prius and an Altima Hybrid – so I’m a fan. That said, what the heck is Cadillac thinking? It’s that cognitive dissonance thing I’ve written about from time to time. Cadillac’s brand message is not about environment-friendly or great gas mileage. A Cadillac has always been A STATEMENT about who you are and that you’ve “made it.” It’s about Kate Walsh and your vehicle turning you on and not about gas mileage.
I think brands always need a clear positioning. How does that positioning distinguish the brand in the marketplace? How does that positioning address the target market’s key motivations? I’m not sure that “hybrid” and “Cadillac” works. If consumers are motivated by the former, A Camry hybrid gets 33 MPG and an Altima gets 35. Obviously they and a Prius (48) are very different vehicles. But a Lexus hybrid SUV gets 27 MPG, 35% better than the Escalade at 20. ( which admittedly is twice the 10MPG the standard version gets). See where I’m going?
This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
The Bard was right and he wasn’t even a marketing guy!