The real thing?

Posted on in BrandBlab

The latest ownership switch in the car industry, Tata’s takeover of quintessential British brands, Jaguar and Land Rover, is seen as a symbol of the change in global economic dynamics – the new East moving in on the values of old West. 

When the agreement to use English workers to make/assemble the cars runs out in 2011, it will be interesting to see if production goes maybe to the East how this will affect brand equity. Will this be another example of how car brands can continue to defy gravity and be seen as credible national products?

In an age of increasing transparent procurement and need for ethical authority it’s fascinating how emotions can still seem to defy logic when it comes to customer choice. I guess that’s what makes us human (and brand consultants) but I wonder how long car brands can masquerade as national treasures and use this as a basis for their key brand attributes. It seems for cars, branding is still about badges not what’s really under the bonnet.

In the West we are preaching brand delivery and experience is key, not just image. New markets have the advantage to learn from the West but it seems the need for status will continue to override product reality when it comes to cars. In the West we are a long way off Own Brand taking over from the manufacturer brand when it comes to cars – will it be final frontier when you can order your new Sainsbury saloon or a Tesco GM convertible?

Clive Woodger