If you’ve been keeping up on your business and marketing news recently, you already know that the HUMMER brand is dead. General Motors has decided to retire this iconic brand. They tried to sell it to a Japanese company, but in the end, they found no takers
The market shifted and HUMMER did not.
The funny thing is, the brand enjoys very strong recognition levels–so much so that it is number one in mass-market brand scores for the latest J.D. Power & Associates Consumer Service Index. Branding without relevance doesn’t work, as this case study clearly shows. With the seismic shifts in the global economy, the “bling bling” era came to a crashing halt in 2007 and with that, HUMMER sales plummeted (50% decline in both 2008 AND 2009-Yikes!). The age of conspicuous consumption, gone. Mix in with that America’s increasing emphasis on environmentally friendly solutions and “green marketing,” millions of people laid off from work, and it’s easy to see why it died.
The tragic thing from a marketer’s perspective is that it didn’t have to die. Those brand managers could had figured out a way to bridge the legacy that it had built up into an area where it would still have some viability and perhaps the brand could’ve survived. For several years, I was involved in the development and marketing of HUMMER vehicles, so I know the strength of the brand, one part ostentation and two parts rugged individualism. HUMMER brand managers could have leveraged that brand’s affinity into more niche markets — perhaps snowmobiles, ATVs or some other extreme sports. Who knows … maybe it will get resurrected somewhere, somehow.
To me, it’s a lesson in staying relevant. You must stay on top of consumer trends and know where your customers are going. You cannot simply rest on your laurels or you will become as irrelevant as an Edsel, a Pontiac, Oldsmobile or now, a HUMMER.
Don’t let that happen to you! If you’re looking for consumer insights or trends, let us help you! With over 25 years in building and rebuilding brands, keeping top brands on top and expanding brands into new product categories successfully, we can help you to stay relevant to today’s consumers in today’s markets.