How to tell your company has completely screwed up its branding


Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Well, under the old system, was the FX or the JX more luxurious? You’d think the JX, right? Better positioning in the alphabet, anyway. But, apparently, you’d be wrong. Now you can say “oh, you only have the QX60? Yeah, we got ourselves the QX70.”

    “I’ve got a Q70.”

    “Yeah, we wouldn’t let you play at our country club, but we might let you bus tables.”Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      Yes, there is a justification available for the change, but the whole thing is indicative of a cluster**** even if the new names are great (which I would suggest they are not). It’s an admission that the model names they have been working on all these years haven’t managed to build any equity for themselves (with the possible exception of the “G”).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Does someone already have the precious stones (or semi-precious stones) copyrighted?

        The Infiniti Onyx. In Red.
        The Infiniti Ruby. In Black.Report

      • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

        The luxury brands have decided by mutual consensus that it’s a mark of sophistication to not give your model a name, but instead some alphanumeric code. I think the idea they are trying to communicate is that “this thing is so awesome, that we think you will buy it, even if we call it “325i”.

        Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for all such monikers. It seems to work much better when BMW and Mercedes do it than when Infiniti or Acura try.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        One of my nephews recently grew a rattail. I called it a rattail. He yelled at me: “IT’S AN ANAKIN!”Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        Nobody’s going to buy a car named Howard!Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I’m not sure it works for Kia, either. My wife and I just saw a commercial for the K900, and both spontaneously burst out laughing. Say it out loud, you’ll get it.

        So, really, nobody in their marketing department cracked a smile when that name was suggested?Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      Makes me think of one of my favorite posts following a review of one of the iPhone releases. The reviewer noted that the new iPhone has the same look and feel as the previous model, but with improvements in electronics and software. The first poster replied, “The same case? But how will people know that I’m better than they are?”Report

  2. Avatar RTod says:

    The Infiniti QX95 is now the Kia Sedona SLReport

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    The weird thing to me is, isn’t it the norm for car makers to slap a new model name on (almost, but with minor tweaks) the same ol’ thing and just call it ‘new for [this year]’?

    Giving everyone a cypher key for your model lines seems to be against the standards and practices of nearly 100 years of car manufacturing.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Infiniti has a history of bizarre public relations. I remember when the brand was first introduced to the US, and the commercials were strange in that they showed things like waves lapping gently on sand or flocks of birds instead of the car.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath says:

      It took a while for them to even reveal that Infiniti was a car company. Some of those were pricey Superbowl commercials too, I think. It was an intriguing move. Whichever ad team that pitched that to Nissan must have had steel guts.Report