Lisa Merriam

General Motors: A Reorganized Brand Architecture for a Reorganized Company

General Motors has done more than reorganize its finances. GM has turned its brand architecture upside down.

Reorganized Brand Architecture Roll Out

Trimming nameplates like Pontiac, Saab, and Hummer from its stable of brands was just one aspect. Beginning in August of last year, the GM “chicklet” logo has been quietly disappearing. It is no longer slapped on the doors of every car.


It has disappeared from the Web site.


And in the ads touting the “new GM”, only the new name of the company is used, spelled out in letters. The logo has disappeared.

Indeed, the individual nameplate brands are actually and literally now on top and front and center of the reorganized brand architecture:


Strategic Drivers of GM’s New Brand Architecture

Reorganizing the company’s the brand architecture makes sense for a number of reasons:

1) The GM name will always be associated with “Government Motors”

2) The individual brands appeal to very different clientele. The Cadillac buyer sees no benefit to being associated in any way with the Chevrolet brand. The constant linking of GM with each brand did just that.

3) No one actually bought the GM brand anyway—it was always about the name plates–you bought a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac not a GM.

4) Should General Motors seek to sell off any additional name plates (like Opel), distance from the parent company gives the spun-off brand a better stand-alone chance.

5) Maybe, just maybe, the brand change will help change the company’s highly bureaucratic corporate culture.

UPDATE: A new ad has begun airing with the familiar blue GM “badge” as the sign-off:

…always good to see some snippets of Animal House.

More on Brand Architecture:
What is Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture Structure Choices
Brand Architecture: Strategic Considerations
Brand Architecture Problems: Does Your Brand Architecture Support Your Business Strategy?