Bob Lutz, back from the Geneva car show, responds to the comments on a question he posed to his blog's readers a few weeks ago.
Here's what he said then:
But the deeper issue is this question of our image, and this perception that nobody’s interested in our products. We can and will do a better job of advertising and communications in the traditional sense, but we need to step up our non-traditional communications and word of mouth, and get our message directly to the people on a grass roots level. This blog is one example — but we need more avenues, and bigger ideas. What do you think?
That post drew over 300 responses, and Bob's impressed:
These are all good ideas. We are already studying several of them. But I was pleased to see that most comments were about our vehicles themselves. This confirms my lifelong conviction that what customers really want are great cars and trucks.
Well, here's the issue. If the problem is "image" the answer has to be more than just "product." That doesn't mean the answer doesn't include product...all the product-related changes recommended by readers and being dreamed up by Lutz and his designers are a key element in GM's turnaround.
But, in themselves, they may not be enough. Image. Message. Perception. Those are crucial elements in this effort. If they don't change, GM risks developing better "Betamax machines."
You remember Sony's Betamax? A superior quality visual experience when compared with VHS, but ultimately a loser because of the market's perception that VHS was the "winner," regardless of product quality.
So, you'll need to pay attention to the product and to GM's image, Bob. One without the other will not suffice. As you know, first you've got to get GM's products into the "consideration set" (the things that people even think about buying) before you can make the sale. The barrier there is bigger than product (like you said in your initial post) and the solution needs to be, as well.