July 20, 2010

That's Chevrolet to you!

So let's say you run an American company that makes cars. Your company name has three syllables and is actually French. However, millions of customers love your products and have come up with a short version of your brand name, which is even immortalized in an iconic 1970s song. Would you think it a good idea to get rid of that short name and to advise employees to use the long name?

I thought so.

However, General Motors thinks otherwise, as recently reported in the Times:
On Tuesday, G.M. sent a memo to Chevrolet employees at its Detroit headquarters, promoting the importance of ''consistency'' for the brand, which was the nation's best-selling line of cars and trucks for more than half a century after World War II. And one way to present a consistent brand message, the memo suggested, is to stop saying ''Chevy,'' though the word is one of the world's best-known, longest-lived product nicknames. ''We'd ask that whether you're talking to a dealer, reviewing dealer advertising, or speaking with friends and family, that you communicate our brand as Chevrolet moving forward,'' said the memo, which was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the G.M. division's vice president for marketing.

In other news: The organization previously known as the Y.M.C.A. is henceforth to be called “the Y.” Another strategy, more in tune with what people are actually saying, but with the same result: another iconic 1970s song becoming untethered.

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