Several days ago, the New York Times reported about an internal GM memo indicating that the firm no longer wanted employees and dealers referring to its vehicles using the word "Chevy" - instead, they should be referred to by the full and proper brand name: Chevrolet. The memo argued for the importance of brand consistency. Of course, that memo referred to Coke as an example of brand consistency. Um, well, ok... but, isn't Coke a nickname for Coca-Cola? Isn't the reference to Coke actually completely counter to the argument against letting people use the "Chevy" nickname? I mean, you can't make this stuff up. Is the use of the Chevy nickname really the root of the numerous problems at GM? Is this really what they should be focusing on?
Thankfully, the Wall Street Journal reports today that GM has backed off its initial stance, blaming a "poorly worded memo" for the controversy. However, the article goes on to describe the explanation from a GM spokesperson:
It does, however plan to boost its level of formality by focusing on the brand’s full name as it expands into global markets. Spokesman Klaus Peter Martin said the company wants potential customers in new markets to recognize the brand by its full name. He says it is important that people searching information about Chevrolets for the first time are not confused by nicknames they won’t necessarily recognize.
Now that is one interesting explanation. Apparently, you and I might not know that people are talking about Chevrolet vehicles when we see the word "Chevy" on a web search. We might think they are referring to Toyotas or BMWs. We ignorant folks need GM marketing to tell us that indeed it is a Chevrolet.
By the way, how long have the two authors of this internal memo worked at GM? 31 years and 22 years respectively. That's fresh blood infusing fresh thinking into the Chevy brand.