Holden’s head of marketing speaks frankly about the brand
The recently appointed Executive Director of Marketing at Holden, Mark Harland, has admitted public indifference to the Holden brand is the biggest challenge facing the company.
The one time Kings of the Australian car industry are struggling, sales are down and with local manufacturing coming to an end Holden is moving into uncharted territory.
Holden sales are down 10.4% year to date.
Speaking at the Australian launch of the new Holden Astra Sedan, Mr Harland, who has worked for GM for more than 20 years, spoke candidly about the challenges that confront Holden.
“Research has shown that 64% of Australians are indifferent about the Holden name and this proves that our brand image is our biggest hurdle,” he said.
Mr Harland said the key to turning that around was to continue to bring quality products to Australia that share a common look and feel.
“The vehicles in the dealership need to look like they had the same mum and dad.”
While he says after sales service provides a terrific opportunity to have a ‘point of difference’ over the competition and this is a high priority.
Mr Harland pointed to initiatives such as the extended test drive offer, where potential car buyers can keep their prospective car overnight, and capped price servicing, as ways of backing customers.
“Our leadership is committed to Australia and the task that confronts us, but we (the Holden team) see it as an opportunity,”
“I also have complete faith in the products we have, and those that are coming.”
To try and reach a new generation of buyers, and to get people talking about the brand again, Holden is planning on ramping up it’s social media presence and are planning widespread grassroots campaigns too.
“We need to get Holden back on people’s radars.” Mr Harland said.
While one bright spot, according to the marketing chief, is that as Holden has introduced models such as the new Astra, there has been an improvement in the opinion of the brand among Aussie motorists.
“We are making progress, it is my job to entice people to give Holden a go, to get into a dealership and check out the product.”
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