One of the perks of having worked for an organization like the Association of National Advertisers is the opportunity to attend their comprehensive conferences. It's where you get to hear industry leaders speak about their innovative campaigns, use of new technology, great successes, and great failures.
At the 2017 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, I had the opportunity to attend a session led by Cadillac's former CMO, Uwe Ellinghaus, who delivered a particularly inspiring presentation. He showed how a legacy brand, one that is used regularly as a figure of speech, could innovate and respond nimbly to market changes.
I'm a Nissan loyalist, having owned a Sentra (donated), Altima (second-hand from my dad), and a Maxima (my first out-right purchase), and I'm currently driving a second-hand Nissan Xterra (a replacement vehicle for the Maxima by way of donation). I love the way Nissan's drive compared to similar brands, I find their interiors and dashboard layouts intuitive and user-friendly and in my opinion, their flagship models look good. Though the Juke was a big misstep in design in my (and many others) opinion.
So, why was I suddenly intrigued by an American brand who had never revved my engine before?
It's because Cadillac made a smart move by reading marketplace data.
Cadillac, through its "Book by Cadillac," is essentially disrupted the way traditional automakers sell cars to consumers. It took advantage of market trends, consumer behavior, technology advances, and the cost-sharing economy that has rapidly changed a number of consumer industries.
Through this program, Cadillac offers a monthly subscription-based car-sharing model, with no annual membership fee, no taxes, no need to purchase insurance – just a monthly commitment with no penalties. While there are many ways to take advantage of the car-sharing economy, most offer annual memberships where you still have to pay hourly rates as part of the rental. Cadillac’s format is mimicking other online subscriptions, like with Hulu, Netflix, and Walmart – monthly and no fees. You make your subscription fit you.
What appeals to me as a marketer about this shift is that Cadillac is delivering on its campaign messaging – it is not your grandparents brand. They are showing themselves to be an attainable luxury brand for the modern consumer. And if there's one thing I love, is when brands show versus tell. Way to go, Cadillac.