Buick at a Crossroads: Building Brand Momentum
Few cases allow the student to understand the relationship between brand strategy, marketing strategy, implementation, and analysis. While some conceive of the process as being sequential, this case demonstrates that in fact, this process is more fluid, and that implementation and analysis impact subsequent strategy. This field-based case provides a rare glimpse into the turnaround of a brand that was all but dead. After Buick suffered more than five decades of declining business results and an inferior brand image versus all rivals, few thought that the brand could be resuscitated. This case provides a valuable under-the-hood look at how the Buick team, over time, progresses through a series of marketing improvements all anchored on an evolved strategy. Specifically, Buick introduced a shift in brand strategy behind an evolved brand essence statement (i.e., brand positioning), improved product lineup, new-to-the-world innovation, enhanced dealership service, and more compelling advertising. The results led to a record number of product awards, significantly improved advertising measures, improved service ratings, and better business results. Despite significant improvement across multiple dimensions of the business, Buick still trailed key competitors on one of the most important measures Buick tracked-the brand momentum rating-suggesting that there was still more work needed to complete the brand turnaround. The case introduces Molly Peck, the new marketing director on Buick, who is wondering what more, if anything, Buick should do. The material allows for instruction around marketing strategy and the process of converting it into implementation through the use of a creative brief.