A lot has been written about the Saab future under the impression of the "pengar crises" at NEVS. It was about flexible platforms that may or may not be finished, and new Saab models. Hard factors that are important. Soft factors are just as important, but perhaps much more important.
Let's talk today about something that wasn't previously on the blog. It is about the loyalty and enthusiasm for the brand, or in technical jargon about the “brand experience”! Intelligent, high-paying people in automotive groups are busy defining the brand experience for their customers.
A factor that is increasingly becoming the focus, the more comparable the products become. Bad cars have long ceased to be a European manufacturer. More and more innovations are no in-house development of the manufacturers, they come increasingly from the laboratories of the suppliers.
Whoever is a good buyer gets first access - for a limited period of time. Then other manufacturers follow in second and third positions until the market has completely absorbed the innovation. Own inventions that have a unique selling point for some time are becoming increasingly rare.
In return, psychology is becoming increasingly important. The “brand experience”, the definition of the brand for the customer, takes place primarily in the mind. Let's take Audi and Seat for comparison. In the best case, the Seat driver uses the same technology as the Audi driver, only he paid a lot less money for it. A fact that will not bother the Audi driver. Because while the company colleague collects his new car from any dealer in an industrial area, the Audi new car rolls after an impressive handover at the factory to the free VIP parking lot of Ingolstadt Village to set off for outlet shopping.
Depending on the model, the life of the Audi driver will be enriched with a range of cultural events and golf courses, while the Seat driver will have a bratwurst and a cola at the next dealer event. The Audi driver will not worry about a Seat, the Seat driver will strive for promotion to the Audi. If, yes, if the brand psychologists in the VW Group have done their job right.
Back to Saab. Saab Automobile AB is history, we never cared about NEVS in Germany. For 3 years we have been more or less left alone, without father and mother, so to speak. In the past two weeks I have attended two Saab events. There was our “Pilots wanted 2014” event in Kiel and the troll rally of the Saab Friends Erftkreis. Two Saab appointments that couldn't have been more different, but which always resulted in Saab drivers with happy faces and bright eyes. One notices the above-average degree of mobilization in the small Saab community. Other brands can only dream of it.
At these events personal Saab stories are on the table, you meet people who have just come to Saab. 3 years after the end of the new car production, they find Saab somehow cool and have, with the first Saab of their lives, fulfilled a wish.
The famous brand experience, we do it ourselves. We, that are our dealers, the Saab drivers, blogs, forums and Orio Deutschland GmbH. Without large budgets, without highly paid specialists racking their brains over the possible definition of a brand experience. And I think it feels pretty good! Saab is alive, probably more active than 3 years ago, the calendar with meetings in Germany is well filled.
The topic of “brand experience” is becoming more and more important, the more comparable the future products will be. Creating a “brand experience” is an expensive and tedious undertaking. Nothing that can be done in a short time, but something for planners with staying power and a large budget. Saab has it, this soft, intangible factor called “brand experience”. An important asset when talking about the future of a car brand. Because we are not alone, the blog has around 5000 hits every day. These are readers who drive Saab, are interested in Saab, or simply find the brand good. If you break down the readers by IP addresses, more than half of the German Saab owners read the blog at least once a month.
Investors, wherever they come from, should factor this into their planning. The customer base is there, there are no fascinating new models from Trollhättan. Developing good new products is a question of money. Not the “brand experience” of a legendary traditional brand, that is priceless. My opinion on why the Saab brand should have a future.
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