Volvo confirms its brand values

Volvo is one of those brands that few people actually fall in love with. It is a car that is far more likely to be bought with your head than your heart as they have had a reputation for safety for as long as I can remember (which is quite a long time as I’m quite old).

The 1960’s P1800 coupe was a beautiful old thing and I wanted one when I was at college. I loved the old 1980’s 480es as well and I really love the new C30 and their product placement within the Twilight series of vampire films is an inspired way to deliver the brand to a younger generation. In my opinion, it’s probably the best car placement since the Bond films and its association with Aston Martin.

But I can’t say I’ve ever really hankered after an S60. It’s all a bit anonymous and well, worthy for me. But now they have made its safety systems even more central to its reason for being.

They have just demo’d a new system that will reinforce these brand values even further and it looks brilliant.

Anything that makes life safer for cyclists and pedestrians in crowded city centres has to be good news if it’s as intuitive as this. Nice one Volvo, good luck to you.

A Kit Kat is NOT the same as an Aston Martin

Kit Kat is a chocolate brand that has a bit of history behind it when it comes to messing around with their brand and seeing how far they can stretch it.

Not all of it has been entirely successful either.

I was running through the various brand extensions in my head and could quickly remember orange, mint, dark, chunky, two finger, four finger, ones with noisette filling, chunky peanut, caramel and one called a duo.

They tried to aim them at the health conscious, with 100 calorie badging and they even tried marketing the bigger ones to people who thought the little ones were a bit too girly.

They are an example of a brand stretching policy that went too far. So far in fact that, according to Wikipedia, Chris White, the Managing Director of Nestlé Rowntree left his job a little abruptly in 2005 amid accusations of him damaging the long term health of the brand, by his watering down/stretching methods.

So I have to say, that I was more than a little surprised to see that Aston Martin are planning the launch of a City Car based on the Toyota IQ.

Aston Martin Cygnet - hmmmmm!
Aston Martin Cygnet - hmmmmm!

What a ridiculous idea. What a totally ridiculous pox of an idea.

They already know they are in the wrong as they are saying it will only be available to existing customers. Apparently they are worried that Aston martin owners drive City cars too. I would guess that most Aston Martin owners can probably drive pretty much what they want as second cars.

Are they worried they fly and may use trains as well and start building these?

You simply cannot own every bit of all of the markets. You can be brilliant at what you do and stick to it. When you specialise and you are brilliant at it, you make money.

Its taken twenty years for Aston martin to become a superb brand again. They’ve done this by building beautifully designed, beautiful quality cars that people would love to own. Those that can afford to, do. They haven’t gone just around banging a new grill on Jaguar.

According to the Piston Heads website, it may be more to do with Aston Martin needing to lower their overall CO2 emissions as a business to get around some new and rather nasty US/EU directives on average C02 outputs – which will save them millions in taxes and could effectively make the production a cost neutral launch.

But even taking this into account, if you water down your brand and try and offer something for everyone, you end up with MG badged Maestros – and look what happened to Austin Rover.

The magnificently awful MG Maestro
The magnificently awful MG Maestro

I hope they don’t launch this and kill it before I have a chance to own a real one, because I certainly don’t want a Toyota one.