Thursday, 2 February 2012

Skoda: Rebuilding a Brand Identity

In recent years Skoda has begun to build a sterling reputation based on quality, design and reliability. A mammoth task when you consider, the general perception on Skoda brand was about as bad it could be before the turn of the century. They were ugly, cheap and unreliable cars, a last resort for car buyers and a faltering business model. Remember the Skoda jokes?

What do you call a Skoda with a sun-roof? Answer: A skip

What do you call a Skoda with twin exhaust pipes? Answer: A wheelbarrow

Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen? Answer: To keep your hands warm when you push it

Yet with a new marketing and manufacturing turnaround, in 2011 the car tied 3rd with Jaguar in a UK car survey, closely behind Lexus and Honda. How did Skoda do this? They became ‘in touch’ with the consumer and reacted. They started to be aware of their public image, helped by the onset of new media in the early 00’s. Went back to the drawing board, and came out with the now cornerstone of the Skoda range, the Fabia. A couple of self-deprecating adverts, humourous marketing campaigns, a solid, forward-thinking design and the promise of reliability, things began to change rapidly for Skoda.

Of course it would take time to heal like most things, but in a relatively short time, Skoda have managed to completely re-haul their identity as a car manufacturer, so much so I wouldn’t think twice about contacting my local Skoda dealer and booking a test drive. Asked me 10 years ago? No way.

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