General Motor

s has a history that goes back more than a century but except for two relatively brief periods in recent decades, the company name has never appeared on the vehicles it produces. The first time a vehicle was badged as GM was the EV1 battery electric vehicle (BEV) produced from 1996 to 1999. Now, as GM prepares to introduce 30 new BEVs it is launching a redesigned corporate badge and Everybody In tagline hoping consumers will come along for the transformation. 

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, GM CEO Mary Barra will deliver a keynote speech for the first virtual CES which will focus on the Mobility transformation and electrification. The presentation is expected to include announcements of one or more of the upcoming BEVs including a Chevrolet pickup. 

On Monday, before Barra’s speech GM will launch a redesigned corporate website and marketing campaign built around the Everybody In theme. Along with that comes a revamped version of the blue square corporate logo that has been used in various forms since 1964. The versions of the logo used since 2001 are predominantly blue with a gradient that gives them a metallic look. 

The new logo has a distinctly more contemporary look with a flat rounded square icon like those you’ll find on an iPhone screen. The letters for GM are now lower case with just the letters and border in blue against an empty background. The traditional bar that has always been under both letters is now only under the m, with the negative space between the m and bar forming symbolizing a plug. GM’s CMO Deborah Wahl says it “it’s optimistic, it brings energy and vibrancy and reflects our view of the future” 

The logo itself is sure to cause lots of discussion and complaining among the design community in the coming days and weeks, but it’s actually not that important. The new logo will only be used in the places where the logo is currently used such as signage and facilities. That means it won’t be appearing on vehicles although brands like the Ultium battery will be used across all of the upcoming BEVs and in marketing.

Probably the more important aspect of this is the Everybody In marketing campaign. So far GM has only publicly shown the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq, both very pricy models that definitely won’t be high volume, mainstream products. However, with some many BEV models coming in the next few years, GM and other automakers will clearly have to target every segment of the market and customers at every price point and demographic. 

The new ads feature a wide range of people of all colors and ages that are identifying themselves as part of “generation E.” Another notable (and some would argue unfortunate) presence is Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. While the auto industry certainly seems to be approaching a tipping point in BEV adoption, Gladwell’s presence might be seen as a bit too on the nose. 

Logos and celebrities aside, GM and every other automaker that isn’t Tesla

is going to have its work cut out for it in the next few years convincing the 99% of the market that isn’t yet buying BEVs yet that these are indeed viable products that can support their daily needs without causing disruption. Ads like this new campaign are just a tiny step in that direction. Now GM has to deliver products that people actually want to buy. As good as the Chevrolet Bolt is, it came out in the wrong market segment just as the market shifted. GM has privately shown some of what’s coming and it looks promising. Hopefully more of that will be made public by Barra next week.



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