This series on identity was originally posted in October 2006, prior to many visitors coming to this site.
As I’m away this week, I thought it might be relevant, especially in light of a new 9-3 being released and a new brand-defining 9-5 on the way. Saab’s identity as a niche car-maker is one of it’s traits as one of those ‘cult’ companies (pardon the expression, Andy). Many have thought that that unique identity has been watered down in recent years.
This series sought to examine the subject.
These are not my words. But they do represent many of my feelings.
This is how Saab see you.
– Dynamic, well educated individualists
– A high sense of integrity and keen sense of design
– Insightful, connoisseur-like mentality
– Lead multifaceted lives and dare to challenge the status quo
– Look for beyond-the-obvious status symbols
– Value originality and authenticity
Looking beyond the obvious
Saab users see themselves as smart, independent thinkers with a strong sense of integrity and confidence in their own values. When asked about what is important to them, they talk about originality, creativity and a keen sense of aesthestics.
Having a connoisseur mentality
Although they would never boldly state it, they regard themselves as connoisseurs of good taste. They look behind surfaces to find hidden nuances in life, demonstrating their curiosity as well as an interest in the arts. They tend to have less need for social approval than others.
Avoiding labels or typecasting
Despite being brand literate, Saab users reject conventional status symbols in what amounts to a kind of reverse snobbery. Their codes and behaviour are complex since they don’t like to be labelled, and so they gravitate towards understated status symbols.
Valuing substance, not flattery
Saab users see themselves as embracing brands that have integrity and soul. They are aware of the values and philosophies behind products and brands; appreciate bold new ideas; are advertising-literate; and demand substance, not flattery. They resist typecasting because they go their own way and are hard to pigeonhole into a certain lifestyle.
Making a statement – with understatement
Saab drivers are perceived as being artistic, cultivated and individualistic. In most markets, the very choice of a Saab is regarded as out of the ordinary. It is definitely a premium statement, but considered an alternative to the usual brands.
Living a full life
Despite juggling a wide range of activities, Saab drivers are regarded as the kind of people who always manage to pull things together with grace and poise. While they may raise a few eyebrows by doing things a bit differently, they make others wish they’d thought of such a solution themselves.
Our customers want cars that balance many needs and fit into their multifaceted lives.
A richer, more balanced approach to life
Like never before, Saab customers lead complex, fast-paced multifaceted lives. They refuse to compromise when it comes to careers, families and challenging activities. Well-educated and young at heart – with multiple interests – they are the kind of people who want to participate actively in life, to savour its many flavours and detect subtle nuances. They want freedom and excitement, as well as practical solutions. Faced with a choice between A and B, they are likely to choose both.
Cars that fit right in
Sporty yet highly functional, Saab cars bridge the gap between the user’s emotional wants and rational needs. Our aim is to eliminate the need to compromise. Leap across conventional car categories. Let people push life to the extreme.
What you’ve been reading is Saab’s own view of you, the Saab owner.
This is how they see their market and the final paragraph makes a brief case for how they must respond – in their own words.
Yesterday I wrote my thoughts on the current 9-5. Some agreed and some pointed out the practicalities of car design and manufacture, which by necessity is a long process. If you’re interested, I’d invite you to ponder the words above and how they relate to you (if at all). Their implications.
Then think some more about the upcoming 9-5, which as a flagship for the brand, must be the embodiment of Saab’s effort to “eliminate the need to compromise”.
The passages above appear in a book called “The Saab Brand”.