Managing GM’s Brand Equity

Buick Skylark NameplateWe read a great post on General Motors, and their brand and intellectual property portfolio. The Truth about Cars website interviewed Paul Earle of Chicago-based River West Brands, a company that revives defunct brand names to get his take. Earle’s answer is not killing off brands, but trying to manage each bit of intellectual property to its fullest.

A brief bit of the item is posted here; go to their site to read the whole thing as it,  and the comments, are an important read.

Earle said that he’d seen a lot of articles and remarks about discontinuing Buick and selling off Saab. The challenge for GM shouldn’t be having an “attic sale,” but rather how to manage the company’s intellectual property, specifically its brand names and trademarks. He thinks the current crisis is “an innovative development opportunity” and that GM’s brands “could be great platforms for learning labs for new concepts.”

Instead of thinking about which brands to keep, which to sell and which to kill, GM should be thinking about what opportunities there are to repurpose those brands down the road. GM needs to identify which are its core brands and which are non-core brands and then use the non-core brands as “springboards to new ideas.”

GM still has a treasure trove of IP in terms of brand marks, designs and technology. GM can leverage that IP with partnerships inside and outside the auto industry.”

We should also add that the GM legacy doesn’t just mean its main auto brands, including Buick and Olds, but its former auto plate names, like the above mentioned Skylark.

We took this similar position with Macy’s, which has not utilized, indeed wasted, its former store brands.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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