March 15, 2007
Brand Name Recognition: Bad For Chrysler, Good For Legg Mason
Sometimes the only thing worse than nobody knowing your name is when everybody knows it.
It seems that two shareholders want to drop Chrysler from the DaimlerChrysler company name and instead use Daimler-Benz AG, because any reference at all to the ailing Chrysler business is "detrimental to the image of the corporation and its products," wrote shareholders Ekkehard Wenger and Leonhard Knoll in their proposal.
Wenger and Knoll add that people have been making up unflattering nicknames such as "Doting Daimler" and "Daimler-Crisis," and that hurts the brand name reputation.
Gunnar Heinrich, at the 4 Drivers Only blog, added that seeing a DaimlerChrysler plaque on a $134,000 Mercedes-Benz would be upsetting, given the lack of premium-priced status he associates with the Chrysler brand name.
John Neff at Autoblog chimes in, “What does it say about the state of solidarity within your company when you have one half being referred to as an affliction? Not much.” Neff notes that DaimlerChrysler supervisory and management boards will resist the name change, making it rather unlikely. Still, it hurts public relations.
I think it's in Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler's mutual benefit to end their ill-conceived relationship and build their respective brands. Yes, Chrysler has some great brands in its stable.
Legg Mason, on the other hand, has the exact opposite problem as DaimlerChrysler. Legg Mason is an invisible giant, known and respected only by people in the financial management sector but not by the average consumer. This is despite the fact that it is the fifth-largest money management firm in the world.
Legg Mason is about to spend $4 million over the next four months to change that. And not a moment too soon. People in its home town of Baltimore know the brand name, it seems, as well as a few others, including Citigroup, which are in its fold.
The only press they seem to have gotten lately is from some Playboy bunnies, who managed to beat the Bill Miller's Legg Mason Value Fund with their stock picks last year.
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