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July 27, 2009

Saab's Swedish Naming Makes it The Ultimate Anti-Brand

It is simply too difficult to just forget about an automotive brand name like Saab, which has a tremendous amount of potential to rise again. 

move-your-mind.gifThe brand just has so many things going for it that I hardly know where to begin, but I guess I should start with the name's history. 

Saab, a very, very Swedish name, is supported by drivers who are incredibly proud of the car's Swedish heritage, despite the fact that GM has owned the brand for almost twenty years. Ultimately, its return to Sweden will give the brand even more authenticity in their eyes.

Saab is what one writer calls an "anti-brand," meant for people who like to think they can resist the allure of marketing. 

I always think of New Balance wearers as anti-brand people, although of course we all know that the ultimate compliment you can pay a brand name is that it possesses authenticity and attracts people who are willing to link their own identities to it.  One great example is Apple, a brand with incredible equity that appeals to those who "Think Different."  

One blogger did an analysis of the brand tags (as determined by a latent association study) associated with the Saab brand, and encouraging words came out like "cool," "European," "safe" and of course, "Swedish." 

That Swedish association is a very, very good thing.  Swedes seem to be, when it comes to cars, just as smart as Germans but a little more quirky and a lot safer. 

saab-griffin-logo.gifEven though Saab has struggled with its own identity while being owned by GM, the meaning of the name has remained.  

The Griffin logo is instantly recognizable and despite many rumors floating around the blogosphere, the logo is expected to stick around well into the future.

In the end, the quirkiness of the name, the fact that it leaves GM with an intact set of associations, and the authenticity of the brand are all things that many car makers would kill for.  If Saab can only provide a car that lives up to the name, they'll be right back in the action. 

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Posted by William Lozito at July 27, 2009 9:31 AM
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